Animal Transport Back In Brussels Again

09 February 2010
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has again reiterated his demands that the European Commission focus on implementing current legislation on animal transport before it considers pushing through new regulations.

Smith has lodged amendments to a European Parliament Agriculture Committee report on animal welfare which has been drafted by Swedish member Marit Paulsen.

Due to the lack of proper enforcement of current regulations in some member states, this issue has repeatedly reappeared on the agenda in Brussels and threatens to do so again within twelve months. In his hearing, new EU Health Commissioner John Dalli expressed his wish to see a Commission proposal on this topic come forward at some point in the next year. While he has given no clue as to his preferred content, it is widely anticipated that any new proposal is likely to place more onerous restrictions on those transporting animals, causing real problems for those in Scotland's island and peripheral regions.

Smith said:

"It is fundamentally unfair that Scotland's livestock industry is being penalised for the lack of compliance towards the existing EU regulations by other member states.

"Of course it is vital that our animals are transported in as humane a way as possible but any further tightening of the existing regulation is likely to have precisely the opposite effect. For great swathes of Scotland it would spell disaster. Put frankly, many regions will not be able to transport their animals at all, or at least not legally. Instead of fixing the problem, all the Commission will do is encourage non-compliance to unworkable rules.

"After Mr Dalli's hearing in Parliament I wrote to him requesting clarification on this point and, as yet, I am still to receive a reply.  However, I hope that my amendments to Ms Paulsen's report will highlight to both the committee and the Commission where the real problems lie."

The Paulsen report on animal welfare is available at:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-430.922+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN

Mr Smith's amendments to this report are below:

Regrets, nonetheless, that more has not been done to adopt a proposal for new rules on animal transport and the associated issue of developing a satellite system to monitor such transport, and urges the Commission, in the time still remaining before the action plan expires, to take the initiative in this field;

Regrets, nonetheless, that more has not been done to enforce the currently existing rules on animal transport and the associated issue of developing a satellite system to monitor such transport, and urges the Commission, in the time still remaining before the action plan expires, to take the initiative in this field; insists that the current legislation in place be properly enforced before considering new legislative proposals in the field of animal transport;