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EU Sets New Animal Transport Rules

EU Sets New Animal Transport Rules
BRUSSELS - The EU agreed new rules to improve conditions for animals during long-distance transport on Monday, ignoring demands from Denmark and rights activists for tighter limits on the time that animals can spend in transit.

Farm ministers voted to introduce mandatory training for animal handlers, satellite monitoring of trucks and tougher rules to restrict the transit of young and pregnant animals.

But the bill did not revise maximum journey time limit or increase the space given to animals on trucks: key demands of Denmark and animal rights activists.

Denmark had wanted an eight-hour time limit on journeys to improve the conditions of the 17.5 million cattle, goats, horses and pigs trucked across Europe annually in long-distance transport.

Current rules under which cattle, for example, can be in transit for up to 29 hours, will remain.

"I'm very pessimistic," Danish Justice Minister Lene Espersen told , after voting against the legislation.

Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden abstained, while the other member states of the 25-nation bloc were in favour.

The satellite monitoring of trucks would not improve animal welfare as the driver would not have to keep a travel log -- the only way to check that animals were watered and rested regularly during the journey, Espersen said.

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