Tag Archives: Peter Stevenson

COVID19: threat of animal transport

With over 35 animal welfare NGOs, we sent a letter to EU leaders, asking them to adapt their response to COVID-19, since long border delays are resulting in animal suffering. We called on the EU to ban the transport of farm animals to non-EU countries, as well as journeys that last over 8 hours.

Due to the increased border control delays resulting from COVID-19, in many cases the transport of farm animals cannot be carried out in a way that is compliant with EU law. The EU Transport Regulation requires that animals are moved without delay to the place of destination, and that animals’ needs are met during the journey.Insisting on continued transport of animals in such conditions is irresponsible and inhumane and disregards the EU treaty, which stipulates that EU law and policies must pay full regard to animal welfare” said Peter Stevenson Compassion in World Farming’s Chief Policy Advisor.

We are concerned that in the new EU guidelines for border management, published this week, the EU Commission insists that the transport of live animals between EU countries must continue. These guidelines disregard the severe problems imposed on the health and welfare of farm animals being transported, especially those transported between EU and non-EU countries.

Vehicles with farm animals are being refused entry to Croatia. There are traffic queues of 40 km at the border between Lithuania and Poland and queues on the German side of the border with Poland of 65 km leading to waiting times of 18 hours. Vehicles with farm animals are also getting caught up in very long queues at the exit point between Bulgaria and Turkey – drivers transporting farm animals reported to Animals’ Angels that they needed three hours to move 300 m inside the border.

Queues at borders are stopping medical supplies and health professionals from getting through. It is even less likely that it will be possible to attend to the welfare of animals caught up in these queues.

Moreover, there is a real risk that countries close their borders without having any infrastructure in place to cater to the needs of the transported animals, and provide what is required by EU law, such as food, water and places to rest.

“The trade in live animals threatens not only the health and well-being of the animals, but it also threatens our health”, – said Olga Kikou, Compassion in World Farming’s Head of EU Office. “The drivers, animal handlers, vets, civil servants and their families can easily get infected. Unlike others who enter and exit the EU, they are not required to be in quarantine. We are putting them and ourselves at risk. We are faced with never-before seen measures to contain the spread of the virus as an increasing number of European countries enter lockdowns. Nonetheless, we allow live animals to be transported everywhere, while the health authorities advise people to stay at home. This a double standard! The trade in live animals cannot be considered a crucial sector providing essential services to society. This absurdity needs to stop!”

#QueenHind shipwreck “Commission failure”

‘Two days after a tragedy where over 14,000 sheep perished during transport by sea, the outgoing Commission sent us an insensitive response to a complaint regarding an Irish livestock vessel’ reads the statement of the Compassion in World Farming organisation.

This is clear evidence that the outgoing Commission failed in its duty of care for animal welfare; that the Commission tore up its own words about animal welfare being a ‘priority’. The time for duplicity is over. The new Commission needs to deliver on the aspirations of EU citizens and put an end to the cruel and senseless long-distance trade in live animals for slaughter or fattening” Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming said.

‘At the time of the complaint which we made in August this year, the Irish livestock vessel, the Express 1,did not have a valid certificate of approval – this is legally required by Article 7.2 of Council Regulation 1/2005. In addition, the average mortality rates were much higher than usual, with 23 animals dying on the three journeys. The letter of complaint included details stating that the Express 1 had been used as a livestock vessel three times between 7 March and 9 May 2019 – whilst it had an expired certificate of approval. The animals on board were being transported from Ireland to Turkey.

Despite this clear breach of legislation, the letter of response from the outgoing Commission that Compassion received stated: “the allegations as presented in your complaint do not appear to show indications of a general practice, a problem of compliance of national legislation with EU law or a systemic failure of the Irish authorities to correctly comply with provisions of the EU legislation in relation to the implementation of the protection of animals during transport.” 

“The letter from the outgoing Commission is extraordinary in its crass insensitivity – it comes just two days after thousands of sheep died in a disaster at sea and appears to imply that using a livestock vessel without a certificate of approval is not a matter of any real importance” said Peter Stevenson, Compassion’s Chief Policy Advisor.

 ‘The disaster at sea referred to is the incident in which over 14,000 sheep died on 24 November, when the Queen Hind overturned after leaving the port of Midia, off the coast of Romania. Despite the best efforts of rescuers on site, it has been reported that only 32 sheep were saved.”