The Animal Transport Inquiry Committee discussed the priorities of the German Council Presidency with Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner, on Thursday.

EU rules on protection of animals during transport have been legitimately criticised and they clearly need to be improved and revised, Minister Klöckner told MEPs. The current law has been interpreted too freely in many aspects, she said, and insisted on clear and more binding rules. She also informed MEPs that she had asked the Commission to tackle this problem as a matter of urgency.

The German Council Presidency will also be pushing for an EU-wide animal welfare labelling, as mentioned also in the Farm to Fork strategy, Minister Klöckner said. The label should inform consumers about the added value of the product in terms of animal welfare, she explained, adding that she would like the Council to adopt conclusions on this matter in December.

While many MEPs who took the floor agreed that existing EU rules should be revised to improve the welfare of transported animals within the EU but also beyond its borders, some of them insisted that it should not lead to bans on transport to non-EU countries.

Several speakers called for transporting carcasses, or meat and meat products instead of live animals whenever possible. Others insisted on ensuring that imports from non-EU countries are subject to equally high animal welfare standards as those applicable in the EU.

Ways to improve and harmonise controls across the EU and at its borders, but also in non-EU countries, for instance on resting or watering facilities, and to support shorter supply chains and local slaughterhouses were also discussed.