Sheep in live transport

EU Member States Propose Weak Revision of Animal Transport Legislation

FOUR PAWS alarmed, calling on EU Agricultural Ministers to stop suffering of livestock


Vienna, 19 January 2023 – At this month's EU Agriculture and Fisheries ministers meeting, eight EU Member States, led by the Portuguese delegation, have proposed key reforms on the animal transport legislation.

In a note to the European Council, the Member States outlined the need for legislation that“will ensure higher animal welfare transport throughout the single market and for exports to third countries.”

The letter calls for a continuation of live animal exports within and outside the EU instead of supporting a shift to further developing the use of a cold chain and export of meat and carcasses rather than live animals. Other recommendations also include the need for the improvement of transport conditions, as well as planning and contingency plans.

Joe Moran, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, said, “This is a crucial year for animal welfare legislation in the European Union and the recommendations in this paper do nothing to deal with the failings of transporting animals long distances, via road and by sea.”

Citizens across Europe expect major steps forward in animal welfare

Last year a report published by The European Commission showed that 92% of the nearly 60,000 public respondents wanted stronger legislation on animal welfare.

Moran added, “At a time when citizens across our European Union expect ambitious proposals on animal welfare – including on regulating live transport – we see a move from some to continue with the same broken system that has been shown to have failed time and time again and these proposals show no sign of that changing.”

In December of 2021, The Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT) set out many important concerns and weaknesses but failed to recommend a call to ban live exports.

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS, said, “FOUR PAWS has been at the forefront campaigning for multiple years for major changes in the ways animals are transported and we need a more radical, rigorous and concrete plan and framework than the proposals that are made here by some Member States."

“The EU needs to transition away from the transport of live animals and towards the transport of meat, carcasses and genetic material. There have been many missed opportunities but this year with the European Commission comprehensively reviewing its animal welfare legislation these changes must be its priority. FOUR PAWS on call EU institutions and ministers to be brave and bold when it comes to key reforms across animal welfare.”

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS

Live animal transport is linked to immense suffering and a first step to reduce the suffering is to ensure proper implementation of EU law. Yet, the EU remains one of the biggest exporters of live animals and every year, billions of live animals are transported for days or even weeks. The animals suffer from exhaustion, heat, cold, hunger, and thirst. Numerous animals are completely dehydrated, and many of them die during or after the transportation due to the horrifying conditions.


Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting will take place on January 30th, 2023

Note from the Portuguese delegation on behalf of the French, Greek, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish delegations - Revision of animal transport legislation - an essential part of the food production:

Legislation: Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97

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 was 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.

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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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