Quarter of the European Parli­ament signs request for parli­a­mentary inquiry into animal transport abuses

26 February 2020

The Dutch Party for the Animals has gathered enough support in the European Parliament to submit a request for the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry into abuses in animal transport.

MEP Anja Hazekamp with her colleagues in the European Parliament.

183 MEPs - more than a quarter of the European Parliament - support the request from the Party for the Animals. Last week Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp formally submitted the request, together with co-initiators of all political groups in the European Parliament. The Party for the Animals wants the European Parliament to vote in March on setting up the committee of inquiry.

Initiator Anja Hazekamp says a parliamentary inquiry into animal transports is absolutely necessary. "Every day, almost 4 million animals are transported through Europe. A lot goes wrong during those transports. Animals are exposed to extreme temperatures, transports take too long, and water and food are not accessible to all animals. Abuse and lack of space are the order of the day. The current European animal transport rules have been in existence for fifteen years, but animals are still not properly protected."

European committees of inquiry are authorized to call witnesses and experts and to request documents from national and European public services. EU countries that refuse cooperation risk an infringement procedure. Parliamentary surveys are not common in Brussels. They can be used in the event of "contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law". In the past, the European Parliament used committees of inquiry for investigations into the Panama Papers (2016), Dieselgate (2015), and the BSE crisis (1996).

Hazekamp refers to various reports from social organizations in which abuses are revealed. In the summer of 2018, the MEP herself traveled to ports in Croatia and Slovenia to check on animal transport. "How animals were handled there is repulsive. There is structural violation of the rules", Hazekamp emphasizes.

A majority of the European Parliament already expressed its support last year for a proposal from the Party for the Animals to set up the committee of inquiry into animal transport at the start of the current parliamentary term. If the renewed parliament and a majority of the group chairmen - also known as the Conference of Presidents - give their support, the committee of inquiry will be created.

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