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REPORT: EU’s live export trade puts welfare of millions of animals at risk

The European Union exports around 1 million cattle and 2 million sheep each year, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. In the summer, many suffer and die of over-heating.

SOPHIE KEVANY: The welfare of millions of cattle, sheep and goats exported from the EU is being put at risk by failings including heat stress, bad planning and a lack of information from the destination country, a new European commission report has found. Among the systemic problems identified were poor planning for high temperatures, an issue that has been raised repeatedly by campaigners. In summer, the report said, animals “in many vehicles arriving to ports” must sometimes “endure temperatures of over 35C”… The report criticised the way that, as one campaigner put it, animals “disappear’” at their destination…

The EU’s live animal export welfare failings are laid out in the Welfare of Animals Transported by Sea report, circulated this week and based on information gathered by the commission from EU countries including Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Portugal and Ireland in 2017 and 2018.
The European Union exports around 1 million cattle and 2 million sheep each year to non-EU countries, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2019, the value of the EU’s live animal export trade was more than €12bn (£10.6bn)…

Peter Stevenson, policy adviser for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) , said: “The new report reveals a disturbing picture of non-compliance by member state authorities and exporters.” Romania, a major breeder and exporter of sheep, comes in for particular criticism following the drowning of more than 14,000 sheep last November. The sheep were on board Romanian-approved livestock ship, the Queen Hind, which keeled over shortly after leaving the Romanian port of Midia. Only 180 sheep survived.

The report identified gaps in animal welfare regulations, which, it said, “are not geared to detect issues that could cause vessels to tilt and overturn”… The report found that ships are also rife with problems, with only 24% of livestock vessels licensed by “white list” countries. Ships that fly the flag of a white list countries are recognised as having a consistently low rate of port detentions for regulatory failings. SOURCE…

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