All photographs by Valerie Cameron.
This has been a long article to write and produce; but nothing compared to the arduous suffering that EU animals have to endure on the roads of the EU every day due to archaic legislation. It is time for change – we hope the following provides you with useful information on the subject; and that you will send a copy of the sample letter (amended or un amended) to Commissioner Borg as requested. Thank you.
There appears to be many animal welfare sites within various member states of the EU who could and should be doing a great deal more to push directly for legislation changes at the EU Commission level regarding the transport of all live farm animals across Europe. Whilst some may be taking a form of action towards their own national governments; we stress that EU wide legislation which applies to all member states is made in the EU Commission, Brussels, and not by individual member states just for the benefit of individual member states. The EU may update or produce new legislation in the form of a new or amended ‘Regulation’ – and this has to be officially adhered to by all member states to ensure that EU standards are met and maintained. If a member state does not / is shown not enforce the official regulation, then the EU (as a whole, via the Commission) can take action against any individual member state that shows non-compliance.
For this reason, we feel that the EU Commission is the very establishment; the only real establishment which needs to be addressed regarding amending EU law throughout Europe, which then should be to the benefit of ALL animals in transport across the whole of Europe. If what we witness of the UK government is anything to go by to date; regardless of the evidence of cruelty and suffering presented to them time after time after time, welfare organisations are largely ignored; being fobbed off with government ministry weasel words and counter responses in some kind of pathetic ping-pong game with welfare campaigners which continues for months and months, and which in the end results in nothing to improve animal welfare.
So what do we suggest should be done ?
Ditch the pointless efforts to make national governments listen to evidence; and instead take the evidence directly to the heart of the EU; where policy makers can amend and introduce legislation for bettering animal welfare legislation which corresponds to the wishes of EU citizens in 2014. We don’t want to have to still rely on some old outdated and non-effective legislation aka 1/2005 from 22nd December 2004, when we are fast approaching the 22nd of December 2014 !!!
The EU and its Commissions need to wake up to the fact that people in Europe want change; and they want it now. They don’t just want weasel words from EU politicians which never result in any progress – the people of the EU demand action for animals; and they demand it now. It is up to our servants, who work at the EU, to take on board the wishes of the people and to actually put the wheels of change into motion.
Why are we doing this EU animal transport campaigning on a site primarily for Balkans stray animals ?
As stated in the above introduction, there appear to be many live animal transport welfare sites within various member states of the EU who could and should be doing a great deal more to push directly for legislation changes at the EU Commission regarding the transport of all live animals across Europe. If they are not going to push hard for changes to EU legislation; and instead only target their own very non-active governments (in most cases), ie. Those governments which normally do nothing for the benefit of animals in transport, then we at ‘Serbian Animals Voice’ will attempt to take the issue to where we consider it really matters; and that is the offices of power located at the EU headquarters. We will by pass the ‘oily rag’ of national governments and go directly to the ‘chief engineer’ who is located in Brussels – and target the people and commissions who can and should be making a difference for all EU animals.
Although this (live animal transport) is not really an issue which should be addressed to any major degree by ‘Serbian Animals Voice’; as we primarily try to help stray animals in the Balkans; we, by being based in England, UK (the UK being an existing EU Member State !); feel that many current welfare group activities to only target the UK government (for example) on this issue are getting basically nowhere. We need to push and campaign a great deal more on this important issue in the heart of EU power with the hope that we will get additional campaign support from you; our wonderful SAV site visitors, which will strike where it really makes a difference; the EU headquarters in Brussels. Changes in Brussels make changes to EU legislation – sending an e mail to a member state ministry official does very little.
‘Eurogroup for Animals’; which is the primary campaigning animal welfare organisation at the EU, claim to have (see below) several ‘visions’ regarding a better place for all animals within the EU. They have a vision that “cruelty to animals is not tolerated’; and ‘the welfare of all animals is protected by European legislation”. We naturally fully support this vision, but would currently like to remind the Eurogroup that for the last 10 years, there have been no real changes to animal welfare laws giving so-called ‘protection’ to animals in transport across the EU. It is now well past time for change – even 10 years later than it should have been regarding Regulation 1/2005. National governments are basically individually doing nothing despite all the mails, evidence and data regarding cruelty in transport being given to them; so; if national governments will not act and be a voice for animals within the EU corridors, we push it alone in Europe; and this will now be an aim of Serbian Animals Voice for the future.. National EU member state governments talk long and talk loud about their alleged ‘concerns for animal welfare’; but the reality is, certainly regarding the UK, and for live animals being transported all around Europe, they do very, very little; usually nothing apart from attempting to enforce archaic rules and regulations from 10 years ago or more. These antiquated laws currently remain as they are and today, in 2014, the animals continue to suffer on a daily basis; currently with no hope of any real change but getting plenty of assurances with terms like ‘visions’ and ‘cruelty not being tolerated’. Well, we have a message for the EU and its associates; cruelty IS witnessed and tolerated throughout the EU every day by animals which have to endure long distance transport. It is time to act for them and to get better legislation to prevent their suffering.
