Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has welcomed the results of a vote in the European Parliament on the future of animal welfare during transport. A majority of MEPs backed a report compiled by a Special Committee – which was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the rules – but rejected a number of measures put forward by the Greens which would have had serious implications for Irish farmers.
The Midlands-North-West MEP and substitute member of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport, said Parliament has taken a pragmatic approach:
“The measures proposed by the Greens would have effectively banned the transport of unweaned animals under 35 days and put a maximum journey time of two hours for unweaned animals over 35 days. This would have caused huge problems, particularly if farmers were forced to move calves to holding centres. I addressed my political group (EPP Group) on this issue numerous times in the lead up to the vote and I was glad we were able to table more sensible amendments, which were passed today. The group is the largest in Parliament and I was heartened that we could provide unity on this issue.
“I fully support measures to clamp down on those not obeying the rules and believe the use of technology will play a huge part in dealing with non-compliance. Some of the measures in the overall report will prove challenging but can be dealt with. Ireland’s track record on animal welfare during transport was widely praised during the Committee hearings and I believe farmers are willing to play their part in ensuring that those standards remain high”, he concluded.