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Transport, Slaughter, Pick-up

Review: Livestock transport of animals in a consumer society geared towards efficiency: efficiency, animal welfare or both?

By February 5th 2024February 14th, 2024No Comments

Document type: scientific journal published in Animal

Author: Barbara Felde


Preview: The industrialisation and mechanisation of many work steps in the production of economic goods, which have ever been advancing in recent decades, do not stop at animal farming. In ever-increasing numbers, in ever shorter periods of time and with less and less human labour, animals are being "produced" in order to then be exported to other countries as animals for slaughter, as animals for breeding or as "surplus" animals - or to be processed into animal products. This is owed to an increasingly efficient way of work at different levels of production, which, however, leaves behind and disregards - sometimes at the highest level - the interests of the animals and of animal welfare, which are high-ranking values in the European Union (EU). These values are neglected, although there are special legal provisions, according to which animals submitted to animal farming must be protected and whose interests in integrity and welfare must be considered. In Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU recognises animals as sentient beings. According to this provision, the EU takes full account of the requirements of animal welfare. The Member States also commit themselves to the same through the TFEU. From the so-called "cross-section clause" of Article 13 TFEU, among other things, the possibility is derived, to justify trade restrictions with the realisation of animal welfare. This must be considered in the context of Art. 36 TFEU, which also explicitly permits (expressly allows for) such trade restrictions. However, in practice, the effects of the most efficient procedures with regard to the transportation of animals in large parts are not in line with the animal protection law of the European Union. The overriding principle of "effet-utile" ("useful effect"), which overrides Union law and the Union law's precedence over the law of the Member States, is also not considered in the interpretation and application of the Union's animal welfare law. The production of economic goods - from the point of view of the economic participants themselves - should run as efficiently as possible. However, important requirements of the Union's animal welfare law and the important principle of "effet-utile" are often forgotten or even deliberately ignored. The "effet-utile" principle also prescribes efficiency - the efficient and effective interpretation of the Union law, which seeks to protect high-priority values of the European Union, i.e. the life and well-being of animals. In the course of the current revision of the Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005, which regulates the transport of animals within and out of the European Union, the EU could take the principle of effectiveness into account and accordingly make some changes to important and partly unclear and circumventable regulations, and thus lead to effective and efficient animal welfare regulations after 15 years of Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005.

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