European Commission’s proposal on animal transport: Euro Foie Gras denounces the negative impact for the sustainability of the sector

Following the publication of its legislative proposal on the protection of animals during transport last December, the European Commission launched a public consultation. The aim was to gather feedback on this proposal in order to feed into the legislative debate between the European Parliament and the Council. Euro Foie Gras contributed with its key messages to this consultation.

Euro Foie Gras recalls that since its creation in 2008, the Federation has been committed to an approach of progress and constant improvement in farming, slaughter, and transportation practices, based on the latest scientific data. However, the Federation is concerned about the negative consequences that the legislative proposal on animal transport, as it stands, will have on the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the fat palmipeds sector (ducks and geese).

The absence of a sector-specific impact assessment is a major concern for the Federation. Indeed, any legislative development must be supported by a robust impact assessment, developed in consultation with professionals in the sector. Unfortunately, the current proposal imposes new obligations without such prior analysis. Furthermore, many of the provisions are unsuitable for the fat palmipeds sector for technical, environmental, social or health reasons, and are inconsistent with the objectives of the proposal.

Regarding transport duration, the Federation believes that the loading and unloading time should not be included in the maximum transport duration, as this measure could compromise animal welfare by encouraging faster loading/unloading operations and is incompatible with geographical realities. In addition, Euro Foie Gras considers that it is unrealistic to require veterinarian supervision for every loading and unloading of all species, given the current shortage of professionals and the financial impact it would entail.

The current stocking densities for transporting ducks and geese are adapted to their morphology and behavior, thus minimising the risks of injuries during transport caused by the movement of the vehicle. Any increase in the space allowances would increase these risks (broken wings/legs, scratches, etc.) and have negative economic, social, environmental, and road safety consequences. Furthermore, Euro Foie Gras stresses that animals being transported must be kept fasted. This is necessary for health and hygiene reasons.

Regarding digitalisation and new indicators, Euro Foie Gras warns against the practical challenges and additional administrative burden it entails. Uneven internet coverage in rural areas and the associated costs of collecting and recording additional data should not be underestimated.

Regarding the transition periods, we consider that they should only be established at the end of the legislative process, once the consequences of the decisions taken have been analysed. At this stage, it is not possible to envisage a transition to the new proposed requirements.