Tuesday, 1 July 2003


Compassion in World Farming Limited

Tel: +44 (0)1730 233 904

+44 (0) 7771 926 005

Fax: +44 (0) 1730 260 791



New Investigation Reveals Huge Scale EU Animal Transport Suffering

Calls for new Italian Presidency to encourage Agriculture Council to enact new Transport Directive

A new video investigation reveals that up to 2,000,000 animals a year experience tremendous suffering in the EU animal transport trade. Italy is at the centre of this trade being one of the biggest importers of cattle, horses, pigs and sheep from other Member States and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

To coincide with the start of the Italian Presidency, the video, produced by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), is launched in Brussels today by CIWF, GAIA and the European Coalition for Farm Animals (ECFA) with support from Eurogroup for Animal Welfare. At the same time protests will be taking place at Italian embassies and consulates around Europe.

The film will be launched at a Press Conference at 10.30 on Tuesday July 1st at the Passage Room, Risidence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels.

The whole of Europe is criss-crossed with long cruel journeys carrying many different animals; cattle are also exported to non-EU countries where they undergo appalling treatment.

Using undercover investigators from CIWF and Animals Angels, the video reveals:

7        British sheep being trucked for 35 hours to southern France.

7        Cattle exported from the EU to The Lebanon where they are slaughtered without pre-stunning.

7        Calves exhausted after travelling over 1000km from Poland to Italy.

7        Cattle sent from Irelands green fields to barren feedlots in Spain.

7        Horses collapsing from exhaustion and injury on the 90 hour journey from Eastern Europe to slaughter in Italy.

7        A bull forcefully crammed into a tiny box beneath the wheels of a truck.

7        Sheep from across Europe transported for over 80 hours to Greece in inhumane conditions.

To reduce suffering, animal welfare organisations are calling for a maximum limit of 8 hours to be placed on journeys to slaughter or for further fattening. Animals should be slaughtered near to the farm of rearing, with the meat then being transported to wherever it is wanted. Fattening should take place on, or near to, the farm of birth. 

Peter Stevenson, Political and Legal Director of CIWF, said This film exposes the complete failure of the present EU Transport Directive to give any real protection to animals in transit. We want Italy to use their Presidency to persuade the EU Agriculture Council to enact a new Transport Directive which places a maximum limit of 8 hours on journeys to slaughter or further fattening.

There have been frequent calls for a maximum journey limit of 8 hours.  In particular:

7        In November 2001 the European Parliament adopted the Maat report which calls for a maximum overall limit of 8 hours or 500 km. on journeys to slaughter or for further fattening.

7        In September 2002 at an Agriculture Council discussion, 9 of the EU Member States said they want an 8-hour limit.

7        In March 2002, a major report by the European Commissions Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) concluded that welfare tends to get worse as journey length increases and so journeys should be as short as possible.

-          ENDS 


7        A media briefing covering the major issues with the live transport of animals is available from the CIWF press office.

7        For betacam or VHS copies of the video, further information or photographs contact CIWF's press office on +44 (0)1730 233 904 or +44 (0) 7771 926 005 (mobile). Out of office hours call +44 (0) 7771 926 005.

7        The European Coalition for Farm Animals (ECFA) comprises 25 animal welfare organisations across the EU.