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Europe ditches proposals for humane livestock transport

by David Masters
September 23, 2009

Plans to make livestock transport more humane have been scrapped by the European Commission.

The proposed regulations had included reduced journey times, lower stock densities, and greater restrictions on the transport of animals bought at market.

Farming groups and animal rights campaigners welcomed the commission’s decision to drop the proposals.

Both groups argued the legislation failed to deal with the key issue of making sure animal welfare laws are adequately enforced.

“We have said, year after year, that any welfare abuses related to transport should be clamped down on by the existing rules being enforced properly, as they are [in the UK],” said Rob Livesey, chairman of the National Farmers Union in Scotland (NFUS).

“Solving a problem of poor enforcement by increased red tape is a seriously flawed approach to regulation,” he added.

“The latest Commission proposals would have failed to address this fundamental issue and would have done nothing to address problems where they exist.”

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) estimates that every year in Europe six million farm animals are transported on long journeys taking three days or more.

The problem does not only lie in the current regulation but in its enforcement,” said CIWF spokesperson Peter Stevenson.

The new legislation proposed a maximum journey time of ten hours, extended to 40 hours for animals with a certificate of physical fitness.

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