SP calls for maximum journey times for animal transports

1 August 2007

SP calls for maximum journey times for animal transports

The government must forcefully put the case to other EU member states for maximum journey times for international animal transports, argues SP Member of Parliament and animal welfare spokeswoman Krista van Velzen. Van Velzen is also calling for existing rules to be more vigorously enforced. The animal welfare group "Varkens in Nood" (Pigs in Distress) has used the most terrible pictures to demonstrate that these rules are being widely flouted.

Krista van VelzenOn transports from the Netherlands to Spain and Italy pigs are given no water or food, while the temperature in the trucks can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 F), conditions which result in numerous deaths en route. “It is to start with quite bizarre that animals are transported over such long distances, but if you're going to allow it then the rules must be properly enforced," says Van Velzen. "It is unacceptable that the drive to produce meat as cheaply as possible should be so much at the expense of the animals' welfare.”

Animal transportVan Velzen asked Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg in April for her comments regarding the flouting of rules on international animal transports. One example, involving the transport of Dutch cattle to Latvia, was dismissed by Verburg as having been an isolated incident, yet it has since become clear that in the same period 192 pigs died during a single transport from the Netherlands to Italy. “It's not at all clear why the minister did not inform parliament about this," said Van Velzen. "Such abuses show that enforcement must be greatly improved and international transports placed under stricter control. The minister should be sticking her neck out and demanding these changes at European level."

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