Animals at the slaughterhouse: beginning of the journey towards more "human" transport
Article written by the lawyer. Rita Sivori
The legislation still appears inadequate Thousands of animals are subjected to vile practices in transportation every year implemented from the places of breeding to those of slaughter.
The analysis of the abuses perpetrated and the requests raised in this regard led to the emergence of the need for stronger legal regulation. In summary, the issues highlighted concern the exhausting distances faced in difficult weather and road conditions and the resulting repercussions on health, as well as on the quality of the final product.
Cases of movements without concession of stops, food or water have been ascertained, in open violation of current legislation.
But there is more, economic reasons, frequently involve the transfer of a number of specimens (horses, calves, pigs, sheep, lambs, etc.) exceeding the capacity of the vehicle used.
And so, the crowded animals risk being trampled, with consequent fractures of limbs or pelvis. Upon their arrival at their destination, they are often hooked to the points where the injury occurred and dragged out.
The intensity of the stress and fear faced led, at times, to death before the end of the journey
The legislator has approached the problem through attempts to alleviate suffering.
The photos and videos released over the years have been fundamental to refute what, even today, some operators in the sector try to defend to safeguard the interests linked to this activity.
The collected documentation it was also cited by community veterinarians, within the reports on the investigations carried out, and confirmed the prevailing illegality in which, usually, the transport takes place.
From this arose the need to regulate the problem in an incisive way with specific forecasts for each topic involved.
In the European context, it was desired, by means of the regulation entered into force on January 5, 2007, definitively clarify which animals are deemed suitable for transport, which are the means to be used and which checks must be carried out by the police.
Specifically, it was envisaged that the vehicles engaged must be equipped for ventilation, watering, feeding and temperature regulation and limits to the load density have been identified.
With a view to respecting the different conditions and needs, the movement of very young specimens for distances greater than 100 km and of females in the last week of pregnancy or that we have given birth less than a week has also been prohibited.
The legislation deals with indicating, in detail, the managers through the classification of the various phases of the path and the distinction of the sectors of competence.
Training is provided for drivers and accompanying persons, with the need to issue a specific certificate of suitability for the care of animals, as well as the identification of checkpoints along the routes.
It follows that no one can be deemed authorized, on the basis of the provisions of the regulation, to transport or have animals transported in conditions such as to expose them to unnecessary injury or suffering.
In Italy, the matter has been addressed since Legislative Decree 151/2007, which has taken up the criteria indicated within the Community provisions, providing for specific penalties for each ascertained violation, the application of which is entrusted, for national transport, to the Regions and autonomous Provinces.
Within the same decree, there is an obligation to notify the veterinary services of the AUSL that have issued the transport authorization or the certificate of suitability of the driver or vehicle approval so that they can provide for the adoption of any ancillary sanctions.
The outlined legislation, despite having established fundamental rules and specific limits for carrying out the activity, is still inadequate.
Episodes similar to those described continue to occur in defiance of what was established by the legislator.
Waiting for people to become aware of the phenomenon and that the transport of live animals over long distances is definitively prohibited, using, in its stead, the existing alternative means (for example, the transport of refrigerated meat and, therefore, the slaughter of animals in the vicinity of the breeding sites), At the moment, it seems appropriate to hope that incisive interventions will be prepared, aimed at enforcing the rules in force, at least mitigating the discomforts which, in any case, are inevitable.