EU FARM ministers have once again ducked out of imposing strict new laws on the transport of live farm animals which would ensure they are properly fed, watered and rested on journeys than can cover 1,000 miles or more.
For many years, British campaigners have been pressurising Brussels to introduce humane transport laws to prevent cruelty to animals, which can sometimes die for lack of water or heat exhaustion on delivery trucks, particularly in hot weather in southern Europe.
However, few EU countries take animal welfare as seriously as Britain and, on Monday, EU farm ministers postponed the introduction of new laws for a further six years.
What has infuriated British campaigners is that the British representatives, Defra Secretary Margaret Beckett and her junior minister Ben Bradsha, also voted for the postponement.
The London-based Compassion in World Farming immediately launched a scathing attack on the Government.
Said chief executive Joyce D'Silva said: "CIWF despairs of the lack of courage shown by the UK Government and by the other member states in failing to tackle this crucial issue, when all of the evidence, scientific research and data points to the need to limit journey times.
"This collective failure by EU agriculture ministers means live animals can continue to be transported from Aberdeen to Athens simply to be slaughtered; while politicians procrastinate, millions of animals will continue to suffer for years to come. "
Ducking such an emotive issue makes a mockery of last week's ban on fox hunting, when Labour MPs claimed they were acting in the interests of animal welfare.