Brussels, 16 July 2003
The European Commission today adopted a proposed Regulation on animal transport, which will radically overhaul the animal transport rules in Europe. To improve enforcement, the Regulation identifies the chain of all those involved in animal transport and who is responsible for what as well as introducing efficient enforcement tools, such as checks via the tachograph. It also introduces much stricter rules for journeys of more than 9 hours, including domestic transport which mirror other EU legislation governing the time that drivers can spend on the road. The proposed Regulation recognises that most of the stress on the animals occurs around loading and unloading and therefore introduces rules to deal with situations before and after transport, for example at slaughterhouses or at harbours. It encourages Member States to develop guides of good practice. Currently only about 10% (17,5 Mio) of animal transport in Europe consists of long distance transport.
David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer protection, said “I am optimistic that this radical overhaul of the animal transport rules in Europe can come into force soon. I believe it provides the best tools to introduce real improvements in animal welfare over the short to medium term. My main aims are to minimise the stress that animals go through and to ensure that they arrive at their destination as fast as possible. Importantly, the Regulation will also define who is responsible for what and when, which will help enormously in ensuring that the rules are properly enforced.”
The Regulation will have to be approved by the Council of Ministers after consultation of the European Parliament. It is expected to be in force by the end of 2005.
What will change with the new Regulation?
Travelling times – reducing stress for animals on the road
Today – long-distance:
The above sequences may be repeated if animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours in an approved staging point.
In future - long distance:
All species: maximum 9 hours travelling + minimum 12 hours rest. The sequence may be repeated. No staging point is required. Animals rest within the vehicle.
Youngest and pregnant animals shall not travel
Prohibition for newborn animals in which the navel has not completely healed. No specifications for the different species.
Improved equipment for improved conditions
Today - long-distance:
Partition of the compartment, access to animals, but no additional space for long distance journeys.
In future - long-distance:
Conditions for horses improved
Minimum space allowances.
Regulation instead of Directive – better enforcement tool
Directive (some national interpretation possible).
Regulation (ensuring harmonisation in all Member States).
What is long distance transport?
Longer than 8h with upgraded trucks.
9 hours (based on drivers' social legislation, therefore easily enforceable). Driver has to stop for 12 hours after 9 hours driving. Length of journey defined as the entire transport operation from start to final destination, including intermediate points.
Who is responsible?
Transport operator and transporters (companies).
As above, but also traders (organisers) and drivers, as well as “keepers” (staff at assembly centres, markets and slaughterhouses as well as farmers).
Ensuring better enforcement
Enforcement via Route Plan (but Route Plans are only mandatory if a border is crossed and the journey is longer than 8 hours).
More personal responsibility in case of infringements
Suspend/withdraw approval of transporter, etc
Authorisation: improved standards to facilitate enforcement
Authorisation via registration of transporter.
New responsibilities at interim stops (assembly centres, markets, etc)
No responsibilities for market places / assembly centres / harbours.
Clear responsibility to check and implement animal welfare rules by the “keeper” (a newly introduced term). Operators of assembly centres have to ensure personnel is trained.
Post-journey follow-up: an important part of enforcement
Comprehensive journey log for long-distance/9 hours (e.g. place of destination has to perform checks and report status of animals, including number of animals arriving dead or unfit).