Cattle transport

European Parliament Fails to Tackle Live Animal Transportation

Global Animal Welfare Organisation, FOUR PAWS, called it a “Historic Missed Opportunity”


STRASBOURG/VIENNA, 21 January 2022 – Today, MEPs voted on a set of recommendations to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union regarding the revision of the legal framework for live animal transport.

While many important steps were taken in improving the welfare of animals, this was not the flagship policy that was promised. Over the past 18 months, the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals (ANIT) within the European Parliament investigated and discussed issues and concerns with the current system of live animal transport. They did not only discover frequent violations of the existing regulations, but also established the need for stricter enforcement and stricter legal guidelines for transports.

FOUR PAWS now urges the Commission and the Member States to go further.

“Today's vote was a historic missed opportunity of what should have been a flagship policy on animal welfare which would have a beacon across the world while bringing further safety measures to animals, EU citizens, and the environment.

“It was also a chance for the Parliament to take a clear stance against cruel transports and call for stricter transport times. We need stricter measures to protect animals during transport. It is as simple as that, and we needed them now. This has been an issue for too long that has been ignored.

“We need a total ban of transports by sea and exports to third countries, a ban on transport of unweaned animals, and drastic reductions of total transport times.”

Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office (EPO) at FOUR PAWS

Sultana, concluded by saying, “The report published by the ANIT highlighted many important concerns and weaknesses in the current legal framework and its enforcement. Many of those made it into the set of recommendations that was voted on today, we hope that Council and Commission will look at the entire report and consider a drastic reduction of maximum transport times to 0 hours for unweaned animals or animals, 4 hours for poultry and rabbits and 8 hours for all other animals.”


The Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT) was set up in June 2020 to investigate alleged violations in the application of the “Transport Regulation” (Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport).

It is the fourth inquiry in the history of the European Parliament since 1992, and first one on animal welfare. It was also granted an extension of the Inquiry period to better assess the problems linked to animal transport.

Animal welfare – revision of EU legislation

In the upcoming year, the European Commission is putting most of the laws and regulations concerning animal welfare through a thorough fitness check. They will evaluate whether the legal framework is still adequately protecting the animals in the European Union. As part of this longer process, the European Commission has launched a Public Consultation to give all European residents the chance to share their opinions and priorities.

Cattle in transport

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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