Pigs during animal transport on the Autobahn in Baden-Württemberg (May 2018)
Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/ dpa
The EU Parliament has called for better protection of animals during transport.
The MEPs approved the report of a committee of inquiry that found serious shortcomings in the implementation of the existing animal transport rules.
Parliament's aim is to put pressure on the EU Commission to improve the rules and ensure better controls.
So far, pigs, cattle and other animals in trucks and ships often suffer from heat, cold, thirst, hunger, stress and injuries.
Animal rights activists, however, criticized the parliament because, from their point of view, it did not take up important demands.
The EU Parliament specifically calls for infringement procedures against member states that do not remedy the problems, as well as transport bans in extreme temperatures.
According to MEPs, drivers should also be obliged to alert a veterinarian immediately if animals are injured in the transport.
MEPs are also proposing surveillance cameras for trucks and a ban on transporting very young calves, but with exceptions.
However, a transport ban for young animals of all species under five weeks of age, as proposed by the investigative committee, could not be enforced against the resistance of the conservatives and many social democrats and liberals. The requirement to set a maximum duration for transport for all animal species was also dropped, which animal rights activists had considered particularly important.
"For the majority of animal species, we are sticking with the currently approved 29-hour truck transport and unlimited transport on the ship," regrets Green MP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg.
For Iris Baumgärtner, Vice Chairman of the animal welfare organization Animal Welfare Foundation, it is particularly incomprehensible that the MPs did not speak out against the transport of live animals to third countries.
In principle, the rules could not be observed here.
"Apparently a 'keep it up' is desired - and no reform of agriculture," said Baumgärtner.
Transports of live animals to third countries for three billion euros
The animal protection organization Four Paws also criticized the fact that Parliament had not spoken out in favor of a ban on the transport of live animals to third countries.
In addition, the recommendations on transport for unweaned calves and pregnant animals have been weakened even further, according to a statement by the Austrian association.
The problems with transport potentially affect a very large number of animals.
According to the European Parliament, more than 1.6 billion live animals were transported within the Union and outside the EU to third countries in 2019.
The trade in live animals is an important market: According to the European Parliament, its value within the EU in 2018 was 8.6 billion euros.
The trade in live animals with third countries brought in almost three billion euros.