Commission proposes new measures for animal transport

Commission adopts proposal to improve transport conditions of animals on long-haul trips within the EU

The new proposal introduces strict standards in terms of ventilation, temperature and humidity control in vehicles transporting livestock on journeys longer than eight hours. Once adopted, all new livestock transport vehicles must conform to the new rules by January 2002. Older vehicles will have until the end of December 2003, at the latest, to conform to the new regulations. These new rules will only apply to animals transported within the EU.


Animal rights campaigners criticised the Commission's proposal for not going far enough to end the practice of transporting livestock in cramped overheated lorries on journeys that can last up to 50 hours. Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) said that the new proposal fell well short of what was needed. The CIWF was disappointed that Commission proposal did not propose the only humane solution, which is that the EU should adopt a fundamental change of policy whereby the long distance transport of live animals is abandoned and replaced by a meat trade.


The European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on 9 April outlining new rules for the long distance transport of horses, cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. The proposal is based on scientific advice from a Commission report identifying health and welfare problems during long distance transport published last year. The report examined the application of the different ventilation systems for animal transport vehicles for road journeys exceeding eight hours.


The first major steps by the EU to legislate the protection of animals during transport began with Council Directive 91/628/EEC and 95/29/EC. The two Directives establish that journey times for livestock shall not exceed eight hours. Later came Council Regulation (EC) No 411/98 in 1998 giving additional animal protection standards applicable to road vehicles used for the carriage of livestock on journeys exceeding eight hours.


The Commission proposal will be submitted to the Council for adoption. The European Parliament will be consulted on the Commission proposal.


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