Animal Welfare Conditions Must Improve
4th June 2003
Rules on the movement of live animals should be tightened to ensure greater levels of animal welfare according to MEPs.
Over half of the Members of the European Parliament have signed up to a campaign to improve animal welfare standards. The declaration draws attention to animals such as live sheep and lambs being transported in excess of 40 hours, subject to overcrowding, poor ventilation, water and food deprivation.
MEPs have called on the European Commission to introduce a new maximum limit for the live transfer of animals of 8 hours or 500km on journeys for slaughter or further fattening.
Charles Tannock, Conservative MEP and lead signatory to the campaign, said:
"How a society treats animals is a mark of its civilisation. The width of support for this campaign, across party and national boundaries, proves that animal welfare is a truly international issue.
This should be a wake-up call for the Commission who must now introduce proposals to toughen the rules on the live exportation of animals in the EU, particularly with the accession of ten new countries. Animal welfare standards in these countries must be brought into line with those of the current Member States, but we must not stop there. The Commission must also raise this issue at the WTO to ensure that EU farmers are not disadvantaged by adhering to tougher animal protection measures."