Weekly Overview: New Ruling Set to Improve Welfare for Europe's Pigs

GLOBAL - EU welfare rules should apply even when the animals are transported out of the region, a court in Luxembourg said last week, as Germany announced it would prioritise animal welfare and the Danes are set to hold an international conference on the topic this week. There are also updates on African swine fever in eastern European wild boar and porcine epidemic diarrhoea in the US.
calendar icon 27 April 2015
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European Union laws on the welfare of pigs and other livestock during transportation should also apply when they are exported to third-countries, the European Court of Justice ruled last week.

Protection for animals under EU law should not stop at its outer borders, according to the Court. The requirements relating to watering and feeding intervals and duration of journeys and resting periods also apply to those stages of the transport taking place outside the EU.

Under Community treaties, Member States are required to pay full regard to animal welfare requirements within the borders of the EU.

After a court in Bavaria, Germany, raised the issue, the Court of Justice ruled that the same rules should apply, in the case of transport between Member States and third countries, to those stages of the journey taking place outside the EU.

So for a long journey for horses, cattle, pigs, sheep or goats to be authorised, the organiser of that journey must submit a realistic journey log indicating that the provisions of the regulation will be complied with, including for the stages of the journey taking place outside the EU. If the journey log does not satisfy the requirements, the authority is now empowered to require changes to those arrangements.

Also in the last week, it was reported that the federal agriculture department has launched a new initiative to make animal welfare a high priority in Germany.

This week, the Danish Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries will be holding an international conference on pig welfare.

Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Latvia have all reported new cases of African swine fever in the last week – all in wild boar.

In the US, the number of new positive results for porcine epidemic diarrhoea continues to fall, following the seasonal pattern.

However, the first PED-positive result has been found in the state of Maryland, according to the most recent weekly report, and a senior official in the American Association of Swine Veterinarians has said the eradication of the disease on a national scale is still a long way off.

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