Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Statement by Ms Tilly Metz (Greens, LU), Chair of EP‘s committee of Inquiry on the protection of animals during transport (ANIT), following the committee mission to Bulgaria.

A nine MEPs strong delegation visited Bulgaria on 20-22 September 2021 to discuss the implementation of current EU rules on protections of animals during transport and possible ways to improve it. They met with Deputy Ministers of Agriculture, officials and Bulgaria‘s veterinary experts, and visited Bulgaria-Turkey border crossing point at Kapitan Andreevo.

After the visit Ms Tilly Metz, Chair of ANIT, said: “As Chair of ANIT and head of the delegation which travelled to Bulgaria, I’m satisfied with the mission we were able to complete this week. It was interesting and fruitful mission, also thanks to the welcoming attitude and good cooperation on behalf the Bulgarian authorities. The delegation met and exchanged views with different stakeholders, including high dignitaries such as the vice-ministers for agriculture and food, but also veterinarians, and even drivers of livestock vehicles.

Kapitaan Andrevo, which the delegation reached on the second day of the mission, is one of the main gateways for the export of live animals to third countries via road. Every year, between 150.000 and 250.000 animals leave the European Union by crossing the Bulgarian border with Turkey and travelling further East. The delegation was surprised to hear about a slight decrease in the numbers of animals passing through in recent years, which could be linked to an increase of export via sea in other European locations.

Despite efforts of local authorities, it is unfortunately clear, also thanks to the relentless work of animal welfare NGOs on the ground, that breaches of Regulation 2001/05 are common for journeys passing through Kapitaan Andrevo. Transport durations are often too long, animals too young to travel safely, with a lack of adequate water or food supply, and issues with heat stress, due to the high temperatures the region experiences during the summer months. The delegation was also informed that the available resting facilities are not systematically used.

The massive flux of live animals through the Bulgarian-Turkish border is an issue Bulgarian authorities cannot deal with alone, especially considering the fact that very few of the animals exported are actually from Bulgarian farms. This mission has helped us see clearer that Member States need to coordinate more and better on authorisations and controls of live animal transports and that the EU needs updated rules on the protection of these animals.“

Background

The Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport was set up in June 2020 to investigate alleged violations in the application of European Union law on the protection of animals during transport and related operations within and outside the EU, including by air, road, rail and sea. It focuses on the implementation of EU rules by member states and its correct enforcement by the EU Commission.

The draft report on the investigation of alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law and relevant recommendations are being already discussed in committee with a view to adopting them in December 2021.

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