Cow in a transporter

FOUR PAWS calls on the European Commission and Member states to go beyond the recommendations on live animal transport passed today in the European Parliament

The Members of the European Parliament voted today on the recommendations passed by the Committee of inquiry on transport (ANIT) in December of 2021.


In today’s plenary session, MEPs voted on a set of recommendations to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union regarding revising the legal framework for live animal transport. The Parliament missed the opportunity to strengthen the ANIT’s proposal, instead further watering down the recommendation on transports of unweaned calves and gestating animals.  Nevertheless some important matters, such as a four-hour limit for rabbits and poultry and a call for favouring a transport of meat and carcasses instead of live animals are included in the final recommendations. “Today’s vote in plenary was a missed opportunity for the Parliament to take a clear stance against cruel transports and call for stricter transport times” , says Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy office at FOUR PAWS.

Over the past 18 months, the ANIT Committee within the European Parliament investigated and discussed issues and concerns with the current system of live animal transport. They did not only discover frequent violations of the existing regulations, but also established the need for stricter enforcement and stricter legal guidelines for transports.  FOUR PAWS now urges Council and Commission to go further than today’s recommendations when updating the legislation. “We need stricter measures to adequately protect animals during transport. While many of the problems in live animal transports have been addressed in the report produced by the ANIT, the recommendations fail to call for a ban of transports by sea and exports to third countries, a ban on transport of vulnerable animals and drastic reductions of total transport times. We urge the European Commission and Member States to consider these demands when revising regulation 1/2005. ”

In today’s plenary hearing Commissioner Kyriakides announced short term measures that will be implemented before the legislation is revised. These plans will include  enhanced checks on travel contingency plans, inspection teams including vets, a request to authorities to keep records of weather forecasts and an exchange of data by all member states. Audits will also be carried on vessels and on unweaned calves by road. “These immediate measures will hopefully contribute to prevent suffering while the Commission is working on the much-needed revision of legislation which needs to include a drastic reduction of maximum transport times to 0 hours for unweaned animals, 4 hours for poultry and rabbits and 8 hours for all other animals.”

“The high public engagement with the current public consultation on the Animal Welfare legislation that over 13.000 Europeans replied to, as well as the highly successful End The Cage Age ECI show, that farm animal welfare is of great importance to the European citizens. We urge the European Commission to act in the interest of their constituents by proposing ambitious legislation . As a self-proclaimed leader in animal welfare matters, the European Union needs to act now and ensure animal welfare during transport.” says Sultana  

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

Share now!