After the publication of the European Commission's report on the Council Regulation on the protection of animals during transport, in november 2011, the European Parliament now prepares to have its say, too.
The Parliament's report argues that the Commission does not yet dispose of sufficient capacities to ensure the member states' correct implementation of the Regulation on the protection of animals during transport. The report also suggests that the costs of better animal welfare should be assessed in a more holistic approach, and that all members of the value chain should contribute to financing these costs. Moreover, the report prepared by the Parliament advocates a stronger focus on local animal processing (which would reduce animal transports) and reducing the maximum allowed duration for animal transports to 8 hours. This idea also reflects a citizen's initiative (dating from the time before the new rules for citizen's initiatives), which had been in favor of limiting the duration of animal transports.
The Parliament's commission on agriculture is expected to vote on this report by July 2012, and the Parliament's plenary session in September 2012. The rapporteur in charge of the report is Janusz Wojciechowski (European Conservatives and Reformists, Poland).
Once again, the European institutions will have to show that they are capable of living up to their (rather new found) explicit principle, according to which European animal welfare protection must not lead to any distorsion of competition. As the Commission itself pointed out: "The competitiveness of EU producers is one of the key objectives of the Commission's policy on animal welfare. There is no point in improving EU welfare standards if it has the effect of increasing imports from third countries with lower standards".