New EU animal transport regulations stress animal welfare

November 23, 2004, as reported by The European Commission is introducing new regulations for animal transport that focus on animal welfare before, after and during the trips. Part of a political agreement made by the European Council, the European Commission applauded the regulation for increasing accountability by identifying clearly who is responsible for what throughout the animal transport process and introducing new, more efficient enforcement tools such as checks via a satellite navigation system.

Animal handlers will also have to abide by stricter rules for journeys of more than eight hours, including substantial upgrading in vehicles standards and treatment of the animals before and after a journey, for example at slaughterhouses or at harbors. The regulation recognizes that most of the stress on the animals occurs around loading and unloading and has responded accordingly. Currently about 10% of animal transport in Europe consists of long distance transport.

“These new animal transport rules will significantly improve animal welfare. My ambition would have been to reduce traveling times and stocking densities further, but member states remain deeply split on this,” said Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

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