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The European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport, known as the ANIT Committee, adopted its final report in December.

The ANIT Committee was set up in June 2020 to investigate breaches of the current legislation regarding the transport of Animals (1/2005) and over the last year and a half has conducted a series of hearings with animal rights NGOs and national authorities.

The report concluded that the current legislation is not always complied with and the legislation itself does not fully take into account the different transport needs of animals. It recommends that the legislation be updated and include the following:

  • A ban on the transport of animals below the age of 35 days and a two-hour limit for unweaned animals over 35 days, as well as a ban on the transport of pregnant animals in the last third of their gestation.
  • A ban on transport when temperatures are below 5 and above 30 degrees Celsius.
  • The establishment of set journey time limits covering all animals’ species and ages.
  • The installation of CCTV, temperature, humidity and ammonia recording devices in transport vehicles.
  • Development of action plan for the transport of meat and genetic material over live animals
  • A requirement that all consignments of live animals to third countries be inspected, with a focus on access to feed, water and space available.

Ireland South MEP, Billy Kelleher as the only Irish voting member on the ANIT committee raised his objections to the proposed restrictions for unweaned animals due to the significant implications they would have for Irish dairy farms, which are not equipped in terms of facilities nor labour to hold on to the animals for such as prolonged period and voted against the report.

The proposals would have a particularly negative impact for Ireland due to our pasture-based spring calving focus and our geographic position as an island; these elements are important factors worth of addressing, which ICOS will be emphasising as this debate continues.

The report will now go to a vote in the European Parliament Plenary in January or February, where there will be the opportunity to improve the recommendations by the committee.

The final report itself is non-legislative and will not have a regulatory impact. However, it does establish the positioning of the European Parliament ahead of new legislation relating to animal transport being proposed by the European Commission in 2022. The Parliament will have the opportunity to amend and approve the new regulation, together with the Council, and will be influenced by the recommendations set out in this report.

Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive