Doc. 9743

18 March 2003




Draft revised Convention for the protection of animals during international transport – request by the Committee of Ministers for an opinion

Opinion

Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Rapporteur: Mr Bill Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC

Summary

In a letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman of the Ministers’ Deputies requested the Assembly’s opinion on a draft revised Convention for the protection of animals during international transport.

This draft opinion refers to both the above request and a previous motion for a recommendation on international transport of animals.

The Assembly has always been concerned about the issues of animal welfare and protection, its Recommendation 1289 (1996) having largely served as the driving force for the current revision of the Convention. The committee considers that the draft revision is particularly timely and fully endorses the draft revised Convention submitted for its opinion.

I.Draft opinion

1.       The Assembly welcomes and supports the draft revised Convention for the protection of animals during international transport. It recalls in this respect its Recommendation 1289 (1996) on animal welfare and livestock transport in Europe, which was the basis of the revision of the Convention.

2.       Convention ETS No. 65 on the protection of animals during international transport was the first international legal instrument laying down ethical principles in this field and represented a point of reference in European countries for the elaboration of relevant national and European legislation. Nevertheless, the improvement of the conditions for the international transport of livestock and of the mechanisms to assure the implementation of legislation, in line with the principles set out in the Convention and in the connected Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations, remained a matter of concern.

3.       The Assembly welcomes the timing of the draft revised Convention, as it allows the necessary updating of its provisions in the light of the experience acquired and the scientific results obtained since the opening for signature of the Convention. The efforts made to clarify and simplify its provisions in order to improve their readability are also welcomed, as this will facilitate their implementation. Particular interest and appreciation is expressed with regard to the political and technical value of the method adopted during the revision process, based on close collaboration with non-governmental organisations representing the different sectors concerned – veterinarians, transporters, animal protection associations, animal behaviour specialists, farmers, scientists, etc. – which is of paramount importance given the technical and scientific contents of the draft revised Convention.

4.       The Assembly considers the draft revised Convention to be well geared to the aims it is intended to achieve and a substantial step forward with respect to the Convention currently in force. The welfare of the animals is recognised as the fundamental issue which must be taken into account when transport has to take place and which must be considered from the planning of a journey to its conclusion, with particular regard to the reduction of the length of the journeys.

5.       The Assembly notes with interest that the revised Convention contains more precise definitions and clearly identifies the responsibility of people involved at all stages in the transport of animals. It also defines the responsibility of the Parties a) in the control and supervision of the application of the Convention, b) in the application of the provisions to transport within their own territory, c) in providing mutual assistance and information and d) in one of the most relevant new aspects of this Convention - ensuring an effective system of training.

6.       In this context, the Assembly attaches particular importance to ensuring that all member states which become Parties to the revised Convention would provide an effective system to monitor the implementation of the principles set out in the Convention.

7.       The Assembly also welcomes the close co-operation with the European Union in the elaboration process of the draft revised Convention, taking into account the relevant Community provisions, and with a view to the accession of the European Union to the revised Convention. It realises that the text adopted by the Multilateral Consultation of the Parties is the result of a delicate compromise, seeking to ensure that the revised Convention and the national and European legislation in the field are and remain compatible with each other. This is reflected in the definition of scope of application of the Convention, and in particular in the reference to “international” transport and to the exclusion of journeys of less than 50 km.

8.       The Assembly is aware of the evolution of the notion of international boundaries within Europe after the new enlargement of the European Union, and to this end expresses its wish that European Community law and international law continue to evolve together in this area. It recommends that in the implementation of the Convention at national level special attention is given to those provisions aiming to ensure the respect of its principles and provisions during internal transport (Article 3, paragraph 3) and to minimise the suffering of animals in cases where unforeseeable circumstances may prolong the length of a journey, including short-distance ones (Article 4, paragraph 5).

9.       The Assembly notes with interest the idea of laying down in the draft revised Convention the essential principles applying to all species and of providing it with technical protocols, which will contain all relevant figures for space allowance, maximum travelling times and intervals for feed, rest and water, which can be amended following a simplified procedure. The Assembly considers that this would increase the flexibility of the Convention, facilitating thereby its future updating in the light of scientific evidence and experience acquired.

