With the South Africans heading to Court and Australians imposing a ME summer moratorium (of sorts!), the EU Parliament has now approved the setting up of a Committee of Inquiry on live animal transport by land and sea, with 605 out of 689 members of parliament in favour.
The Parliament notes that the EU Commission has regularly been informed of systematic and severe animal welfare violations relating to handling, feed and water, bedding, ventilation, transport of unfit animals, etc.
One of the welfare issues is heat stress, and the concerns are much the same as those that are curtailing live exports from Australia and South Africa. As an EU report released in April this year notes: “In southern EU ports, the temperature frequently reaches and surpasses 30°C during the summer. Frequently, the authorities at departure do not take this into account when allowing the journeys to take place. In many vehicles arriving to ports during the summer, animals endure temperatures over 35°C.”
The EU report also states: “Currently, neither the Member States nor the Commission have information or statistics on the health and welfare state of the animals during sea journeys.”
That ignorance is global. Australia's Department of Agriculture has tried to whitewash the industry here, but whistleblowers continue to bring the truth to light. VALE, for its part, has worked tirelessly to obtain information through FOI requests, and analysing any little crumbs that the Dept does make available.
The live export industry is under the spotlight like never before, and its future, like the truth about its animal welfare record, is grim.