Brussels, 22 November 2004
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.
(2) Improved equipment for improved conditions
Today – long journeys:
Partition of the compartment, access to animals.
In future – long journeys:
(3) Conditions for horses improved
Minimum space allowances.
(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:
(5) Regulation instead of Directive – better enforcement tool
Directive (some national interpretation possible).
Regulation (ensuring harmonisation in all Member States).
(6) Training of drivers and attendants
In the future:
(7) 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).
(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).
(9) More personal responsibility in case of infringements
Suspend/withdraw approval of transporter, etc.
(10) Authorisation: improved standards to facilitate enforcement
Authorisation via registration of transporter.
(11) 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.
(12) Post-journey follow-up: an important part of enforcement
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:
The above sequences may be repeated if animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours in an approved "control posts".