The European Parliament is set to establish a committee of inquiry on animal welfare standards during transport, and possible breaches of EU law on animal protection.

The committee is expected to get the green light this Friday, June 19, according to Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness. McGuinness - the first Vice-President of the European Parliament - expects her fellow MEPs to ratify the establishment of the committee by the end of the week.

The special committee will be mandated to investigate alleged breaches of law on animal protection.

McGuinness outlined: "The EU has set high standards for animal transport, and it is essential that these standards are adhered to."

"Every year, millions of animals are transported across the EU and to non-EU countries to be bred, reared or slaughtered, as well as for competitions and the pet trade," she noted.

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of animals transported within the EU increased by 19% - from 1.25 billion to 1.49 billion.

"In February last year, the European Parliament adopted a report on animal welfare calling for better enforcement, sanctions and reduced journey times," McGuinness explained.

To protect animals exported to non-EU countries, MEPs voted for the introduction of bilateral agreements or a ban on the transport of live animals when national standards are not aligned with EU law.

That report from the parliament also called for a special inquiry committee to be set up, the Irish MEP outlined.

McGuinness concluded: "It is up to member states to implement the rules and the European Commission to tackle problems with compliance."