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Animal transport in the EU: animal welfare and economic viability

Transport zwierząt w UE: dobrostan zwierząt a opłacalność ekonomiczna

EU agriculture ministers sometimes have significantly different priorities when it comes to animal transport. While some department heads demanded much higher standards, member states at the EU's external borders insisted in particular on the protection of economic interests.

Citizens want more stringent standards

Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Luxembourg, among others, are calling for a more ambitious approach. It has been argued that European Union citizens want stricter animal welfare standards. German Secretary of State Silvia Bender said that, above all, better rules were needed for long-distance transport, both by car and by ship, especially when it comes to young animals.

Luxembourg has called for a ban on the export of slaughter animals from the EU. The country has doubts whether European standards can be enforced in third countries. Meanwhile, France has taken a position against restrictions on the export of live animals to third countries.

Transition periods and costs

The Czech Republic belongs to a group of countries that support less far-reaching rules and emphasize economic interests. Reference was made to the needs of farmers and their recent protests. Additionally, Bulgaria and Romania called for longer transition periods for the new rules.

Romania discussed the additional costs the country will incur as a result of much stricter regulations compared to previous requirements. Poland recalled the consequences for consumers and producers and wants to carefully weigh decisions and therefore calls for caution in relation to the speed of introducing changes.

Skepticism towards the current proposal also came from Spain. The proposals are particularly worrying for Member States located on the periphery or on islands. Ireland is even afraid of being cut off from the European internal market. Cyprus and Greece also emphasized their geographical specificity. In the case of Finland, the suggestion that the outside temperature for a nine-hour transport must be above minus five degrees was considered exaggerated.

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