With around 25 years of experience regarding all aspects of work associated with live animal transport within the UK / EU – see ‘About Us’ – http://serbiananimalsvoice.com/about-us/ – Serbian Animals Voice founder Mark, still gets very involved with, and has great concerns about the current so-called ‘EU Regulations’ and the terrible conditions in which live farm animals are transported across the EU under every single day. Current legislation (primarily EU Regulation 1/2005) on the so-called ‘protection’ of animals during transport is not enforced adequately by any EU member states and at this present time, these so-called ‘Regulations’ which are supposed to protect animals in transport are antiquated and grossly outdated; combined, they cause endless animal suffering; something which the Eurogroup inform us they do not wish to see as part of their future ‘vision’. At the moment, 2014, the EU Commission should bow its head in shame across the whole of Europe for continuing to allow animals undergoing long distance transport to suffer day in, day out, week in, week out, etc on the roads of Europe, whilst allegedly being ‘protected’ by some travesty of so-called archaic legislation produced some 10 or more years ago and which is not really enforced much by many of the existing EU member states. Good animal transport in the EU is a complete and utter travesty, and it is time that this was changed.
Under the travesty of existing European law / legislation, Animals are currently supposed to be ‘protected’ from cruelty and suffering by the main legislative / welfare / protection document of the EU; which goes under the name of ‘Council Regulation 1/2005 (of 12/2004) on the protection of animals during transport and related operations’.
Click on the link here to gain access to this legislation:
As you can see, there are a lot of words which in reality, amount to very little or even nothing when it comes to so called national ‘competent authorities’ enforcing rules on the transport of live animals across Europe. Ask EU animal welfare organisations who continually go undercover to expose the real truths about long distance transport; and who are then simply ignored by their masters in authority. Just from our own experiences regarding live animal exports from the UK (England) to mainland Europe, we are currently witnessing Dutch convicted criminals (convicted and fined in an English court of law in 2010 and specifically relating to animal transport welfare issues !) now running an ex Soviet battle tank carrier ship designed only for river crossing; to get live animals for slaughter from the UK into mainland EU by crossing the English Channel to France. A vessel which is only designed for river usage, not the English Channel !. What is done to protect transported animals here ? – Nothing appears to be done by either the EU Commission or national UK so-called ‘Competent Authorities’ run by the national government, to stop these convicted criminals; convicted for past animals welfare offences; from continuing with their sordid trade in animal abuse between EU member states – namely England and France. If the EU Commission was concerned, then it would act at present to prevent this criminal from continuing; – but here in 2014 we see no actions by the EU Commission to currently stop this.
So via this site; the ‘Serbian Animals Voice’ site; which is England, UK; EU member state based, we now intend to make EU peoples voices relating to long distance live animal transport heard within the EU Commission; by campaigning through the ‘Eurogroup’ – the organisation which claims on its website to have a future EU where “cruelty to animals is not tolerated”. In addition, we will directly target the Commission responsible for animal welfare in Europe – which is headed by Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Council Regulation 1/2005 (of 12/2004) on the ‘protection of animals’ during transport was produced by EU Commission legislation some 10 (ten) years ago. It is now time for the Eurogroup, the EU Parliament and the EU Commission to wake up; and realise the fact that this archaic and outdated legislation is in desperate need to be completely and utterly re-vamped to bring it into line with the feelings and wishes of many millions of people; EU citizens throughout the EU. The legislation as it stands does not work to help animals; it has never worked; and so the EU Commission now needs to address this at the current time. The welfare of animals during transport legislation / regulation(s) needs a major overhaul; it needs to be vastly improved by the EU Commission; with, as just one major example of a progression to improving animal welfare, introducing a maximum journey time for ALL animals in transport to enduring a ONE OFF, maximum journey time of just 8 (eight) hours, nothing more; the journey is to be started and completed within a time window of 8 hours, or it does not even get any EU approval to commence in the first place..
