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EU Animal Transport Proposals Withdrawn for Now

by 5m Editor
17 September 2009, at 9:25am

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland (NFUS) has welcomed the news that proposals to introduce controversial new animal transport laws have been withdrawn from internal European Commission consultation.

Just last week, NFUS expressed its huge concerns at the impractical and costly proposals as revealed in a leaked Commission document seen by the Union. The document had been going through ‘inter-service’ consultation, whereby all relevant European Commission directorates are given the opportunity to comment on a consultation prior to its official publication. This process has now been suspended with no date for it to begin again.

NFUS has consistently argued that animal transport already operates to the highest standards in the UK. However, poor enforcement of the existing laws is more common on the Continent. The now-withdrawn proposals to further restrict the movement of animals would have done nothing to address that lack of enforcement and the existing welfare problems but, perversely, would have penalised those countries like the UK operating to high standards.

Whilst welcoming this news, NFUS has stressed that such proposals are likely to emerge again in future so the push for a common sense, factual debate on animal transport must continue.

NFUS Livestock chairman, Rob Livesey, said: "We believe that such was the opposition against these plans, that they were thankfully dropped before they even saw the light of day. Solving a problem of poor enforcement by increased red tape is a seriously flawed approach to regulation.

"The proposals threatened to seriously undermine the livestock industry in Scotland for no defined animal welfare benefit. We have said, year after year, that any welfare abuses related to transport should be clamped down on by the existing rules being enforced properly, as they are here. However, the latest Commission proposals would have failed to address this fundamental issue and would have done nothing to address problems where they exist. At worst, they would have hit hard the very industries that are operating the highest standards.

"We’re already facing sheep identification regulations from the Commission’s Health and Consumer Protection department which defy common sense. I am just glad that the same department has been forced to withdraw these proposals. However, we are not complacent enough to think that these won’t return in some form in future, so our dialogue with the Commission and politicians both here and at home on this issue must continue."