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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Animal welfare during transport – EU rules

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Animal welfare during transport – EU rules


Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations



  • It regulates the transport of live animals between EU countries and provides for checks on animals entering or leaving the EU. The detailed rules aim to prevent injury or unnecessary suffering to the animals.


The regulation places the following requirements:

  • Transport arrangements must be made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet the animals’ needs
  • The animals must be fit to travel
  • The means of transport, and loading and unloading facilities, must be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and ensure the animals' safety
  • People handling the animals must be properly trained and may not use any form of violence
  • Transportation to the destination must take place without delay and involve regular checks on the animals' welfare
  • Sufficient height and floor space must be available for the animals
  • Water, feed and rest must be provided when needed.
  • Transporters must:
    • have authorisation from the relevant national authority for all journeys over 65 km
    • provide documentation containing details such as the animals' origin and ownership, their destination and expected journey time
    • ensure an attendant accompanies the animals, unless they are in containers with sufficient feed and water.
  • National authorities must inspect and approve vehicles and ships used to transport animals by road and sea for long journeys before these may be used.
  • Keepers of animals, and operators of assembly centres (holdings, collection centres and markets), must ensure the rules and welfare standards are followed at the various points of departure, transfer or destination.
  • National authorities must require transporters to:
    • be based in an EU country
    • demonstrate they have sufficient and appropriate staff, equipment and operational procedures
    • have no record of serious breaches of EU or national animal protection rules during the previous 3 years.
  • For long journeys between EU countries and to destinations outside the EU:
    • transporters must have the necessary authorisation, documentation, satellite navigation system and contingency plans for emergencies
    • national authorities must carry out checks at the point of departure and on a random basis thereafter.
  • In the event of an emergency or failure to apply the welfare rules, national authorities can insist that the transporter:
    • changes the driver or attendant
    • makes a temporary repair to the means of transport
    • transfers the consignment to another vehicle
    • returns the animals to their point of departure
    • unloads the animals and holds them in suitable temporary accommodation.


It applies from 25 January 2005.


For more information, see ‘Animal welfare – Main achievements’ on the European Commission’s website.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 (OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, pp. 1–44)


Council Decision 2004/544/EC of 21 June 2004 on the signing of the European Convention for the protection of animals during international transport (OJ L 241, 13.7.2004, p. 21)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 of 25 June 1997 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC (OJ L 174, 2.7.1997, pp. 1–6).

Successive amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Commission Implementing Decision 2013/188/EU of 18 April 2013 on annual reports on non-discriminatory inspections carried out pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 (notified under document C(2013) 2098) (OJ L 111, 23.4.2013, pp. 107–114)

last update 18.04.2016