10.       Nevertheless, the Assembly remains concerned that the omission of all technical details and figures in the core text of the Convention would make it difficult to monitor the implementation of its provisions. The Assembly therefore urges that the technical protocols be drawn up as quickly as possible in order to facilitate their acceptance together with the Convention.

11.       The Assembly wishes to reaffirm its particular concerns about the maximum length of a journey, as the most relevant threat to the welfare of animals during transport. In the absence of any explicit indication of maximum travelling times in the text of the Convention, the Assembly emphasises the need to draw up the technical protocols mentioned in Articles 17 and 20 of the Convention as soon as possible.

12.       The Assembly believes that the improvement of the conditions for the international transport of livestock, in particular with regard to avoiding unnecessary transport of livestock, reduction of travel and waiting times, improving transport facilities and feeding/watering systems, remains a matter of urgency. To this end, the Assembly fully endorses the draft revised Convention submitted to it for opinion and recommends the Committee of Ministers:

i.       to open the draft revised Convention for signature at the earliest opportunity;

ii.       to urge all Council of Europe member and observer states to sign and ratify the instrument as soon as possible in order to speed up its entry into force and the elaboration of its technical protocols;

iii.       to make every effort to extend the number of signatures and ratifications of the revised Convention in comparison with the Convention currently in force,

iv.       to encourage the European Union to speed up the revision of their own Directives on livestock transportation, taking into account the provisions of the revised Council of Europe Convention; and urge them to accede to the Council of Europe revised Convention, for adequate protection of animals during international transport can only be assured in a pan-European perspective;

v.       to encourage all member and observer states of the Council of Europe to implement the Convention at national level, paying special attention to those provisions aiming to ensure the respect of its principles and provisions during internal transport and to minimise the suffering of animals in cases where unforeseeable circumstances may prolong the length of a journey, including short-distance ones;

vi.       to entrust more authority to the Parties of the Convention in monitoring the implementation of the Convention by introducing provisions for proper control and sanctioning mechanisms as well as ensuring its flexible adaptation to scientific and technological developments;



vii.       to increase assistance to the countries of central and eastern Europe needing an upgrading of legislation and skills for improved animal welfare;

viii.       to request not only the contracting Parties but all member and observer states to entrust animal transport to persons and/or companies with certified qualifications; to this end, work out harmonised training requirements and codes of conduct;

ix.       to make the necessary resources available to speed up the activities on the elaboration of the additional protocols and Codes of Conduct with a view to assuring the completion of the revision of the framework on animal transport and with an ultimate objective to bring all five conventions of the Council of Europe on the protection of animals into a broader framework for the welfare of animals.

II.Explanatory memorandum by Mr Etherington

1.       In a letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly dated 29 October 2002, the Chairman of the Ministers’ Deputies requested the Assembly’s opinion on a draft revised Convention for the protection of animals during international transport. On 18 November 2002, the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs was seized for this opinion. This Committee, which had always taken a great interest in the subject, had also previously been seized in March 2001 for a report on international transport of animals (Doc. 8971) and, following the request by the Committee of Ministers, it decided to deal with these two references jointly.

2.       The Council of Europe's work on animal protection was started in the 1960s. It recognised that the respect for animals counted among the ideals and principles which were the common heritage of its member States as one of the obligations upon which human dignity was based. Today, animal protection has become a topical subject in all member States on which governments have agreed to the necessity of concerted action.

3.       Five Conventions have been drawn up by the council of Europe - on animals during international transport (ETS 65, 1968); animals kept for farming purposes (ETS 87, 1976); animals for slaughter (ETS 102, 1979); vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (ETS 123, 1986); and pet animals (ETS 125, 1987).

4.       These Conventions, addressing the conditions for the use of animals, have been the first international legal instruments laying down ethical principles in this field. They have been a reference in the European countries for the elaboration of relevant national legislations, and were used as a basis for relevant EU legislation.

