The European Parliament is calling for changes to the transportation of live animals for slaughter

The European Parliament is demanding a radical overhaul of the live animal tradein the wake of the recent swine fever outbreaks and foot-and-mouth crisis.

It intends to reduce the length of time and the distance over which animals are transported in an attempt to prevent further outbreaks of similar diseases.

Theresolution adopted by Parliament responds to an EC investigation into animal welfare conditions during transport, stating that animals should be reared, fattened and slaughtered within the same region. It also points out that transport has been highlighted as a key factor in “the sudden and dramatic spread of infectious diseases”.

The resolution calls for a maximum transport time of 8hr, or a maximum distance of 500km.

A European Parliament spokesman said that MEPs are calling for specific proposals to improve the quality and conditions of road transport, saying that a major loophole would be closed if the commission aligned journey and rest periods for animals with those for drivers.

Parliament wants the commission to seek binding international guidelines on the treatment of live animals during transport. It also says that imports of animals into the EU must meet its standards.

A spokesman for the International League for the Protection of Horsessaid: “While this is encouraging, the report was unfortunately only a consultation paper and the EC is now waiting for a further report by the scientific committee before any legislative proposals can be made.

“However, we are extremely pleased with the Parliament’s decision and are optimistic that the EC will incorporate its views in its legislative programme. We are one step nearer to improvement of the current legislation and, hopefully, closer to the cessation of the slaughter horse trade altogether.”

Read full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (27 November 2001), or click here to subscribe and never miss another issue.