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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
22 January
SNP support for Animal transport rules

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. 

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