EU Parliament accused of 'failing' calves that are left 'crying on ferries' during live exports with vote

Image: Ethical Farming Ireland
Image: Ethical Farming Ireland

Campaigners have told GB News the EU Parliament has 'failed' the EU public and animals following the verdict.

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*** WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES ***

Animal welfare groups suffered a setback in their attempts to bring an end to live animal exports, as the EU voted to reject proposals put forward by a Parliamentary sub-group.

The proposals, recommended by the European Commission’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT), would have had a significant impact on Irish farmers' ability to transport live animals to the EU.

Irish farmers have criticised the proposals, saying they would result in unintended welfare issues and a fall in prices paid by factories in Ireland.

Animal welfare groups have hit out at MEPs over the decision, saying animals often suffer from dehydration, exhaustion, hunger, stress, sickness and physical abuse when they arrive at the control posts in Cherbourg, France.

The proposals would have seen the end to exports of animals aged under 35 days and pregnant animals in their final trimester.

Nicola Glen from Eyes on Animals exclusively spoke to GB News about the vote made in EU Parliament.

She said: "The EU Parliament has failed both the EU public and the animals, by voting to continue the cruel transports of farm animals, including vulnerable unweaned and pregnant animals throughout the EU and beyond.

"This result is regression, not progression.

The result of yesterdays vote will do very little, if anything to protect either unweaned or pregnant animals during long journeys".

Animal welfare groups Eyes on Animals, Ethical Farming Ireland and L214 claim the practice has resulted in EU law regularly being breached.

Ms Glen continued: "The EU will continue to turn a blind eye to all of this, whilst ferry companies such as Stena, involved in this vile trade continue to support it, claiming they are doing all they can to improve conditions for the animals, when in reality they too turn a blind eye.

Image: Ethical Farming Ireland
Image: Ethical Farming Ireland

They should all be ashamed of their actions and their lack of moral compass.

"Confused Calves, that are ripped from their mothers, bawling in the trucks weak from dehydration and starvation, as they are left without any form of fluid or feed for 24 plus hours, who are then kicked and beaten at the control posts, supposedly safe places where they should be fed and rested".

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that the results on the ANIT Recommendations were a decisive victory for common sense.

“Both compromises that I proposed on the issues of pregnant and unweaned animals were carried by the Parliament this morning, and a very concerning amendment attempting to limit journey times to eight hours was also defeated.

“Today, common sense prevailed. From the very outset, I set out clearly that it is possible to have high animal transport standards and allow the continuation of ordinary farm life across Europe.

Image: Ethical Farming Ireland
Image: Ethical Farming Ireland

“MEPs from across all political groupings realised that taking an extremist view on this issue would not make good policy.

“Over the last number of weeks, I have worked hard to bring MEPs with me on this issue, by appealing to reason and to logic, and to the idea that rural communities and farm families must be supported.

“I do hope now that when the Commission makes its proposal for a new regulation, it will take into account the very clear view of the parliament that we can be ambitious and yet realistic,” concluded Kelleher.

The amendments made by Kelleher, that were accepted by the EU, much to the dismay of animal rights groups, include an "increase on the age of calves being transported from 14 days to 28 days, and increased protections for end of career animals and a four-hour maximum journey time for pregnant animals in the last trimester of their pregnancy"

The Stena Line, who have been accused by animal rights groups of facilitating contraventions in EU law, but have repeatedly denied the claims, have spoken to GB News about the outcome.

"We welcome this decision, it is something that we have asked for previously and it is the right decision".

Image: Ethical Farming Ireland
Image: Ethical Farming Ireland

The group added in a statement: "The wellbeing of all livestock during transportation is a key priority for the Company and this, as well as other welfare improvements, is something that we have previously been actively engaged in lobbying for".

In response to allegations made by animal rights groups, Stena previously spoke to GB News.

They said: "We only work with licensed hauliers, and we're a licensed transporter, we allow vets on board to monitor the animals in transportation and if there is any mistreatment we would report them and act quickly".