Animal Transports EU: EU Commission Finally Presents Proposal for new law

Pig Transport

The EU Commission presents its proposal for a new version of the EU law on animal transportation. The new, much stricter rules are also thanks to the work of Animals' Angels. Through our work, we have shown time and time again that stricter regulations are long overdue: More space on vehicles, shorter transportation times and temperature limits are at the top of the list. We are pleased that the EU Commission's proposal finally provides for a number of improvements for the animals.

  • Slaughter transports of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horses are to be limited to nine hours. This time may only be exceeded if no suitable slaughterhouse is available in the EU.
  • All other animals should be allowed to be transported for 21 hours. After ten hours, there should be a one-hour break. Only if the animals spend 24 hours outside the vehicle at a control post after this section may they be transported for another 21 hours. After that, the animals must have reached their destination.
  • For young animals such as unweaned calves, lambs, goats and foals, the maximum transportation time should be eight or nine hours.
  • At temperatures below 0 degrees, the vehicles should be covered to protect the animals from cold. Below -5 °C, the transport time should be limited to nine hours.
  • The nine-hour limit should also apply at temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees. Above 30 °C, animals may only be transported between 9 pm and 10 am.
  • More space and regular checks are intended to improve animal welfare.

The proposals are now being further negotiated between the EU Commission and the Member States. Should they enter into force, there will be a transitional period of 5 years. However, despite many positive aspects, we are concerned that the EU Commission still does not want to put a stop to the transportation of animals to third countries without any animal welfare guarantees. While more animal welfare is being ensured in the EU, animals are to continue to be transported to countries where cruel slaughter methods are just the tip of the iceberg. These slaughters - which would be regarded as animal cruelty under criminal law in the EU - mark the end for European 'farmed' animals in many third countries. This is mainly due to poor care, inferior feed, lack of medication and know-how, heat stress and often brutal and ruthless handling.

Animals' Angels is committed to ensuring that the long overdue improvements in animal welfare during transportation in the EU become a reality. But the real goal, a rethink that prioritizes the protection of our animals over economic interests, is still a long way off.