When the European Union deals with animal transport it is always caught between two intentions: to protect animal welfare, on the one hand, to facilitate trade on the other. These two intentions are enshrined at the very beginning of the current council regulation dealing with animal transport (CR 1/2005).
The regulation reminds that “in formulating and implementing agriculture and transport policies, the Community and the Member States are to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals » but it immediately follows by underlining that “the Council has adopted rules in the field of the transport of animals in order to eliminate technical barriers to trade in live animals and to allow market organisations to operate smoothly » (CR 1/2005, Preamble, para. 1 & 2). It is quite easy to understand how these two goals can clash. And when they do, courts and tribunals are sometimes asked to arbitrate. In 2011, trade facilitation won. Last month, animal welfare did.