The Animal Transport Inquiry Committee discussed with Commission the failure to enforce current rules on the transport of live animals and future actions on Monday.
The Commission representatives acknowledged the lack of consistent implementation of the animal transportation rules, but gave its assurances that they seek to improve the situation (more training for member states officials and businesses, more audits) and is currently looking at a revision of current rules. Finding a balance is key: we should not ban the trade of live animals, but instead find tools that would improve the well-being of animals during transport and be acceptable to all parties involved, they told MEPs. During the debate, many MEPs stressed that the failure to enforce current rules on animal welfare during transport is unacceptable, calling the Commission to take concrete steps to remedy the situation. Some of them encouraged the Commission to start infringement procedures against member states that fail to enforce existing EU rules. Few MEPs noted that achieving consistency on the current standards should be the priority, as opposed to trying to set new higher standards.
Digital solutions to ensure animal welfare
Moreover, MEPs noted that data collection and monitoring could greatly improve the situation in animal transportation, calling the Commission to digitize the sector and promote the use of new technologies. Among others, CCTV, temperature monitoring, live GPS tracking would allow to have a better picture on animal welfare during transport, MEPs said.
Live animal export
Several speakers called to end live animal export to third countries, since high animal welfare standards cannot be upheld, and the Commission is not able to audit any part of the transportation outside of the EU. Moreover, some MEPs urged to ban the transportation of non-weaned animals. Lastly, many MEPs stressed the need for contingency plans, which would allow to deal with unforeseen situations promptly and efficiently, protecting the well-being of animals in times of crisis (e.g., Elbeik and Karim Allah cases).
The Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport was set up in June 2020 to investigate alleged violations in the application of European Union law on the protection of animals during transport and related operations within and outside the EU, including by air, road, rail and sea. It focuses on the implementation of EU rules by member states and its correct enforcement by the EU Commission.