On Monday 8 November, NLA experts travelled to Brussels to meet with the European Commission and MEPs of the ANIT Committee on Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport to discuss the revision of Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.
NLA used the meetings to encourage decision makers to revise the current provision of shared responsibility between farmer and transporter when deciding whether animals are fit for transport. Introducing a more logical division of responsibility will help greatly in avoiding cases where animals with bruises or wounds are loaded on a truck can be avoided. Concretely, NLA called for a clear demarcation of responsibility where the party with the real capability to check on the animals before the transport, is also the one charged with doing so. The responsibility for detecting existing or old injuries should therefore be placed with the farmer since he/she knows the history of the animals and has a real opportunity to observe them. The transporter should in turn bear full responsibility for the loading and the unloading of the animals, in addition to the condition and legality of the vehicle, the correct training and instruction of the driver and the quality of driving.
A second issue NLA highlighted was the separation of genders during transport. The current regulation stipulates that the transporter today bears the responsibility to ensure gender sorting of livestock for the transport operation, unlike the sender of the animals who is not required to do so. Separation of gender from a herd of animals that are used to each other can entail both serious safety risks for the driver involved and create unnecessary and dangerous tension and stress for the animals. In cases where animals are already used to each other exemptions for separating the gender should be allowed to ensure better animal welfare.
The third point NLA highlighted, was challenges with complying with the total driving and resting time as these do not correspond with the necessary breaks for animals and the time required to water them. The NLA experts thus explained that different sorts of animals react differently on breaks in transportation, and in general, the stress among animals increases unnecessarily when the vehicle stands still. It is thus important to customise this type of transport regarding the driving and rest times, to avoid damage and stress to animals.
The NLA expert group met representatives from the European Commission, MEP Emma Wiesner (Renew), the office of MEP Pär Holmgren (Greens/EFA), Eurogroup for animals, and the Chair of the ANIT Committee, MEP Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA).