The EU rules, which have been in force for around 20 years, do not provide for a general time limit for transporting animals for slaughter, which animal rights activists regularly denounce. For certain animal species, a 24-hour rest period at a checkpoint is only required after 24 to 29 hours of transport.

For animals that are not slaughtered, the maximum transport time will now be 21 hours, with a minimum one-hour rest break after 10 hours. Before possible continuation of the transport, the animals must be able to rest outside the vehicle for 24 hours and be fed and watered during this time. The reform also provides for a minimum space in the transporter depending on the animal species.

In addition, Brussels also wants to create Europe-wide minimum rules for the trade in cats and dogs. Six out of ten owners now buy their animals online. This makes it harder to control the origin and state of health, emphasized the EU Commission. Microchips, which can be inserted into animals painlessly, are intended to help.

There are more than 72 million dogs and more than 83 million cats in the EU. Özdemir called the initiative gratifying. “I hope this will result in greater animal protection in breeding and a reduction in the illegal trade in pets in the EU,” he explained.

On the other hand, it was “regrettable that the Commission, contrary to its promise, did not present any proposals for more animal protection in keeping and slaughtering,” emphasized Özdemir. “Better European minimum standards would have provided an important framework here.” The plans still require the approval of the member states and the European Parliament.