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Encouraging Discussions with the European Commission

ILPH representatives, Jo White, Campaigns Manager and Keith Meldrum, Adviser on European Affairs have recently returned from very positive discussions with EC representatives in Brussels.

The meeting, kindly hosted and arranged by East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer, was attended by Martin Territt of Commissioner Byrne's cabinet and Andrea Gavinelli, author of the report on the Review of Live Animal Transportation, on which new EU legislation will be based.

The aims of the meeting were to discuss the progress of the Commission's proposal to update the current Animal Transportation Directive, to highlight ILPH concerns and to present new recommendations for welfare improvements. ILPH emphasis is on:

" individual partitioning;
" the duration of journeys;
" 24 hour rest on entry into the EU.

"One of the most positive aspects to come out of the meeting," comments Jo White, "is the news that the Commission is committed to single stalls/partitions as part of better quality travelling conditions for equines. This will be a significant welfare measure that should help to reduce the injuries suffered by equines in transport."

Although the Commission is against the 8 hour journey limit, the issue of journey times is key to the new Directive, and a reduction from the current maximum of 24 hours looks likely.

Of serious concern to the ILPH are the distances travelled by equines before entering the EU as many of them may have travelled for days from their point of origin. The ILPH wants to see the implementation of a compulsory 24 hour off-vehicle rest period on entry to the EU. It is not the first time that they have put this recommendation to the Commission, but on this occasion their response was encouraging.

Martin Territt said that a 24-hour rest period for slaughter horses entering the EU is still very much on the table, and that the EC is sympathetic to the case for better conditions during the journey and for meaningful rest periods. They want to improve the standards at watering and feeding stations, establish improved bio-security, as well as developing staff training and journey plans.

Anybody wishing to find out more on how they can help the ILPH with its work on slaughter horse transportation should phone 0870 366 6928 or write to ILPH, Anne Colvin House, Snetterton, Norfolk, NR16 2LR asking for a Transportation Information Pack.

ILPH Recommendations for the Transportation of Equines

Early in 2002, the ILPH drew up 10 recommendations for inclusion in any amended legislation for horses intended for slaughter. These points relate to the main problems we have seen with the slaughter horse trade following many years of research and campaigning, and are as follows:

1. Decreased journey times/decrease time on the vehicle to 18 hours. This will consist of eight hours travel, followed by two hours for feeding and watering, then a further eight hours before the end of that journey after which time the horses should be unloaded and rested for at least 24 hours A veterinary certificate would be required at the start of a new journey, stating the equines are fit to travel.
2. Compulsory 24-hour rest on entry to the EU.
3. Individual partitions, so that horses travel separately.
4. Improved vehicle construction to permit adequate provision of feed and water and temperature control.
5. Thorough training of transporters and staff involved in handling equines being transported, in order to minimise distress.
6. Detailed journey plans for the entire journey, prior to entering the EU and on entering the EU.
7. Thorough veterinary inspection at or before the start of a new journey.
8. Third countries to adopt and enforce EU legislation.
9. Compliance with the directive in its entirety by each EU member country.
10. Assistance for setting up abattoirs in source countries. To encourage a move to a carcass only trade.


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