E.U. fails to cut livestock hauling time
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2004:
BRUSSELS–British animal health and welfare minister Ben
Bradshaw called new European Union regulations on livestock transport
adopted on November 22 “an important step in improving the welfare of
animals in transit,” and proclaimed his government “particularly
pleased that [new rules] meet the strong concerns in the U.K. about
the live transport of horses.”
Slamming Bradshaw and the other members of the EU Council of
Agriculture Ministers for “cowardice,” Compassion In World Farming
responded that the new rules do no such thing.
Summarized Geoff Meade of The Scotsman, “Animal welfare
improvements include limited travel for ‘unbroken’ horses and a new
requirement that horses on long journeys must be carried in
individual stalls. A range of other measures, for all animals,
include improved training and certification of transporters, tighter
rules on the fitness of animals to travel, a review next year of
current rules on transporter temperature and ventilation, and
increased cooperation between EU governments to enforce the rules.”
However, Meade noted, “The permitted traveling hours remain
unchanged. Pigs can be transported for 24 hours without a break,
with access to water; horses can travel up to 24 hours if watered
every eight hours; and cattle, sheep, and goats can be in transit
for 29 hours with just a one-hour break.”
The EU agriculture ministers agreed to defer any action to
reduce transport time between breaks until after all the present
rules are implemented and reviewed–in 2009.
About 20 million animals per year are hauled subject to the EU rules.
“While politicians procrastinate,” said Compassion In World
Farming chief executive Joyce D’Silva, “millions of animals will
suffer for years to come.”
Middle Eastern trade
Ten days after the new EU rules were finalized, Australian
agriculture minister Warren Truss signed a memo of understanding with
the United Arab Emirates to establish animal welfare and health
standards for live sheep and cattle in transit.
“The UAE is Australia’s sixth largest market for the live
animal trade,” reported Australian Associated Press. “Kuwait is
likely to sign such a memorandum before Christmas, with other
nations including Yemen, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain likely to soon
follow. Saudi Arabia is not expected to have a quarantine facility
ready,” as required by the memo of understanding, “by the end of
this year,” AAP said.
The EU rules and the memos of understanding have no direct
relationship, but Australia and the Middle Eastern nations involved
in live animal commerce are believed to have wanted to see how strict
any new EU regulations would be before committing themselves to
standards on similar issues.