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Animal welfare during transport

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Animal welfare during transport

The European Union (EU) has completed a radical overhaul of the rules on animal welfare during transport. The new rules identify all the parties involved and set out their respective responsibilities, strengthen monitoring and provide for stricter regulation of long journeys and the vehicles used.


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.


The text sets out to regulate transport of live vertebrate animals within the European Union (EU) where such transport is carried out as part of an economic activity. The aim is to prevent injury or undue suffering to animals and to ensure that they have appropriate conditions that meet their needs.

This regulation strengthens existing legislation on animal welfare during transport by identifying the parties involved and their respective responsibilities, putting in place enhanced measures on authorisations and inspections and laying down stricter rules on transport.

The parties involved and their responsibilities

The regulation extends responsibility for animal welfare to all parties involved in the process, including operations before and after transport. All parties must ensure that they comply with the legislation when performing those operations in which they are involved.

The regulation applies to transporters (already covered by the old legislation), organisers, drivers and "keepers" (staff at assembly centres, markets and slaughterhouses, and farmers).

All parties involved and their staff must undergo appropriate training. In particular, drivers and attendants must possess a certificate of competence issued after they have completed a comprehensive training course on animal welfare during transport and passed an exam organised by an independent body designated by the competent authorities.

Authorisations and inspections

For all journeys exceeding 65 km, transporters must hold an authorisation issued by a competent authority in the Member State in which they are established or represented. To obtain this authorisation, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient and appropriate staff, equipment and operational procedures.

For long journeys (exceeding eight hours), applicants must also provide:

  • specific documents: certificates of competence for drivers and attendants, certificates of approval for the means of transport to be used, details of the procedures for tracing and recording vehicle movements, and contingency plans; and
  • proof that they use a satellite navigation system, from 1 January 2007 for new vehicles and from 2009 for older vehicles.

These authorisations are valid for five years. They are issued in a standard European format and recorded in an electronic database accessible to the authorities of all the Member States.

Transporters carrying out long journeys between Member States must also possess a journey log drawn up by the transport organiser using a standard format and which contains information relating to the journey (identification of the animals and the persons in charge of them, place of departure and of destination, checks carried out at various stages of the journey, etc.).

Checks must be carried out by the competent authorities at key stages of the journey, including at exit points and border inspection posts. In addition, supplementary checks may be carried out at any stage of the journey on a random or targeted basis.

When carrying out checks, the competent authority must verify the validity of the authorisations, the certificates of approval and competence and the information recorded in the journey log. The official veterinarian must also check the state of the animals and their fitness to continue the journey. In the case of transport by sea, the state and conformity of the transport vessel must also be checked.

Technical rules on animal transports

The regulation introduces stricter rules on journeys exceeding eight hours. These rules apply to both vehicles and animals.

The regulation provides that transport vehicles must be fitted with equipment of the highest quality, including a temperature monitoring system (mechanical ventilation, temperature recording, warning system fitted in the driver's cabin), permanent access to drinking water and better conditions on livestock vessels (ventilation, watering devices, approval system, etc.).

The transport of certain animals is prohibited. This applies to very young animals (calves of less than 10 days, pigs of less than three weeks and lambs of less than a week), except where the journey does not exceed 100 km. The regulation also prohibits transport of females in the last stages of gestation and during the first week after giving birth.

In addition, the transport conditions for horses on long journeys are improved, notably through the obligation to use individual stalls.

The provisions on journey times and space allowances for animals, which were contained in the old legislation, have not been amended. In terms of journey times, the regulation provides for different times depending on the type of animal: unweaned animals, i.e. animals still drinking milk (nine hours of travel, followed by one hour's rest to enable the animals to drink, followed by a further nine hours of travel), pigs (24 hours of travel, provided there is continuous access to water), horses (24 hours of travel, with access to water every eight hours), cattle, sheep and goats (14 hours of travel, followed by one hour's rest to enable the animals to drink, followed by a further 14 hours of travel). The above sequences may be repeated provided the animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours at an approved control post.


The revision of the maximum journey times and the space allowances for animals (two areas which are unchanged in the new legislation) must be the subject of a new proposal to be submitted four years after the entry into force of the regulation at the latest and which takes into account the application of the new rules by the Member States.

This regulation repeals and replaces Directive 91/628/EEC with effect from 5 January 2007.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1/2005

25.1.2005Date of application: 5.1.2007(except Article 6(5): 5.1.2008)


OJ L 3 of 5.1.2005


Council Decision 2004/544/EC of 21 June 2004 on the signing of the European Convention for the protection of animals during international transport (as amended) [Official Journal L 241 of 13.7.2004]. The European Convention for the protection of animals during international transports first came into force in 1971. In 1995, the contracting parties decided to bring its provisions up to date to take account of scientific developments and experience acquired in this field. The amended Convention lays down detailed rules applicable to all animal species and which reflect successive amendments to EU legislation. At present, the 15 old EU Member States are all parties to the Convention, as are Cyprus, Iceland, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

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 [Official Journal L 174 of 2.7.1997]. The European Union lays down common criteria applicable to control posts (or "staging points") at which animals must be unloaded during long journeys. These rules aim to secure the health and welfare of the animals during such stops.

Last updated: 17.05.2011