Measures to improve the welfare of millions of horses and donkeys across the EU have been approved today by the European Parliament.
The proposals from Julie Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, were passed by a large majority and cover animals used in a broad range of activities, from farming to tourism. They include:
* A shorter maximum journey time for all movements of horses for slaughter;
* A commitment by Member States to inspect slaughterhouses licenced to handle horses;
* The launch of a pilot project under which funding would be targeted at farms committed to good welfare practices.
* The dissemination of information to tourists to help them decide whether to use services involving working horses and donkeys;
* New guidance on donkey and horse milk farming and increased inspections of farms.
* Production and circulation by the European Commission of information on how to care for horses and donkeys, including responsible breeding and end of life care.
* Review of the impact of VAT on equestrian enterprises.
The report will now be passed to the European Commission with a recommendation for action.
Mrs Girling said: “Horses and donkeys have come to possess vast economic potential. Today the equine sector adds over €100 billion to the EU’s economy each year and is a leading rural employer in many Member States.
“However, in too many cases these animals are faced with severe welfare concerns including neglect, overwork and inappropriate living conditions.
“Europe’s citizens want to see more action on animal welfare and, with this report, I believe we have a golden opportunity to not only substantially improve the lives of 7 million horses and donkeys but, by better caring for these animals, we also have a chance to unlock the full economic potential of the sector and boost the rural economy.
“It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Note for Editors
Background on the Proposal can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A8-2017-0014&language=EN