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Animal Welfare during transport - Legislation in force

Main points of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport

The Regulation applies to the transport of live vertebrate animals within the Community in connection with an economic activity.

(1) Covering the whole transport chain

The Regulation introduces rules to deal with situations before and after transport, for example on farms and livestock markets, and in slaughterhouses and harbours.

The text is a Regulation to ensure harmonisation across all Member States and to avoid any national interpretation and hence divergence. Responsibility for the welfare of animals will be more clearly defined at each stage during transport.

Training is of paramount importance to ensure proper enforcement by operators. The Regulation requires drivers and attendants to hold a certificate of competence. This certificate is obtained after completing detailed training on the welfare aspects of transport and passing an independent examination.

The Regulation introduces rules for livestock markets. In addition to the training of personnel, the Regulation makes livestock market operators fully responsible for the welfare of animals. They are also responsible for the introduction and monitoring of these rules on their premises.

(2) Improved enforcement

The Regulation identifies the chain of involvement in animal transport and defines "who is responsible for what" during animal transport. It introduces efficient enforcement tools, such as checks on vehicles via the compulsory use of navigation systems.

The Regulation introduces two types of authorisations depending on whether transporters are operating long journeys or not.

Whatever the journey length, transporters have to demonstrate that they have the staff and equipment to transport animals properly. They should not have a record of serious infringements of animal welfare legislation in the preceding three years. The authorisation will be reassessed every 5 years.

Transporters operating long journeys also have to comply with detailed procedures for dealing with emergency situations and to track vehicle movements with the compulsory use of navigation systems from 1 January 2007 for new vehicles and from 2009 for existing vehicles. Navigation systems on board the vehicles allow the competent authorities to verify compliance with the rules on travel and resting periods as well to check the journey log initially declared to the authorities.

Transporters and vehicles operating long journeys are registered in a specific electronic database accessible to the authorities of all Member States.

The Regulation gives the authorities the possibility of withdrawing the authorisation from transporters in serious breach of animal welfare legislation. The certificates of approval for vehicles used for long journeys can also be withdrawn in cases of non-compliance.

Better enforcement as regards long journeys is ensured through the requirement of a journey log when the journey is longer than 8 hours or a border is crossed. Records of the on-board navigation system are used to check journey limits and rest times.

An assessment of the condition of the animals at the end of the journey is required.

The Regulation obliges transporters to carry certificates when animals are transported, including details of the animals being transported, transporter authorisation, certificate of approval for the vehicle (in the case of long journeys) and a certificate of competence for drivers and attendants. All documents are issued in harmonised formats in the EU in order to facilitate checks.

In order to facilitate the exchange of information between authorities, the Regulation requires a contact point for animal transport to be designated in each Member State. Infringements by transporters and withdrawal of authorisation are routinely notified to all contact points so as to prevent repeat or serious offenders from continuing to operate.

(3) Upgraded standards

The Regulation also introduces much stricter standards for journeys of more than 8 hours, including domestic transport within a Member State.

Vehicles have to be approved according to specific standards and registered in an electronic database so as to facilitate checks by the competent authorities. The Regulation provides for on-vehicle drinking systems. Temperature monitoring and a system to alert the driver to potential problems are also required.

In addition, from 2007, new vehicles, and from 2009, all vehicles used to transport animals for long journeys over 8 hours will have to be equipped with a navigation system to help track the vehicles and verify compliance with travel time limits for animals.

The Regulation introduces the systematic use of individual stalls for horses transported on long journeys.

The Regulation introduces a ban on transporting very young animals (i.e. calves less than 10 days old, pigs less than three weeks old and lambs less than one week old) unless the journey is less than 100 km.

The transport of calves less than 14 days old on journeys exceeding 8 hours is not permitted.

Pregnant female animals are not considered fit for transport if they have reached the latest stage of gestation (within 10% of the estimated time of gestation before birth) or for a period of one week after giving birth.

Livestock vessels leaving from the EU have to be approved according to specific welfare standards.