The charity’s call came after welfare checks on animals being shipped out of Ramsgate to France revealed a lorry-load of sheep with no drinking water.
Provision of drinking water for livestock under transit is a basic legal requirement. RSPCA inspectors and staff from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) found a faulty pump was the reason behind the lack of water. The pump was repaired at the port before the lorry continued its journey to Calais and then the Netherlands.
Dr Julia Wrathall, head of the RSPCA’s farm animals science team, said: “This breach of welfare rules highlights the need for better enforcement across Europe and a maximum eight-hour journey time to help reduce the risk of animals suffering unnecessarily during transportation.”
The latest breach comes as the European Commission rejected a petition signed by more than a million, as almost 400 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for a maximum eight-hour journey time.
David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, said it was “astounding and arrogant” that the European Commission ignored such a groundswell of public feeling, rejecting the petition on what he claimed was a technicality.