EU tightens transport laws

EU FARM ministers have agreed new welfare rules designed to improve the conditions for animals making long journeys.

Among the main changes is the introduction of satellite navigation systems for new lorries from 2007, and for all lorries from 2009, to help authorities monitor individual journeys.

Drivers involved in live animal haulage will also have to have proper training and hold certificates of competence.

New restrictions are also being introduced to protect young animals.

Calves less than 10-days old, lambs less than one week and pigs less than three weeks will be banned from making journeys of over 100km, as will heavily pregnant dams.

But the most controversial issues of journey times and stocking rates have been left unchanged in the new regulation.

Instead, the EU Commission has been asked to come up with a review of the new controls within four years of the law coming into force.

This could include proposals to tighten up on journey times and stocking rates.

Farm council president Cees Veerman said the compromise package, which was only opposed by Denmark would deliver higher standards and better enforcement.

New EU food safety commissioner Markos Kyprianou, on his first day in his new job, said the commission had wanted to achieve more.

But the new regulation was “a significant shift towards treating animals in a more dignified manner”.

He hoped to come up with a review and new proposals on journey times and stocking rates well within the four years specified.

The new regulation also seeks to upgrade ventilation, watering and temperature controls on lorries, and introduces stricter penalties for welfare infringements.