Animals suffering during transport between Bulgaria and Turkey


14 November 2012    

Franz Obermayr (NI)



The association Animals Angels reports that animals are still being transported in the EU in conditions that do not comply with legal requirements. Even when animals are transported properly, they often undergo incredible suffering. Between April 2011 and April 2012 Animals Angels reported to the Bulgarian Food Authority cases of animals being transported illegally. The Authority promised to take appropriate action. However, on 8 October 2012, seven more vehicles were observed transporting sheep and lambs suffering in harrowing conditions. Transport of these animals had already been approved in their place of origin in Bulgaria by the Bulgarian authorities and, what is more, had passed the EU’s veterinary inspection at the Bulgarian border.

1. Is the Commission aware of these cases of non-compliance with the rules on the transport of animals? If so, what action is the Commission planning to take?

2. What is the Commission’s opinion of the clearly inadequate inspections at the Bulgarian-Turkish border?

3. Will the Commission ask Bulgaria to make inspections more stringent?

4. Will the Commission ask Turkey to make inspections more stringent? Are there animal protection criteria which Turkey must comply with in the negotiating chapters for accession?

5. Is the Commission proposing to abolish long-distance transport of animals within the EU? If so, what would the limit be (e.g. eight hours)?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

15 January 2013  

1. The Commission does not keep a record of non-compliances by individual operators to EU legislation. The Member States are primarily responsible for the daily implementation of the Union legislation on animal transport. The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General supervises the work of the competent authorities of the Member States.

2 & 3. The Commission would refer to the conclusions and recommendations of the report from the FVO audit to Bulgaria taking place in June 2012(1).

4. Accession negotiations with Turkey will include EU legislative provisions on animal welfare including during transport. However Turkey is not yet a member of the European Union and is under no obligation to comply with such legislation at this moment.

5. The Commission is not planning to propose a ban of long-distance transport of animals within the EU.

(1)    Final report of an audit carried out in Bulgaria from 05 to 13 June 2012 in order to evaluated the implementation of controls for animal welfare on farms and during transport (DG(SANCO) 2012-6454 — MR FINAL). Link: