The welfare of animals in transport must be improved, but cutting transport time to eight hours must be supplemented by other measures, such as support for local slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, upgrading transport vehicles and full and uniform control of compliance with existing rules throughout the EU, said many Agriculture Committee MEPs in a debate on Monday.
Better law enforcement and uniform rules
Marit Paulsen (ALDE, SE) stressed the need to tighten up controls and enforcement, adding that more use should be made of technology such as GPS to improve the monitoring of compliance with the rules throughout the EU.
Work on transport conditions, not duration
Discussing the eight-hour limit is approaching the subject "in entirely the wrong way," said John Stuart Agnew (EFD, UK). The conditions in which animals are transported matter more than the duration of the journey, and those that are not strong enough should not be loaded, he said, adding that lorries should be better monitored by relevant authorities.
Transport conditions, including transit times, must remain species-specific - differing rules are needed for cattle and sheep, poultry and pigs, argued Britta Reimers (ALDE, DE).
Support for local slaughterhouses
The call for "more local slaughterhouses" was taken up by other MEPs, including Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D, PT), who insisted that strict hygiene rules, although important, must not lead to the closure of small abattoirs, thus forcing the transport of animals over long distances.
No more transports for origin labels
Mr Capoulas Santos, speaking on behalf of Ms Karin Kadenbach (S&D, AT), also voiced her concerns about animals being transported for slaughter to other member states "just to get the country of origin label". This practice "must stop", he said.
Tuesday may 15, 2012/ European Commission/ European Union.