Working group on ending long distance transport of live animals











Chairwoman: Maria Noichl MEP (S&D,DE).


  • Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (EPP, FI),
  • Pascal Durand MEP (Greens/EFA, FR),
  • Isabella de Monte MEP (S&D, IT),
  • Anja Hazekamp MEP (GUE/NGL, NL),
  • Stefan Eck MEP (GUE/NGL, DE),
  • Keith Taylor MEP (Greens/EFA, UK)
  • Dominique Bilde MEP (ENF, FR)

Secretary:  Francesca Porta, Eurogroup for Animals



This working group brings together MEPs to take concrete action in relation to ending long distance transport of live animals.


Long term goals:

  • Replace the transport of breeding animals by that of semen and the transport of slaughter animals by that of carcasses and chilled or processed meat
  • Reduce the duration of livestock transport
  • Refine the remaining livestock transport by for instance stricter judging fitness for travel and by improving the transport conditions


Short term goals of the MEP working group to end long distance transport of live animals:

  • Discuss and decide on actions to be taken
  • Address key problems in relation to live transport of animals
  • Support revision of the Live Animal Transport Regulation 1/2005
  • Advocate for national impact assessments on the negative influence of long distance live animal transport in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden


Background and impetus

According to a Commission report of 2011 on the impact of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport [1], 1 billion poultry, 37 million live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horses have been transported within the EU Member States and to Third Countries in 2009 alone. Furthermore, there is evidence that long-distance transport (over 8 hours) of animals (especially pigs) has increased since the current Animal Transport Regulation came into force in 2007.

Scientific evidence shows that animal welfare tends to get worse as journey length increases – expressed, inter alia, by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) in 2002[2] and by EFSA[3] in 2011: “In order to reduce the risk of transport-associated disease outbreaks, strategies should be developed to reduce the volume of transport (e.g. replacing the transport of breeding animals by using semen or embryos), and long distance transport of animals for finishing or slaughter (e.g. by the transport of carcasses and food products) or reducing journey times (e.g. by slaughtering animals as close as possible to the site of production)”.

However, despite the ‘8-hours-campaign’ which managed to collect more than 1.1 million signatories Europe-wide against the long distance transport of live animals, despite the adoption of the EP written declaration 49/2011 on the establishment of a maximum 8-hour journey limit for animals transported in the European Union for the purpose of being slaughtered, despite an own initiative report on the protection of animal during transport in 2012, and despite the evident gap between the requirements of the legislation and available scientific evidence mentioned in the independent study conducted in 2011 by IBF consulting[4], the Commission has so far estimated that there was no point for revising the legislation as “A steady legal situation will allow Member States and stakeholders to focus on enforcement within a stable legal framework”.

Since huge numbers of animals continue to be transported within Europe and to third countries over long distances, in often appalling conditions, ignoring species specific needs and the rules of the Live Animal Transport Regulation 1/2005 the working group is convinced that another European campaign to end long distance transport is needed to break up the current deadlock.

The deadlock situation will be addressed using some of the opportunities that are currently at hand:

  • 6 Member States – DK, NL, DE, AU, SE, BE – have officially requested a revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. The Netherlands Presidencyof the Council of the EU was a good opportunity to further build momentum for this request.
  • The huge EU-wide public support gathered with the 8hours campaign remains a fertile ground on which a new campaign can build on and which can generate traction with stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • National and local ‘regional meat schemes’ promoted by retailers across Europe offer relevant best practices for the development of a Europe-wide ‘web’ of such schemes. This would contribute to reduce the number of animals being transported over long distances and minimize the duration and frequency of animal transport. By seizing this opportunity, retailers and other relevant stakeholders can make the market precede the legislation in improving animal welfare conditions. New arguments can be used here as the promotion of local products and local economies make sense in terms of climate action requirements and economic and social benefits (creation of local employment, support of small sale agriculture which helps to keep rural areas alive, etc.).


Current initiatives

  • The working group actively supports Eurogroup for Animals’ campaign #StopTheTrucks[5]
  • The working group supports and promotes the set-up of a Temporary Committee of Inquiry on live animal exports to third countries




[3], page 86




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