Protection of animals during transport

25 February 2013    
Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D)


Since 1977, the EU has had rules governing the welfare of animals during transport that aim to eliminate technical barriers to trade while ensuring an adequate level of animal protection. EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport has been updated by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations, which entered into force on 5 January 2007. According to a report presented by the European Commission in November 2011, the 2005‐2009 period saw a significant increase in the number of animals transported: of 8% in cattle, 70% in pigs, 3% in sheep, and only in the case of horses was there a decrease, of 17%. The objective set out in recital 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, that ‘for reasons of animal welfare the transport of animals over long journeys, including animals for slaughter, should be limited as far as possible’, was therefore not achieved. It was thus not possible to achieve the goal of the regulation, which was to limit the transport of animals. The harmonised application and enforcement of legislation relating to animal welfare is key to maintaining high standards of animal welfare and preventing market distortions in the EU. The report notes that there are fundamental deficiencies in the application of the legislation by several Member States.

Is the Commission considering taking specific steps regarding Member States, with a view to ensuring uniform mechanisms for monitoring compliance with animal transport conditions?

Is the Commission planning a legislative initiative aimed at limiting the maximum length of time for which slaughter animals may be transported, as confirmed by the results of scientific research, and on condition that animal welfare is respected?

9 April 2013    
Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

1. A Commission implementing Decision concerning the Member States' annual reports on their inspections on animal welfare during transport is planned to be adopted by the Commission shortly. The decision's main objective is to retrieve better and more comparable data from the Member States on the controls carried out under Article 27 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport(1).

2. As explained in the Commission report referred to in the question, the Commission does not see that an amendment of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 would be the most appropriate way to address the problems identified in that report. Instead it will focus on ensuring proper enforcement of the existing legislation by the Member States.

(1)    OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1.