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LIVE ANIMAL TRADE: DRAFT RESOLUTION SUPPORTS COMMISSION REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

The Committee was acting on a report drafted by the European Commission which highlighted some appalling practices sometimes used in the transport of live animals across the European Union. The report (COM(2000)809), showed widespread ignorance and non-compliance with all previous EU directives relating to live animal transport. In particular they found:* Inadequate ventilation in road vehicles used in long distance transport;* The transport of animals that are unfit owing to pregnancy and disease;* Non-compliance by transporters with route plans and travelling time limits;* Ineffective monitoring of compliance with transporter approvals;* The import of horses from Eastern Europe after they had already travelled long distances.The MEPs agreed with the Commission that such abuses directly contributed to the spread of diseases such as swine fever and foot and mouth.The Committee's rapporteur on the issue, Albert Maar, (EPP-ED,NL) said the problems of live animal transport had led to a "sudden and dramatic spread of infectious diseases". The draft resolution says that animals should be reared, fattened and slaughtered within the same region, with an eight-hour or 500km limit put on transportation of live animals. It also proposed rest periods for animals during transportation and animal transporters to undergo compulsory training and certification.The committee is demanding the abolition of subsidies for the export of live animals to third countries by January 2002. In addition, the Commission must deliver a plan to structure the meat industry along more regional lines by January 1 2003. This policy of "regionalisation" is certain to be controversial, many in the meat production industry already blame EU legislation for destroying the regionalised aspects of the system which once existed. In fact during their debate the agricultural committee conceded that "EU legislation is partly to blame for the closure of many small slaughter houses...and that has encouraged the long distance transport of animals for slaughter".Many in the meat producing industry would prefer to see less EU legislation rather than an increased raft of directives as the European Commission has proposed. A representative of the UK Meat and Livestock Commission also questioned the definition of "regionalisation". She questioned who would define regions and whether it was practical to breed and slaughter animals in proximity to large urban centres. Industry representatives point out that the measures proposed might push up costs and adversely affect remote areas such as parts of Scotland. The overall problems of live animal transportation are certain to become more acute with the enlargement of the European Union after 2003/2004.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EU
Date:Oct 17, 2001
Words:419
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