Photo credits @ Izvora, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New EU animal transport proposals branded “pure nonsense” by Danish hauliers

The European Commission has come up with new proposals that would reform animal transport rules. Danish hauliers were quick to criticise the new proposals, calling them “pure nonsense".

You can read this article in 5 minutes

In adherence to the Farm to Fork Strategy outlined in the European Green Deal, the European Commission has introduced a comprehensive revision of EU animal transport rules, representing the most substantial reform in two decades. 

Simultaneously, novel proposals are put forth for the welfare and traceability of companion animals – specifically dogs and cats, to establish uniform EU standards for their breeding, housing, and handling. 

These initiatives respond to the imperatives of sustainable agriculture, aligning with the overarching goals of the European Green Deal.

The key proposals for animal transport are as follows:

  • Shorter travel times and unloading periods; animals must be unloaded for rest, feeding, and watering during long journeys. Special rules will apply to animals for slaughter, as well as vulnerable animals like unweaned calves and pregnant animals.
  • Increased minimum space requirements; allowances ensuring minimum space for different species will be expanded and tailored to each animal type.
  • Temperature-dependent transport conditions; strict conditions will be imposed for transport during extreme temperatures. Transport during high temperatures exceeding 30 degrees will be limited to night-time, and below 0°C, road vehicles must be covered and air circulation controlled.
  • Tightened export rules; stricter regulations for live animal exports from the EU, with improved controls in third countries to align with EU standards.
  • Utilization of digital tools; implementation of digital tools, such as real-time positioning of vehicles and a central database, to facilitate the enforcement of transport rules.

The legislative proposals will now proceed to the European Parliament and the Council for consideration.

 Danish hauliers label proposal “pure nonsense” 

In response to the European Commission’s recent proposal to revise animal transport rules, the Danish industry association ITD – International Transport Denmark – has issued a scathing critique, describing the plan as “pure nonsense”.

Stefan K. Schou, CEO of ITD, expressed his dissatisfaction with the proposed changes, stressing that the European Commission’s intentions to improve animal welfare through the update do not match the reality of the situation. According to Schou, the current legislation poses challenges because not everyone can meet the high standards set for animal transport, leading to inconsistent enforcement across the EU.

“The Danish hauliers transport animals every day according to the highest standards. The problem with the current legislation is that not everyone can comply with the high standards,” explained Stefan K. Schou.

ITD contends that the proposed changes, including alterations to space requirements and reduced transport times, lack clear scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness in improving animal welfare. Schou remarked, “When I look at the proposals, they appear to me to be non-solutions to non-problems.”

A particular concern raised by ITD is the proposal to restrict animal transport within certain temperature ranges, which creates uncertainty for hauliers. Schou argued that relying on weather forecasts introduces unnecessary unpredictability into carefully planned animal transport. He stressed that the focus should be on monitoring the actual temperature inside transport vehicles to ensure true animal welfare.

ITD also expressed disappointment that the Commission did not address a more reasonable division of responsibility for assessing animals’ suitability for transport. Currently, it falls upon the driver to ensure the health of the animals, a responsibility that ITD believes should rest with the farmers who are more familiar with their livestock.

“A driver does not have the slightest chance of seeing if there is an inflamed wound or a bad ankle. It is the farmer who knows his animals. Therefore, it should also be him/her who has to certify that the animals are suitable for transport,” stated ITD’s managing director.

The proposed bill is now set to be considered in the Council and the European Parliament. ITD is urging Jacob Jensen, the Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, along with politicians in Brussels, to carefully evaluate the legislation. The association has called for legislation grounded in facts and supportive of the high standard of animal transport in Denmark.

Photo credits @ Izvora, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons