EU Parliament Backing For Animal Transport Proposal

05 May 2010
Alyn Smith, Scottish full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has expressed his delight that the full session of the European Parliament has backed NFUS proposals and Scottish concerns on animal transport.

Voting on the Paulsen Report on an Animal Welfare Action Plan, the plenary session, regarding animal transport, supported the principle that "there is a need to follow up and ensure proper implementation of the existing rules on animal transport", and that "an economic impact analysis on livestock farming to be conducted before any new rules, which should be based on scientifically proven and objective indicators, are implemented".

Furthermore, the Parliament also approved NFUS proposals that a satellite system should be developed to monitor infringements of animal transport rules, particularly with regard to journey times, as an alternative to creating new rules.  The vote was passed with an almost unanimous majority.

Speaking after the vote, Smith said:

"This is very good news for Scottish farming, and it's most pleasing to see a broad pan-European consensus on such a vital issue.  Considering the ambivalence which we saw yesterday from Commissioner Dalli, this is exactly the right time to send a strong unified message from the Parliament to the Council and Commission: their focus must be on proper implementation of the existing rules, before considering new rules.

"Already the Commission have postponed their report on this subject from the start to the middle of next year, which suggests uncertainty within their ranks, so the opportunity for influence is certainly there.

"I was particularly pleased to see NFUS's alternative proposals on a satellite-based monitoring system taken forward by the Parliament, which should add further ammunition to our campaign - John Dalli's recent letter to me suggests that the Commission are certainly considering it as an option.  If we keep the pressure up I think we have a decent chance of success."

The Parliament also approved the Dorfmann Report on Less Favoured Areas: Smith successfully passed amendments which enshrine active farming at the heart of the LFA scheme, and which insist that the case for socio-economic criteria, such as distance from markets, be reviewed, on an objective basis: strict biophysical criteria, as recent surveys have shown, are not entirely suitable for the wet maritime climate of Scotland.  Furthermore, the report underlines the central importance of LFA to agricultural support schemes, and calls for the maintenance of its budget.