EU will not ban live animal transport but might make journeys shorter

Baby cows close together on the ship one lying the rest standing in dirt
Male calves have been cramped on the ship Karim Allah, photo: Talia Shipping Line / Reuters

The EU is unlikely to ban the transport of live animals between member countries, but it may introduce an eight-hour maximum on journey times that would effectively end the live animal trade between some European countries.

During an online briefing Wednesday, Member of Parliament (MEP) Tilly Metz told reporters that the EU animals in transport (ANIT) committee currently investigating allegations of animal mistreatment during transport expects to issue its final recommendations in early December. The EU parliament could then vote on ANIT’s recommendations in January 2022.

Metz, the ANIT committee chair, said other recommendations might include a ban or partial ban on live animal export from the EU. The partial ban could take the form of countries to which European animals can and cannot be transported to.

Commenting on suggestions that the ANIT committee might recommend an eight-hour cap on journey times, Gabriel Paun, EU director of Animals International, said it would be a victory for animals and one that activists have long campaigned for.

A ban on live animal exports outside the EU would be another victory, Paun said, but a system of white and blacklisting countries would not.

“all I have ever seen is animals being mistreated”

“A white and blacklist system would seem to suggest there are ships that can safely carry animals and protect their welfare, and that there are export destinations outside the EU where animals will be cared for and slaughtered in a way that meets EU regulations,” Paun told The Animal Reader. “But I can tell you there are no such ships and no such destinations.”

“I have been to these countries and seen these ships, and all I have ever seen is animals being mistreated. Nor does the EU have any power to oversee what happens on the ships or at the final destination,” Paun added.

During the briefing, Metz said there had been a “collective failure” by the EU to properly protect animals during transport. She added that the EU could not continue to allow transport of live animals outside the EU if it could not guarantee their welfare.

The EU also needs more transparent animal transport rules and to close existing loopholes in its current regulations, Metz said.

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