- Niels Fuglsang - MEP (S&D, DK)
- Annika Bruna - MEP (ID, FR)
- Pascal Durand - MEP (Renew Europe, FR)
- Eleonora Evi - MEP (Greens/EFA, IT )
- Francisco Guerreiro - MEP (Greens/EFA, PT)
- Heidi Hautala - MEP (Greens/EFA, FI)
- Anja Hazekamp - MEP (GUE/NGL, NL)
- Martin Hojsik - MEP (Renew Europe, SK)
- Maria Noichl - MEP (S&D, DE)
- Sirpa Pietikäinen - MEP (EPP, FI)
- Sylwia Spurek - MEP (Greens/EFA, PL)
- Veronika Vrecionová - MEP (ECR, CZ)
- Thomas Waitz - MEP (Greens/EFA, AT)
- Sarah Wiener - MEP (Greens/EFA, AT)
- Jadwiga Wiśniewska - MEP (ECR, PL)
- Chrysoula Zacharopoulou - MEP (Renew Europe, FR)
- Francesca Porta, Intergroup Secretariat
Every year, at least 1.37 billion animals are transported alive within the EU and to Third Countries, most of them for slaughter. Live transport, especially over long distances, is a major animal welfare concern. Animals are exposed to stress at loading and unloading, and can suffer hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and lack of space and rest during transit. Transporting live animals also poses serious risks for animal and public health due to the possible spread of diseases. Scientific evidence shows that the stress of transport weakens the immune system, making animals more vulnerable to diseases (European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 2011).
The EU has had rules governing animal welfare during transport since 1977 (EU Directive 77/489/EEC). Today, the EU Regulation 1/2005 (the Transport Regulation) applies to all livestock transported within and from the EU, regulating rest periods, the training and authorisation of drivers, stocking densities and general transport conditions. Unfortunately, the vast number of derogations still allow animals to be transported for days on end throughout and outside Europe. Additionally, the enforcement of existing rules is very poor and the control by public authorities is scarce, leading to very poor compliance and animal suffering.
Since 2007, over 200 investigations and reports exposing the brutality behind live transport and the systematic violations to the Transport Regulation have been sent to the EU Commission. Regrettably, the European Commission can only rely on the annual reports submitted by Member States under Article 27 of the Transport Regulation to assess enforcement. Also, the audits carried out by the EU Commission’s own inspectorate - DG SANTE Directorate F - are an important source of information. However, the limited number of those missions in the field of welfare during transport makes them far less effective than they could be.
The situation gets even worse when animals are exported to third countries: journeys last hundreds of hours – sometimes days – and animals face inhumane slaughter practices upon arrival. The European Court of Justice ruling (CJEU, C-424/13) establishing that provisions of the Transport Regulation also apply to those stages of the journey taking place outside the EU remains to all effects disregarded.