SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton is welcoming EU proposals on
the transport of live animals, but is urging the legislation’s draftsmen
to heed the special transport needs of Scotland’s peripheral and island
communities. Mr Hudghton’s comments come as the Irish EU presidency urges
the European Parliament to reach agreement over European Commission
proposals for a regulation on the welfare of animals during transport.
The Irish are keen to achieve settlement of this during its presidency and
certainly before enlargement takes place later this year.
Speaking today about the legislative proposals, the MEP said:
"Animal welfare is a key consideration when rules on the transport of
livestock are being drawn up and legislation must based upon sound
veterinary and scientific information. Ultimately, the SNP would like to
see live trade being replaced by a trade in carcasses, with animals
slaughtered locally. But where the transport of live animals continues to
be necessary we need to ensure that legislation is both firm and fair for
the industry. MEPs are currently considering a draft Commission
regulation, the central recommendation of which is a mandatory rest period
of 12 hours for animals which have spent 9 hours travelling.
“Scottish farmers are genuinely committed to ensuring
the welfare of their livestock. However as the EU expands eastwards, MEPs
have unfortunately been made aware of a few countries who, it must be
said, don’t appear to put animal welfare very high on their agenda. We
have been given harrowing evidence of cruelty to animals during transport
when animals have been packed into unsuitable vehicles for journeys of
several days’ duration, without adequate food, water or rest. The case
for introducing strong EU-wide legislation regulating animal
transportation is clear.
“However, all laws must be workable too and, the
Commission needs to take heed of potential problems which myself and
others are already flagging up. For my own part I am particularly
concerned about how rest periods are to be applied in the more peripheral
and island areas of Scotland and I am raising my concerns with the
Commission and Parliament.”
The Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION on the protection of animals during
transport includes stricter conditions for the registration of transport
companies, mandatory training of drivers with independent examination, a
prohibition on the use of electric prods, stricter conditions for
assessing fitness to travel, very strict rules for the transport of horses
and compulsory forced ventilation.