19 April 2000
‘EU livestock welfare laws flouted’

CURRENT European laws to protect livestock transported across the Continent are being routinely flouted, claims an animal welfare group.

Compassion in World Farming launched a new film on Wednesday (19 April) which it says proves current laws are failing to protect animals.

Once animals cross the Channel from Britain and are unloaded, responsibility for their welfare passes to other haulage companies and the individual countries they pass through.

Peter Stevenson, director of CIWF, says it is not just his organisation which is claiming the law is being ignored.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme that European Commission reports show widespread breaches of the directive in Italy, France, Greece and Belgium.

“We shouldnt be sending animals to the Continent when in many cases we know the animals suffer terribly,” claimed Mr Stevenson.

“I believe the government should step in and ban the trade before even more animals suffer.”

Most live exports from the UK are run by Farmers Ferry, which exports sheep and lambs across the Channel.

Mike Gooding from Farmers Ferry told Farming Today that he did not believe stopping the trade would end breaches of welfare laws on the Continent.

“It doesnt really matter where the animals come from; abuses of animal welfare should just not happen and we should all be working to make sure that they dont.”

Mr Gooding said current laws on transport were too ambiguous and different member states chose to interpret them differently.

He said there would be a far greater degree of control if UK authorities had responsibility for the total journey from beginning to end.