A vet on the frontline of improving welfare for horses traveling to slaughter on the continent has won a new award.

Dr Alexander Rabitsch, a practising vet in Austria, has become the first recipient of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Trust/Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) Equine Transport Enforcement Award.

Dr Rabitsch is an animal transport inspector in Carinthia in the southern Bundesland of Austria.

The main motorway from northern and central Europe passes through his checkpoint on its way to Italy, Slovenia and the Balkan countries and is the main route for horses sourced for slaughter traveling from Eastern Europe to Italy.

The annual award was introduced by the BEVA Trust at the end of last year in recognition of the individual or group working in the field, doing the most to improve enforcement of the current transport Regulation. Each recipient wins €1000.

For the past 13 years Dr Rabitsch has carried out random checks on transporters of live animals to assess compliance with the current regulation (EC) 1/2005.

He works in cooperation with the Federal Police, taking the necessary actions required to safeguard the welfare of the animals; supervising the unloading and the care of the animals in case of emergencies, reporting to the court and notifying the Austrian competent ministry.

Dr Rabitsch has also drawn on his considerable experience to lobby the European Parliament for the improvement of the regulation governing the live transport industry.

BEVA Trust spokesperson, Dr Madeleine Campbell, said: “Alexander Rabitsch’s outstanding work to implement the existing regulation governing the long-distance transport of horses makes him a very worthy recipient of the first BEVA Trust/FVE Equine Transport Enforcement Award.

“His ideas and tireless endeavour to further develop the current regulation promise to help to improve conditions for transported horses and other animals in the future.”

The award was announced at the FVE General Assembly, held in Brussels on 19 November 2011. I