Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the application of the different ventilation systems for animal transport vehicles for road journeys exceeding eight hours /* COM/2001/0197 final */

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT on the application of the different ventilation systems for animal transport vehicles for road journeys exceeding eight hours

1. Background

Chapter VII of the Annex to Council Directive 91/628/EEC [1] establishes that journey times for domestic solipeds and domestic animals of the bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species shall not exceed eight hours. However this maximum journey time may be extended subject to particular conditions, notably concerning the transporting vehicle.

[1] Council Directive 91/628/EEC of 19 November 1991 on the protection of animals during transport and amending Directives 90/425/EEC and 91/496/EEC (OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 17) as last amended by Directive 95/29/EC (OJ L 148, 30.6.1995, p. 52 - 63).

On the basis of Article 13 (1) of Directive 91/628/EEC, Council Regulation (EC) No 411/98 of 16 February 1998 on additional animal protection standards applicable to road vehicles used for the carriage of livestock on journeys exceeding eight hours [2]was adopted.

[2] OJ L 52, 21.2.1998, p. 8.

Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 411/98 provides that the Commission is to submit to the Council a report drawn up on the basis of the opinion of the Scientific Veterinary Committee on the implementation of that regulation and more particularly on the application of the different ventilation systems.

In this framework the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare of the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection was requested to examine the subject. An opinion on 'Standards for the microclimate inside animal transport road vehicles' was adopted on 8 December 1999.

The outcome of the opinion highlights the necessity for the Commission to undertake actions to obtain further improvement in the welfare of transported animals.

On December 2000, the Commission adopted a report [3] on the experience acquired by Member States in the implementation of Directive 91/628/EEC on the protection of animals during transport. In that report the Commission undertook to put forward the attached proposal to the Council.

[3] Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the experience acquired by Member States since the implementation of Council Directive 95/29/EC amending Directive 91/628/EEC concerning the protection of animals during transport COM(2000) 809 final.

2. Main conclusion in the Scientific Committee's opinion

Thermal stress is recognised to be one of the major reasons of reduced welfare and health of the transported animals.

During long distance transport, animals are likely to pass through various climatic zones within a relatively short span of time. In addition, the presence of animals within a closed or partially closed container for several hours alters the temperature, the humidity and some levels of gases (e.g. CO2) in their immediate surroundings. Therefore, adaptable ventilation systems on the vehicles are necessary to ensure a satisfactory environment for the animals.

Each type of animal has a specific range of acceptable temperatures within which no major adaptation is necessary. Those ranges are set out in Table 1 and have been established by the analysis of the scientific data available to the Scientific Committee. Table 1 does not provide data for domestic solipeds.

Data available confirms that the existing provisions of Regulation (EC) No 411/98 in this field are not sufficient to ensure an acceptable level of protection for transported animals.

High humidity is a problem for animal welfare when the temperature is also high. During transport, humidity originates from the animals themselves but also from the evaporation from urine, faeces and washing water. Accordingly, Table 1 provides maximum temperatures adjusted for high humidity.

In the absence of a forced ventilation system, the temperature is determined by the adjustments made to the openings of the container and the speed of the moving vehicle. When the vehicle is stationary, temperature control is particularly limited in hot conditions.

Forced ventilation is the system whereby air is supplied by mechanical devices such as fans, which provide a set amount of fresh air according to the capacity and regulation of the devices. The main advantage of forced ventilation is to have a controlled air flow which is independent of the speed of the vehicle.

The ventilation rate usually recommended under practical housing conditions during summer ranges between 63 to 106 m3/h/100 kg of live weight. Ventilation rates should never be lower than 10 m3/h/100 kg of live weight in cold conditions.

In its opinion the Scientific Committee recommends that, whatever the ventilation system used, it should be capable of maintaining in any circumstances of the journey the temperature and the humidity in the vehicle within a range of acceptable temperatures and humidity set out in Table 1.

The Scientific Committee also suggests that ventilation systems should be capable of operating independently of the vehicle engine.

The Scientific Committee recommends that all vehicles should have a monitoring and warning system for temperature and humidity as well as a means of recording these parameters. The monitoring system will allow the driver to take appropriate steps to remedy dangerous situations. A recording system will facilitate the verification of compliance by the competent authorities.

3. Main conclusion in the Commission's report in relation to ventilation

The main traffic of livestock in Europe is from northern Europe to southern Europe for almost all farm species (horses, cattle, sheep, pigs). The absence of adequate ventilation in vehicles used in long-distance transport is considered a serious problem in the Commission's report.

As previous incidents have proved, the overheating of animals in summer is one of the major factors leading to suffering and sometimes mortality during long journeys. Effective ventilation is one of the critical factors to ensure the welfare of animals during transport, as well as sufficient watering and appropriate loading densities.

To solve the problems of extreme climatic conditions experienced by animals during long journeys, the conclusion of the report is that lorries should be required to be equipped with a device for monitoring the temperature and the humidity inside the compartment where animals are transported.

The report also emphasises that the transport of horses is a subject of serious and urgent concern from the point of view of the protection of animals. The Commission considers it a priority to undertake further initiatives to improve the situation of horses. As a result, the Commission proposal includes a range of acceptable temperatures applicable for domestic solipeds, even though the scientific opinion does not consider horses.

4. Socio-economic impacts

Different sources have been consulted to evaluate the possible cost implications on the transport industry concerned. While the additional costs can be estimated, the financial benefits created by the implementation of the proposed measures are more difficult to assess. It should be borne in mind that although the proposal is not economically motivated, it is beyond doubt that the upgrading of the ventilation systems on lorries used for long journeys will also create economic benefits by improving the state of the animals and decreasing the mortality rate.

Indeed, contacts with experts in this field have shown that transport companies using vehicles equipped with forced ventilation systems are satisfied because of the economic returns (in particular most animals to be slaughtered lose less weight on arrival).

Total estimated additional costs

The following calculation is based on the equipment of a lorry of 20 tonnes payload with a minimum air flow nominal capacity of 12 000 cubic meters per hour (i.e. 60 m3/h/KN or around100 kg of payload).

The estimated total additional costs per vehicle related to the Commission's proposal varies between EUR 6100 and EUR 7930 including ventilation and monitoring devices.

These additional costs should be considered in relation to the cost of a lorry for transporting livestock.

The total cost of a complete vehicle (tractor and trailer) ranges between EUR 165.000 and EUR 190.000 for a payload of 20 tonnes.

The costs for ventilation and monitoring represent between 3,21% (6100/190.000) and 4.8% (7930/165.000) of the total cost of the lorry.

5. The proposal

The Commission proposal addresses the following issues:

-compulsory ventilation systems for vehicles concerned by Regulation (EC) No 411/98 to be designed, constructed and maintained with a view to respecting at any time the range of acceptable temperatures reported in the Scientific Committee's opinion;

-compulsory monitoring, warning and recording system for temperature and humidity in all road vehicles carrying livestock for journeys exceeding eight hours.

Table 1