Animal Transport Raised In EU Agriculture Committee

04 May 2010
"No plans for change... until mid 2011"

SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today received an assurance from the EU's Health Commissioner John Dalli that there will be no new rules on animal transport until at least mid 2011, and that the Commission is currently focussing on finding better ways to enforce the current rules rather than, necessarily, seeking to impose wholly new ones.

The exchange took place during a wide-ranging discussion between the Agriculture Committee and the Commissioner this morning in Brussels, and Smith was not alone in raising the thorny issue of transport with both Scots, as well as a number of British and Irish MEPs emphasising the point that there is little need for new rules when the problems which are regularly brought forward centre invariably upon poor enforcement by some member state authorities.

After the meeting, Smith said:

"This was a useful session with the Commissioner, which has shed a little light into the Commission's thinking on a number of dossiers.

"On animal transport, I'm heartened, but only a little.  Mr Dalli was clear that the Commission is indeed assessing the state of enforcement of the existing animal transport rules, and we can expect this report, according to him, in mid 2011 so we do have a degree of breathing space.  However, we'll need to keep an eye on it.

"He is, not surprisingly, keeping his options open so there remains a risk that the Commission study will find that the solution to poor enforcement in some states is a new set of rules in all 27.

"I disagree, and to be fair he, also, did not seem to have much appetite for new rules, but his unwillingness to rule out new regulations means that this must remain an issue to watch."