Good News On Animal Transport

30 September 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith and Nigel Miller, Vice President of NFUS, have today (Thursday) met with officials at the European Commission in Brussels to discuss progress on animal transport legislation.
The Commission officials were keen to reassure that the Commission is midway through a stock-taking exercise on the current regulations, which remain barely three years old, and that new rules are not on the agenda, and even any decision on whether new regulations are needed will not be likely before 2012 at the earliest.

Mr Miller also presented a proposal from NFUS which suggests a readjustment to the current regulations to reward best practice and to beef up enforcement across the EU.
Speaking after the meeting, Smith said:
"This meeting was hugely helpful, and I have no doubt that Scotland's farmers will be glad to hear that there are no new rules in the offing.  It makes sense to do a stock-take on how the current rules are being implemented and, crucially, enforced, across the EU: the regs are barely three years old and there may well be ways we could do things better.  I'm glad that the NFUS proposals will fit so well with that process, bringing real, workable ideas from the field to the heart of the Brussels decision-making process.
"We can expect to see some preliminary findings on the stock-take by the end of this year, with further work across 2011 and a final report scheduled for December that year.  The debate on that stock-taking, and how to remedy any flaws which are found, will take at least another year or so.
"In any event, I'm comfortable that there is no appetite for new rules and that the Commission's focus is very much on making the existing rules work as well as possible, to ensure animal welfare, but also to reward farmers and transporters who employ best practice.  We in Scotland have nothing to fear and everything to gain from engaging with that process, and I'm glad that Nigel, and NFUS as a whole, have been such constructive partners."