Animal Transports EU: We Comment Comprehensively on the EU Commission's new Legislative Proposal

[Translate to englisch:] Tiertransport-Gesetz Stellungnahme

On more than 60 pages, we comment on the EU Commission's proposal for the new law on the protection of animals during transport. The revision of Regulation 01/2005 is long overdue and the proposal has the potential to improve animal welfare during transport in many respects.

Particularly positive points are

  • The introduction of a transportation time limit of nine hours for all 'slaughter' animals. For 'breeding' animals, two transport sections of 21 hours with a 24-hour break in between should be permitted. This is an acceptable compromise that prevents endless transportation and should therefore be supported.

  • The increase in space requirements, the definition of temperature limits and the clear regulations for the ceiling height on transports.

  • Mandatory veterinary supervision during loading, the need for animal welfare officers on animal transport ships and the new regulations to prevent so-called assembly centre hopping.  

Our biggest points of criticism:

  • The lack of a ban on animal exports to third countries without animal welfare guarantees - a clear contradiction to the intensive efforts to protect animals in the EU. While great efforts are being made here to improve animal welfare, animals should continue to be allowed to be transported to countries where they are mistreated and neglected.

  • The exemptions for the long transportation of non-weaned animals - especially in connection with transportation on roll-on roll-off vessels.

  • The technical requirements for the vehicles and their equipment are unchanged and remain unclear - particularly with regard to the construction of drinking troughs and the nature of partitions. The exemptions for 'sport' horses, even if their transportation is associated with commercial activities, are not comprehensible.

  • There is still no solution for the case of refusal of import. Transport vessels sailing under a gray flag are also to be permitted.

  • The system of sanctions is still at the discretion of the member states. The penalties for infringements are therefore still not uniformly regulated. In many countries, these penalties are clearly too low and therefore not dissuasive enough.

The Commission's proposal is an important step - but ultimately just another compromise. Once again, only the symptoms are being treated instead of tackling the root of the problem. It is time for a fundamental rethink: the ruthless exploitation of our animals must end! We regret that the Commission is not yet in a position to drive real change.