Today, 19 June 2020, the EU Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry on animal transport. We are delighted with the outcome of the vote! The establishment of such a Committee is a rare occurrence that shows that indeed a serious problem exists.
“The Parliament’s vote to put the atrocities of animal transport under the limelight brings hope," said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. "Every year millions of farm animals are transported live on long and gruesome journeys, quite often in filthy conditions, cramped, and often trampling on each other. In summer, they are transported in scathingly high temperatures, dehydrated and exhausted. Some of them perish. For many, these are the last torturous hours before they reach the slaughterhouse."
Olga added: "EU law should protect animals from such suffering, yet most EU countries do not comply with the legal requirements regarding transport and allow such cruelty to continue. This must stop. The EU must finally reduce the number and overall duration of transports and put an end to animal exports outside EU borders.”
At present, EU member states are poorly enforcing the EU law that is meant to protect the millions of farmed animals transported thousands of miles for slaughter, breeding or further fattening every year.
The decision by the EU Parliament follows a wave of actions by civil society and the EU institutions, raising red flags on the issue. The EU Commission’s recent ‘Farm To Fork’ strategy clearly states that the EU Commission intends to review the legislation on animal transport. In December last year, the Council of the EU highlighted that ‘clear shortcomings and inconsistencies remain’ regarding the challenges of long-distance transport in its conclusions on animal welfare.
The Committee of Inquiry is an investigative instrument that the EU Parliament can decide to establish in order to address pressing societal issues. In the past legislative terms, for instance, the EU Parliament established special committees in the aftermath of the LuxLeaks and the mad cow disease scandals.
“Today's decision is a milestone for animal welfare. Parliament has taken the opportunity to address animal suffering during transport," said Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS. "Systematic violations during animal transport have been criticized for years. The Committee of Inquiry will investigate violations and maladministration of the Animal Transport Regulation by the European Commission and the EU Member States.
Pierre added: "Parliament, as the directly elected representation of the European citizens, thus fulfills its most important task, namely the exercise of democratic oversight and control. This is a clear sign for member states and the European Commission to do more to avoid animal suffering and enforce EU regulation.”