5.       The Parliamentary Assembly has been at the basis of all the process of creation and revision of the convention on international transport of animals. The 1968 Convention was elaborated by a Committee of experts set up by the Committee of Ministers in 1965, in reply to Recommendation 287 (1961) of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe on the international transit of animals. The Convention was opened for signature on 13 December 1968 and entered into force on 20 February 1970. At present 23 States have ratified it (see Appendix 1 for the chart of signatures and ratifications).

6.       At the end of the 1980s, a first process of revision and update of the provisions of the Convention brought about the adoption of 5 recommendations by the committee of Ministers, between 1987 and 1990, on the transport of horses, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats and poultry. Provisions were also made in 1989 which provided for the signature by the European Economic Community.

7.       On 26 January 1996, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Recommendation 1289 (1996) on animal welfare and livestock transport, following a report by the former Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. In this Recommendation, the Assembly was “particularly worried about many reports on the ill treatment of animals during international transport and on suffering caused to animals due to unnecessary waiting times at border crossings…” and recommended, among other things, that the Committee of Ministers “ask the Parties to the European Convention for the Protection of Animals during International Transport, in co-operation with the Commission of the European Communities to improve as a matter of urgency the conditions for the international transport of livestock, in line with the spirit and letter of the convention and the connected recommendations and resolutions, and to strengthen the control mechanisms for the implementation of legislation.” (See Appendix 2.)

8.       These concerns were fully shared and endorsed by the Committee of Ministers, and few months later a Working Party for the preparation of a Multilateral Consultation of the Parties was created with the aim of revising the existing provisions.

9.       Eight meetings were held by the Working Party between March 1996 and April 2002. The final step of the process of revision of the convention was the Multilateral Consultation, held in Strasbourg on 18-20 June 2002, which was attended by the representatives of the Parties to the Convention, Observers of Member and non Member States not yet Parties to the Convention (incl. EU), and Experts from Non-Governmental Organisations, and which presented a draft revised Convention to the Committee of Ministers.

10.       Your Rapporteur considers that the draft revised Convention corresponds to a genuine need to harmonise at pan-European level the conditions of transportation of animals. It is of utmost importance to increase the assistance to the Council of Europe member states needing an upgrading of legislation and skills for improved animal welfare. In the context of the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union, there is also a greater than ever urgency for the Council of Europe and the European Union to work together on the establishment of common rules and procedures in this field with a view to an ultimate harmonisation of all national, intra-EU and international legislation in the field.

11.       The new draft Convention appears rationalised in its structure and applicable in its entirety to the international transport of all vertebrate animals. It has been shortened (41 Articles instead of 52) and made more readable, based on the type of transport used rather than the species of animals transported. Finally, the adoption of technical protocols, which will contain all relevant figures and can be amended following a simplified procedure, would make the Convention more flexible and facilitate its adaptability to the evolution of scientific knowledge and experience. Accordingly, your Rapporteur welcomes this initiative and recommends that it be adopted by the Committee of Ministers.

12.       It is to be understood that the Convention is the main but not the only part of a more general revision process concerning the transport of animals. Your Rapporteur welcomes the introduction of the four Codes of Conduct for the transport of animals which are currently under elaboration. These Codes, which will serve as a practical guidance for transporters, will provide additional information and guidance on the principles set out in the convention. It is of particular interest that these codes are intended to take a form of Committee of Ministers Recommendations and as such may be addressed not only to the Parties to the Convention but to all Council of Europe member states. It is therefore important to speed up their elaboration in order to assure the completion of the revision of the whole framework of animal transport.

Appendix 1

European Convention for the Protection of Animals during International Transport
ETS n░ : 065

Treaty open for signature by the member States and by the European Economic Community and for accession by non-member States

Status as of 13/02/03

Opening for signature :
Place : Paris
Date : 13/12/68

Entry into force :
Conditions : 4 Ratifications.
Date : 20/02/71

Member States of the Council of Europe:

States

Date of
signature

Date of
ratification

Date of entry
into force

Notes

R.

D.

A.

T.

C.

O.

