EU Commissioners disregard animal suffering
Animals’ Angels and 8hours.eu are urging local voters to use their votes as a statement in favour of an 8-hour maximum journey time for animals sent for slaughter in the EU.
In an open letter to voters, the two organisations explained how some months ago, an international conference was held denouncing the fact that former EU Commissioner for Health and Consumers John Dalli had disregarded the suffering of countless animals and the voice of European citizens.
Millions of live animals including pigs, horses, cows, sheep, lambs, chickens are being transported over long distances on European roads, sometimes for several days, only to be killed on arrival. This huge amount of suffering can easily be avoided by killing the animals in the nearest slaughterhouse to the farm and then transporting their meat and carcasses.
Last year on March 15, the European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 49/2011, signed by 395 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) calling on the EU institutions to establish a maximum 8-hour limit on the journeys of animals transported for the purpose of slaughter. On June 7, 2012, representatives of over 100 European animal welfare NGOs together with MEPs from across the political spectrum handed in 1,103,248 signatures to John Dalli, who was responsible for animal welfare in the European Union, however the former EU Commissioner refused to propose changes to the European rules on live animal transport, affirming that enforcement of the present rules was enough. Some of those rules have been in place for over 20 years and have never been enforced. Mr Dalli never provided any explanation as to why such rules would start to be enforced now.
Following Mr Dalli’s resignation, Tonio Borg became the new EU Commissioner for Health and Consumers, and therefore responsible for animal welfare in the EU. The organisations have repeatedly attempted to better relationships with Dr Borg but although evidence shows why an urgent review of the rules on transport is necessary, Dr Borg is maintaining Mr Dalli’s position that no changes to the existing rules will be done, but merely increasing focus on enforcement.
In its answers to MEP questions the Commission showed that it does not have significant data on the regular violations of the rules on live transport, and has even less ability to force Member States to enforce them. EU documentation shows that at the moment there are more Animals’ Angels investigators conducting checks on animals during transport than inspectors working for the FVO, the European Commission’s inspection service.
Different journey times might be adopted for different species, and other details should be discussed within the framework of a new piece of legislation, but allegedly Dr Borg is opposing this opportunity. The end of long-distance live transport of animals sent for slaughter in the EU is one of the easiest legislative measures to adopt in order to stop a huge amount of animal suffering, if the political willingness is there.
Maltese politicians and the Maltese electorate can play a key role in making it happen, the letter read.