Brussels, 15 March 2012: This morning the European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 49/2011 on the establishment of a maximum 8-hour journey limit for animals transported in the European Union for the purpose of being slaughtered.
378 (half of the total number of MEPs plus one) was the number required for the Written Declaration to become an official position of the Parliament, and this number was reached one day in advance.

Photo STOP Long Animal Transports

STOP Long Animal Transports (Photo: Bert Kottmair)

The document, which “calls on the Commission and the Council to review Regulation 1/2005 to establish a maximum 8-hour limit for the journeys of animals transported for the purpose of being slaughtered“, will now be transmitted to the European Commission and the governments of the Member States. It was promoted by five MEPs: Dan Jørgensen (S&D, Denmark), Esther de Lange (EPP, Netherlands), Pavel Poc (S&D, Czech Republic), Carl Schlyter (Greens, Sweden) and Andrea Zanoni (ALDE, Italy).

This document directly refers to over one million signatures registered on the website. This massive mobilisation of European citizens is calling for an end to long-distance journeys for animals sent for slaughter in the European Union.
The long duration of the journeys of animals destined for slaughter in the EU often causes them intense suffering, as has been consistently reported over the years by Animals’ Angels investigators. Current EU legislation makes it possible for animals to be transported for several days, even though it is scientifically proven and acknowledged by the Commission that the suffering of the animals increases with the duration of the journey.
“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 of Animals’ Angels. “But this is just a fundamental milestone in a campaign that will end only when long-distance journeys of animals sent for slaughter are banned in the EU. We have been documenting the suffering caused by animal transports around Europe over many years, and we have seen that all improvements of transport rules are insufficient if long-distance journeys continue to be allowed”.

“In reality what goes on today on the European roads is animal cruelty. This has to be stopped. 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 the demands of the European Parliament, which joins over one million citizens asking for long-distance live transports to stop” – 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 European parliament and to EU citizens why he insists on letting this cruelty go on”.
“We live in the 21st century in a society which we became used to calling a humane society. It is time to prove it” – said Czech MEP Pavel Poc, one of the promoters of Written Declaration 49/2011. “I am glad that the European Parliament took on the challenge by adopting this written declaration. An adopted declaration might still be far away from real actions and needed changes, but it is a significant message and I hope that all these initiatives will together create a strong enough pressure for the much needed policy change.”
Written Declaration 49/2011 and the collection of one million signatures from EU citizens are part of a larger campaign ( calling for a maximum overall 8-hour limit for journeys of animals sent for slaughter. The campaign is also supported by 126 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 19 member states and all political groups.

See a recent video of animals being transported from the EU to Turkey on YouTube.

See the text of Written Declaration 49/2011 on the European Parliament’s website