Albania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andorra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armenia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austria

19/12/69

14/09/73

15/03/74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azerbaijan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belgium

13/12/68

21/11/73

01/07/74

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croatia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyprus

27/02/76

08/02/77

09/08/77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Czech Republic

24/06/98

23/09/98

24/03/99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denmark

13/12/68

24/06/69

20/02/71

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Estonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finland

 

04/02/75 a

05/08/75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

France

13/12/68

09/01/74

01/07/74

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Germany

13/12/68

09/01/74

01/07/74

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

Greece

13/12/68

25/05/78

26/11/78

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland

13/12/68

01/05/69

20/02/71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland

24/09/69

14/03/75

15/09/75

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Italy

25/05/71

03/05/74

04/11/74

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

Latvia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liechtenstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxembourg

23/06/71

13/04/72

14/10/72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moldova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

16/05/75

04/09/80

05/03/81

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Norway

13/12/68

25/06/69

20/02/71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portugal

16/10/80

01/06/82

02/12/82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romania

 

26/04/91 a

27/10/91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia

 

13/11/90 a

14/05/91

25

 

X

 

 

 

 

San Marino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovakia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovenia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain

 

02/08/74 a

03/02/75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweden

10/09/70

20/10/71

21/04/72

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

Switzerland

13/12/68

19/08/70

20/02/71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey

18/04/74

19/12/75

20/06/76

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

United Kingdom

26/02/69

09/01/74

01/07/74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-member States of the Council of Europe:

States

Date of
signature

Date of
 ratification 

Date of entry
into force

Notes

R.

D.

A.

T.

C.

O.

International Organisations :

Organisations

Date of
signature

Date of
 ratification 

Date of entry
into force

Notes

R.

D.

A.

T.

C.

O.

European Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Total number of signatures not followed by ratifications :

0

 

Total number of ratifications/accessions :

23

 

Notes :
(25) Date of accession by the former Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.
a: Accession - s: Signature without reservation as to ratification - su: Succession - r: Signature "ad referendum".
R.: Reservations - D.: Declarations - A.: Authorities - T.: Territorial Application - C.: Communication - O.: Objection.

Source: Treaty Office on http://conventions.coe.int

Appendix 2

Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Reference to committee: Doc. 8971, Reference No. 2583 of 14 March 2001 and Doc. 9620, Reference No. 2781 of 18 November 2002.

Draft opinion adopted by the committee on 20 February 2003

Members of the committee: Mr Martinez Casa˝ (Alternate: Padilla) (Chairman), Mr Meale, Mr Gubert, Mr Schmied (Vice-Chairmen), MM. Ašikg÷z, Agius, Mrs Agudo, MM. Akselsen, Andov, Annemans (Alternate: Poty), Ates, Blaauw, ăavusoglu, Sir Sydney Chapman, Mr Churkin, Mrs Ciemniak, MM. Cosarciuc, Deittert, Delattre, Dokle, Duka-Zolyomi, Ekes, Etherington, Frunda, Giovanelli, Gonzalez de Txabarri, (Alternate: de Puig), G÷tz, Graas, Grabowski, Grachev, Grissemann, Ms Hajiyeva, Mr Haraldsson, Mrs Herczog, MM. Hladiy, H÷gmark, Ilascu, Mrs Jńger, Mr Juric, Mrs Kanelli (Alternate: Mr Pavlidis), Mr Kharitonov, Lord Kilclooney, MM. Klympush, Lachat (Alternate: Ms Fehr), Libicki, van der Linden, Lobkowicz, Loncle (Alternate: Lengagne), Manukyan, Masseret, Mauro, Mrs Mesquita, MM. Meyer, Mincevic, NazarÚ Pereira, Mrs Ohlsson, MM. Oliverio (Alternate: Crema), Podeschi Podobnik, Popov, Rafaj, Salaridze, Ms Schicker, MM. Sfyriou, Steenblock, Ms St°jberg, Mr Stoica (Alternate: Coifan), Ms Stoyanova, MM. Tabajdi, Theodorou, Timmermans, Tiuri, Truu, Vakilov, Velikov, Wright, Zhevago,

N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretariat of the committee: Mrs Cagnolati, Mr Sixto, Mr Torcatoriu and Ms Odrats.