It is therefore down to the Eurogroup and the EU Commission, headed by the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, namely Tonio Borg; to actually come clean and put their supportive words for animal welfare into real actions for the animals in transport; those who suffer each and every day. It is time to now move forward from the grossly outdated legislation and hours which animals endure on the roads of Europe at this very moment, to new and much better legislation in the form of a new or revised Regulation which limits live animal transport to a one off maximum of 8 hours journey time, regardless of the farm animal species. If the EU Commission does nothing more for animals in transport; at the very least, it should be making 8 hours and the one off maximum journey time for animals in transport a new regulation. We at ‘Serbian Animals Voice’ will do everything in our power to push for better legislative changes for animals in transport within the EU at the real heart of where legislation is produced; namely the EU, Brussels.
The shambles that is the current EU legislation for animals in transport, Regulation 1/2005; allows different species of farm animals to be transported for the varying times given below; times which we feel need to be scrapped across the board and instead replaced by a one off single maximum journey time of only 8 hours – no more – be it for animals undergoing slaughter upon their arrival, or animals going for further fattening:
Under existing EU Regulation 1/2005,the ‘shambles’ of a legislation, journey times for animals currently being transported across the EU are:
Unweaned calves, lambs and foals – 9 hours – 1 hour break – and then a further 9 hours. Total time of at least 18 hours excluding the break period. The 1 hour break is a minimum, with no maximum time; and the break is taken with the animals still loaded onto the vehicle; they are not unloaded. A basic transport time of 18 hours possible with an unlimited break of 1 hour minimum in the middle of the journey, still taken by keeping the animals on the vehicle.
Pigs – 24 hours maximum journey time in one single journey. According to the Regulation, animals ‘should’ be given access to water continually during the journey.
Cattle, Sheep, Goats – 14 hours, minimum of 1 hour rest (again unlimited as above) with then another possible 14 hours of journey time. Total journey time of at least 28 hours excluding the middle break period which is unlimited and which keeps the animals on the carrier vehicle.
Horses – except registered horses – equine animals may be transported for a maximum period of 24 hours. According to the EU Regulation, they should be provided with liquids and feed every 8 hours.
There are lots of ‘should be’ in the above legislation.
The reality from undercover investigations show that the reality of welfare in transport is often very different.
Below you will find a ‘sample letter’ which can be copied and sent to the EU Commissioner (Borg); the man who can take action; addressing your concerns associated with the current issues of live animal transport, The shamble of regulation 1/2005 and what is hoped for the future according to both him and the Eurogroup. We also include a link which will show all current Members of the EU Parliament (MEP’s) who represent every member state at the EU Parliament. If you are an EU citizen, these MEP’s can also be contacted directly by you to express your concerns on this issue. Find and contact them directly at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html
Send letters and mails for change to the regulations and a maximum one off journey time of 8 hours to the following:
Contact the spokesperson for Commissioner Tonio Borg – Frederic VINCENT – at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Borg informs us of his animal welfare intentions at: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/borg/personally_speaking/index_en.htm :
Part of his statement reads: “Animal welfare is close to the hearts of many Europeans. This is plainly evident from the numerous petitions, letters and Parliamentary questions sent every year to the Commission. It is in fact not by coincidence that Europe’s body of laws protecting animals is among the strongest in the world”.
… “During the meeting, I underlined the fact that rules only live up to expectations if they are properly enforced and suggested that there is room for improvement in enforcing animal welfare regulations. Part of the necessary groundwork has been setting a standard format for reporting of enforcement actions by Member States which will permit useful comparison and thereby an even playing field for operators”
… “In our discussions, I also stressed the importance of enforcement on animal transport. We have the leading animal welfare legislation in the world; let’s make sure that we enforce them properly and uniformly. Under this Commission mandate, we are preparing important groundwork for a general animal welfare law.
I am confident that we have paved the way for key achievements in the years to come”.
Eurogroup Contact e mail: email@example.com
Eurogroup website for further informaton: http://eurogroupforanimals.org/
Eurogroup – ‘Our Vision’
We are passionate about creating a society where animal welfare is fully considered and where;
- Every animal lives in an environment where they can perform their natural behaviour
- Cruelty to animals is not tolerated
- The welfare of all animals is protected by European legislation
- All EU laws on the protection of animals are effective and prevent animal suffering
- Politicians in all 28 member states and at EU level consider the impact every new policy has on animals
- Our active membership network of animal welfare groups is recognised as the leading authority on animal welfare
- Farm Animals
Today’s industrial food production means that billions of farm animals suffer in Europe every year and since its inception Eurogroup’s aim has been to highlight their plight and to campaign vigorously for legislation. Animals used for food are not just agriculture products but sentient beings. From the point of birth to the slaughterhouse they need to be treated accordingly.
