The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) cares about the health and welfare of animals. A point of serious concern that keeps coming back are welfare issues caused by failure to comply with the agreed standards for animals during long-distance transport and export of livestock. Especially in the summer, hot weather can have a serious impact on the welfare of animals on transport.
In the summer of 2018, with temperatures rising above 30°C, again 500+ consignments were exported from the EU to third countries. For a number of reasons waiting periods for trucks arriving at the border can be very long. Animals, which in certain cases have travelled for thousands of kilometers already, have to stay in the trucks without proper space to rest, and with very limited facilities to give them feed, water and care. The very high temperatures aggravate the situation, leading to animal suffering, exhaustion and sometimes even death of animals.
This cannot go on and action is urgently needed. FVE therefore calls upon:
- Animal transporters to start a journey well prepared and in accordance with the requirements of Transport Regulation 1/2005. It is not acceptable to risk serious animal health and welfare problems by undertaking long-distance animal transports when at the start of the journey it is clear that problems are likely to occur;
- All to make use of the good and better practices developed under the Animal Transport Project to optimize welfare during transport and the EU fact sheet on export of live animals to Turkey.
- Competent authorities of exporting countries to assume responsibility for a more rigorous, uniform implementation and strict enforcement of the Transport Regulation;
- Official Veterinarians to only sign certificates and approve the loading if they can verify that all the legal requirements (journey length, unloading, watering, feeding, etc) can be ensured up to the place of destination. Competent authorities to support their official veterinarians;
- Extreme temperatures:
- EU countries to instigate a ‘hot weather’ protocol for all transport (short and long) when temperatures are above 30°;
- EU countries to avoid long distance export of animals in periods when temperatures are expected to go above 30°, which puts the welfare of the animals at risk;
- Competent Authority to support Official Veterinarians to refuse signing certificates if the temperatures are forecasted to be above 30° on any part of the journey;
- Authorities at border crossings to take practical measures to reduce the time needed for clearance at the border as much as possible, and to create adequate facilities for unloading and caring for the animals when needed;
- All parties involved to discourage as much as possible long-distance transport of livestock; especially in the face of serious traffic congestion problems, high temperatures or any other circumstances that are likely to threaten animal welfare requirements;
- All parties involved to take their share of responsibility in the protection of animal welfare and to do the best they can to prevent the re-occurrence of well-known problems;
- A very effective way to solve the problem is replacing the transport of live animals by the transport of carcasses / animal products. FVE therefore wishes to restate that: Animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises on which they are born and slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.
Monday July 8, 2019/ FVE/ European Union.