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WSPA criticises EU failure to reduce excessive animal transportation times and aims to change the rules through public pressure.
European Commissioner John Dalli has announced that there will be no revision of the current regulation on the transportation of animals through Europe, made by millions of animals each year for slaughter or fattening.
As a result, WSPA and other animal welfare NGOs are urging EU citizens to demand that the suffering of millions of animals transported huge distances across Europe, often in appalling conditions, is ended. WSPA is urging citizens of the 27 European Union member states to add their signature to the more than 850,000 already gathered by the 8 Hours campaign to demand a revision of the current regulation.
We hope that, when presented with the signatures of one million EU citizens, politicians will realise that the legislative status quo is simply not acceptable and will be primed to review the EC regulation on the transportation of farm animals.
Dr Lesley Lambert, Campaign Director at WSPA, said: “This was a major opportunity to significantly improve the welfare of millions of animals transported over vast distances. The European Commission recommended that there be no amendment, merely better enforcement and harmonisation. An eight hour transportation limit is crucial to prevent animal suffering in Europe, as welfare problems are inherent in long-distance transport.”
The current rule sets different journey times for different animals, with sheep and goats permitted up to 29-hours travel, with a one hour rest, while 24-hours is the norm for pigs. As a result, animal transportation lasting up to several days is acceptable as long as the haulier fulfills certain demands concerning rest, feeding and watering of the animals; so, it is not uncommon for animals to travel from northern Europe to eastern Turkey.
Additionally, lax enforcement means that even current regulations are often not adhered to. Investigations have repeatedly revealed evidence of horrific conditions on EU transport routes, including severe overcrowding leading to animals being trampled to death; horrific injuries such as goring from horns, lack of food or water and extreme temperatures leading to stress, dehydration and animals to collapse from exhaustion. Recent footage and reports reveal the conditions endured by animals en route to Turkey from Europe.
“This level of animal suffering is something many European citizens no longer accept,” Dr. Lambert said. “Animals should be humanely slaughtered as close as possible to the place where they were reared. WSPA, together with other animal welfare organisations, urges EU citizens to add their voices to the 850,000 already demanding an 8-hour transport limit by supporting the Europe wide 8 Hours campaign.”
WSPA has been involved in international efforts to enforce the regulation of transportation conditions for farm animals for several years, and, earlier this year also produced a report highlighting the disparity across the EU in the imposition of sanctions.