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European Livestock

Since 2000 Naturewatch has campaigned alongside other animal welfare groups to improve welfare standards for farm animals during transport across Europe.

Live export in Europe is a massive industry. All species of farm animals are subject to this cruel trade. Pigs, sheep, donkeys, cattle and horses are all transported from country to country often in inadequate lorries where the pressure on the drivers, to complete the journey in the shortest possible time, seriously compromises the welfare of these animals. Naturally, live export is high on the agenda of many welfare organisations throughout Europe. As there are many countries involved in the traffic of animals, in February 2000, Naturewatch hosted a conference in London to discuss the best way forward.

Naturewatch’s campaigns on the welfare of European Livestock have covered three main areas:

  • to see a total 8-hour journey time limit, as opposed to the 24-hours currently allowed by EU law
  • to improve the conditions of the animals in livestock markets
  • to develop awareness of animal welfare issues in Eastern Europe.

In 2011, Naturewatch temporarily revived its campaign to help reduce live export journey times to an eight-hour limit, in line with a commitment in the 2004 EU (Live Export) Regulation.

Since 2000, Naturewatch has worked alongside Animals’ Angels (German investigative group) to expose the cruel trade of live exports and to lobby for improved welfare standards. During this window of opportunity set by the EU Regulation, we joined forces once again to push for the eight-hour journey limit. Along with animal welfare groups across Europe, we invited supporters and visitors to our website to sign the ’8 HOURS’ petition.

On 11th January 2012 one million signatures against long-distance live animal transport reached EU. “This is a historic moment for all those who care about animals. The call of one million citizens cannot be easily ignored by the EU institutions” – said Christa Blanke, founder and Director of Animals’ Angels. “The European Commission has so far disregarded the demand for new rules for animal transports. But it will be difficult for the Commission to ignore one million citizens” – said Danish MEP Dan Jørgensen, and adds: “I have made the signal to the responsible commissioner for animal welfare, John Dalli, many times, that the rules for animal transports need to be changed. Unfortunately he does not see the need to respond properly to this call. But he is wrong, and he should act now. If not he will have to explain to the EU citizens why he insists on letting this cruelty go on”.

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