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Brussels, 22 November 2004

Commission welcomes Council’s agreement on stricter welfare rules for transport of animals

The European Commission has welcomed the Council’s political agreement today of a Regulation on animal transport, which will increase animal welfare by radically improving the enforcement of animal transport rules in Europe. The Regulation increases accountability by identifying clearly who is responsible for what throughout the animals’ journey and introduces new, more efficient enforcement tools such as checks via a satellite navigation system from 2007. It also introduces much stricter rules for journeys of more than 8 hours, including substantial upgrading in vehicles standards. The 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. Currently about 10% (17,5 Mio) of animal transport in Europe consists of long distance transport.

Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said “These new animal transport rules will significantly improve animal welfare. My ambition would have been to reduce travelling times and stocking densities further, but Member States remain deeply split on this. I welcome today’s political agreement on new rules which will make it easier to enforce higher standards of welfare in animal transport. 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. 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 Commission proposed a revision of the animal transport rules on 16 July 2003 (see IP/03/1023). Since Member States could not agree on a revision of travelling times and stocking densities of animals on lorries, the Commission agreed that these two issues would be subject to revision in the light of the outcomes of enforcement by the Member States. This compromise allowed for the adoption of better enforcement tools in animal transport. The Regulation will enter into force by 2007.

What are the main improvements introduced by the Regulation?

(1) 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.

In future:

  • Ban of travelling above 100 km with young animals (pigs less than 3 weeks / lambs less than one week / calves less than 10 days / horses less than 4 months (for long-distance only));
  • Ban of commercial transport for dogs and cats of less than 8 weeks of age (unless with their mother);
  • Ban on females travelling one week after birth and before giving birth (10% of the estimated time of the gestation).

(2) Improved equipment for improved conditions

Today – long journeys:

Partition of the compartment, access to animals.

In future – long journeys:

  • Tracing vehicle movements by compulsory navigation system for new lorries from 2007 and for all of them from 2009;
  • Compulsory pre-approval and registration in an electronic data base for lorries, and road/sea containers as well as sea vessels;
  • Mechanical ventilation;
  • Temperature monitoring system, recording data, with an alert system for the driver;
  • Watering facilities and water tanks;
  • Better conditions on sea vessels (e.g. inclination of ramps, drinking equipment, approval system).

(3) Conditions for horses improved


Minimum space allowances.

In future:

  • Individual stalls for long journeys;
  • Ban to transport unbroken horses for long journeys;
  • Minimum group size for unbroken horses transported for less than 8 hours.

(4) What improvements for local transports?

Long journeys are transports exceeding 8 hours (today and in the future). The newly adopted rules are mainly focusing on long journeys. However the following improvements are applicable to all journeys including those of less than 8 hours:

  • Fitness to be transported (see 1 for details);
  • Training for drivers and attendants (see 6 for details);
  • Better rules for loading, unloading and handling animals: today few rules are applicable during these operations. In the future a number of maltreatments are explicitly prohibited (such as striking or kicking the animals) but the new provisions will also make it compulsory to design and use proper loading/unloading facilities in farms, markets and slaughterhouses;
  • Limited derogation for transports of less than 65 km: Today transports of less than 50 km are totally outside the scope of the Directive. In the future those transports will have to comply with the general principle of the Regulation and Member States will have to inspect those transports as well.

(5) Regulation instead of Directive – better enforcement tool


Directive (some national interpretation possible).

In future:

Regulation (ensuring harmonisation in all Member States).

(6) Training of drivers and attendants


General requirements

In the future:

  • Obligation to hold a certificate of competence;
  • Certificate delivered after independent examination;
  • Specific curriculum to obtain the certificate;
  • Training bodies to be approved by the authorities.

(7) Who is responsible?


Transport operator and transporters (companies).

In future:

As above, but also traders (organisers) and drivers, as well as “keepers” (staff at assembly centres, markets and slaughterhouses as well as farmers).

(8) Ensuring better enforcement


Enforcement via Route Plan (Route Plans are mandatory if a border is crossed and the journey is longer than 8 hours).

In future:

  • Enforcement via Journey Log where it requests the signatures of all parties involved including a detailed report at end of transport;
  • Compulsory use of a navigation system to track vehicles from 1/1/2007 for new ones and from 1/1/2009 for the others;
  • A person has to be made responsible for entire transport.

(9) More personal responsibility in case of infringements


Suspend/withdraw approval of transporter, etc.

In future:

  • Additional checks in case of infringements;
  • Also suspension / withdrawal of driver training certificate and the authorisation of the means of transport;
  • Prohibited transit onto the territory of a Member State;

(10) Authorisation: improved standards to facilitate enforcement


Authorisation via registration of transporter.

In future:

  • Reinforced registration rules, harmonised registration format (European database);
  • Requirements on traceability and emergency plans for transporter;
  • Obligation for transporters to carry a copy of the authorisation;
  • 5 year time limit on approval of vehicles for long distance journeys (8 hours); also for sea vessels (sea vessels also require specific equipment);
  • Compulsory approved training for drivers and attendants.

(11) New responsibilities at interim stops (assembly centres, markets, etc)


No responsibilities for market places / assembly centres / harbours.

In future:

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.

(12) Post-journey follow-up: an important part of enforcement


  • Route plan is checked (if more than 8 hours and crossing border);
  • Limited information.

In future:

Comprehensive journey log for long-distance/8 hours (e.g. place of destination has to perform checks and report status of animals, including number of animals arriving dead or unfit).

(13) Travelling times remain unchanged:

Today - long-distance:

  • Very young animals (still drinking milk): 9h + 1 h rest (watering) + 9 h;
  • Pigs: 24 h (permanent access to water);
  • Horses: 24 h with watering every 8 hours;
  • Cattle, sheep and goats: 14 hours +1 hour rest (watering) + 14 hours.

The above sequences may be repeated if animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours in an approved "control posts".

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