Brussels, 20 March 2002
Scientific Committee adopted opinion on animal welfare during transport
The Scientific Committee advising the European Commission on animal health and animal welfare has today adopted a report on the welfare of animals during transport. The scientists conclude that both welfare and health of animals can be substantially affected in the course of and as a result of transport. The Committee advises on maximum travel times, resting times, watering and feeding intervals, loading densities and loading methods. It also advises that the transport of very young animals should be prohibited. The Committee stresses the importance of proper training for the personnel responsible for animals during transport. The scientific opinion will now be carefully examined by the Commission with a view to follow-up proposals.
To ensure a proper level of protection of animals during transport the scientists recommend specific space allowances in relation to the type of transport, increased heights of the decks when animals are transported on lorries and new maximum travelling time limits.
Higher standards to ensure the welfare of transported horses are also recommended, for example the necessity to transport them in individual stalls.
The report points out the role of transport of animals in transmitting diseases, as was shown during the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease last year. The scientists recommend contact between transported animals and other farm animals be minimized. Furthermore, considering that loading activities have been found by the scientists as extremely stressful for the animals, it is recommended to avoid the unloading of animals at staging points. The resting and caring of animals should be done on the lorries under the condition of the application of lower loading densities.
The Committee furthermore finds bad loading or unloading techniques, poor driving and lack of inspection and care for animals during transport are amongst the main causes of welfare problems. They therefore insist on proper training and certification of personnel responsible for the animals during transport.
Furthermore very young animals should not be transported.
Today's scientific opinion follows a Commission report from January 2001 on the implementation of EU animal transport rules. This report found major shortcomings in national authorities' enforcement of the legislation. A number of proposals have already been made address these to shortcomings. In April 2001 more stringent requirements on ventilation, temperature and humidity controls were submitted to the Council and these are currently under discussion. These were followed, in August 2001, with further proposals which have been adopted which require that a veterinarian must certify animals as fit for travel. This latest scientific opinion will now be considered by the Commission with a view to a further strengthening of animal transport provisions.
Existing EU rules on animal transport require that:
The full report is available at :