In addition, we make sure that governments and industry apply the laws. We encourage financial compensation for farmers who invest in welfare-friendly production systems, and highlight cases were EU subsidies lead to animal suffering as is the case for export subsidies for live animal export.
Summer 2014 – Eurogroup meets with Commissioner Borg
During the summer of 2014, Eurogroup for Animals represented by Reineke Hameleers, Peter Davies and Martyn Griffiths had a one-hour meeting with European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg and three members of his staff, to discuss our concerns and ensure the welfare of all animals that is protected by European legislation.
The subjects covered included the proposed EU Animal Welfare Framework Law, Proposal for Cloning for Food production, Trade and Animal Welfare, Companion Animals, Proposal on EU Strategy on Invasive Species and the situation on the Seal Trade dispute following a Resolution submitted from the recent Eurogroup for Animals’ AGM.
Commissioner Borg was very positive and hopeful on all these issues.
Eurogroup for Animals hopes that it will result in a concrete outcome for improved welfare of animals.
To give your voice to supporting the concrete outcome for the improvement of animals in the EU, please send the following sample letter to the addresses given below.
IMPORTANT – Even if you are not an EU citizen; there is still no reason why you cannot voice your disgust at this trade to the EU Commissioner by copying and sending the sample letter below. In fact, if he sees that comments and letters are coming to him about this from outside of the EU, then all the better for the campaign. Thank you.
Can be directly copied and sent to the following e mail addresses; or copy the sample letter and amend as you wish.
‘CC’ Copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Time to Update live farm animal transport times and regulations immediately – pave the way to improved animal welfare now !
Dear Commissioner Borg;
I have visited your website and read the many statements you make with regard achieving better welfare for animals during transport. I also note that during the Summer of 2014 you had a meeting with the Eurogroup to discuss their concerns regarding the live transport of animals across the EU, and your promise to “ensure the welfare of all animals is protected by European legislation”.
Current legislation in the form of Regulation 1/2005 does not give much protection to animals in transport. This has been proven time after time by undercover investigations undertaken by animal welfare organisations located throughout the EU. To simply declare that a driver is ‘competent’ to transport live animals for many hours because he has a piece of paper which says that he is ‘competent’ is a complete and utter travesty for both EU animal welfare and good name of all EU citizens who are sick of witnessing the daily abuses that this EU live transport trade supports.
For example, in the UK (an EU member state); we currently witness a Dutch operator who has been convicted in an English court of law for causing animal suffering during transport, carrying / exporting live animals between Kent (English) ports and the French port of Calais. I ask, where is the ‘animal protection’ that you talk about here when a Dutch convicted criminal is transporting live animals across your EU ? – as a convicted criminal, he should be banned and you should face up to the facts that EU citizens require a lot more action from you now on the issue of live animal transport. These requirements include:
- A one off maximum journey time of 8 hours for all animals in transport; regardless of them going for immediate slaughter or for further fattening.
- A Major overhaul or complete re-vamp of the Regulation 1/2005 which as shown by undercover investigators; actually does very little, or even nothing, to give any ‘protection’ to animals being transported across the EU.
- Much better and much more detailed animal transport driver training prior to them being given their sheet of paper and being declared as ‘competent’ to deal with animals being transported.
You talk on your website of “Under this Commission mandate, we are preparing important groundwork for a general animal welfare law. I am confident that we have paved the way for key achievements in the years to come”.
The people of the EU do not want to be lied to in the form of so- called future ‘animal protection legislation’ such as Regulation 1/2005, if it just means basic tinkering round the edges; they want major welfare changes for animals in transport and they want them now. As the Commissioner responsible, it is down to you to immediately address the EU citizens concerns and implement positive actions for animal welfare improvements immediately; such as for example, stopping Dutch criminals from exporting live animals from the UK to mainland Europe. This, combined with introducing an 8 hour maximum journey time limit would be a good start to actually show you really mean action rather than just talking the talk of better animal welfare.
I thank you for your time and consideration of my requests; and I will be watching you and the actions oof your Commission very closely to see just how much progress you actually make in ‘paving the way for (animal welfare) achievements in the years to come. Please don’t make it years; do it now !!
The 8 hour maximum journey time along with banning the operations of Dutch criminals would be two first good actions you should be taking down your path to better animal welfare – I really want to see both of these undertakings implemented very, very soon; not in distant years to come.
From A supporter of ‘Serbian Animals Voice – Kent, England UK (Existing EU Member State).