Every year millions of animals are transported in unacceptable conditions over long distances across Europe. The most important issue affecting their welfare is the length of the journeys.
Current legislation which allows animals to be transported for several days must be changed. Live animals should never be transported for slaughter or fattening for slaughter for more than eight hours.
In Europe around six million farmed animals, including calves, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses are transported each year. They are forced to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles, often from country to country, by road, rail, sea or air. The law currently allows journeys to last up to several days.
Long distance transport can cause terrible suffering. Cramming animals onto overcrowded vehicles can cause injuries or animals getting trampled to death. Many animals die as a result of exhaustion and dehydration due to extreme temperatures, insufficient food, water or rest. Because animals are sentient beings they feel pain and stress just like we do and the greater the distance, the greater the suffering. In addition to routine suffering, things can also go wrong with disastrous consequences for the animals.
Moving live animals long distances to markets and slaughterhouses can also spread infectious diseases between animals. As animals are transported from country to country, with few medical checks, diseases such as foot and mouth disease and bluetongue can spread over great distances at an alarming rate.
In 2002, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare concluded that animal journeys, as a ground rule, should be as short as possible. This recommendation is, however, not reflected in the current EU legislation.
For a long time, animal welfare organisations, concerned citizens and politicians have argued that something has to be done. It is widely accepted that animals should be fattened and slaughtered as near as possible to home and that the transportation of live animals should be replaced by a trade in meat. Animals for slaughter should never be transported for more than eight hours to their final destination.
The EU Transport Regulation is to be reviewed shortly. A million signature petition could help bring an end to the long journeys which criss-cross Europe and cause so much suffering.
How we will achieve it
OneKind is supporting 8Hours, an EU-wide campaign to bring an end to the long distance transportation of farmed animals. Working with other animal welfare organisations across Europe, the campaign is collecting 1,000,000 signatures calling for 8 hour maximum journeys.
This united strength of support is something EU politicians will not be able to ignore.
David Martin, Scotland’s senior European MP is OneKind’s vice-President. He is supporting our 8Hours campaign: “I am more than happy to support, sign and encourage all Scots and Europeans to sign this petition calling for an 8 hour journey limit for farmed animals to slaughter. Wouldn’t it be a great testament to the common humanity of the citizens of the European Union if we achieved an 8 hour limit on travel of farmed animals to slaughter through people power? Please sign up, it’s as easy as pressing a button but would be of tremendous benefit to our fellow creatures”. David is Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Animal Welfare.
How you can help
Support our united 8Hours campaign by adding your name. We already have thousands of signatures, we need many thousands more if we are to reach our goal of one million people. Take action now: Together we can make a difference.