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Animal welfare during transport

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Animal welfare during transport


To lay down requirements for the transport of animals with a view to safeguarding their welfare.

2) ACT

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 [Official Journal L 340 of 11.12.1991].

Amended by Council Directive 95/29/EC of 29 June 1995 [Official Journal L 148 of 30.6.1995].

This Directive is repealed and replaced by Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 from 5 January 2007.


The European Convention for the Protection of Animals states that animals must be provided with accommodation, food and care appropriate to their needs.

According to estimates, some one million animals (not including poultry) pass through the European Union each day. Cross-border trade, including imports from and exports to third countries, involves 20 million animals annually.

This Directive applies to the transport of:

  • domestic animals of the bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species and solipeds (horses, donkeys and zebras);
  • domestic poulty, birds, rabbits, cats and dogs;
  • other mammals and birds and other vertebrate and cold-blooded animals.

This Directive does not apply to the transport of:

  • animals which are not of a commercial nature or any individual animal accompanied by a natural person who has responsibility for the animal during transport;
  • pets accompanying their owner on a private journey;
  • animals over a distance of not more than 50 kilometres;
  • certain types of animals by stockfarmers using agricultural vehicles during non-profit-making transhumance.

For each of the species covered by this Directive and according to means of transport (road, water, air), special transport conditions are set out in the Annexes. The minimum animal welfare conditions concern in particular:

  • feeding and watering intervals, loading densities, travelling times and rest periods which differ according to species;
  • the presence of a protective roof, slip-resistant flooring, adequate bedding to absorb excrement, ramps and lateral protection for loading and unloading;
  • the presence of lateral openings and a space within the compartment and above the animals providing appropriate ventilation;
  • the absence, in the compartment where the animals are placed, of pointed or protruding objects, holes, slits or cracks in the floor.

Only healthy animals may be transported in conditions that prevent any unnecessary suffering. Animals that fall ill or are injured during transport must receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. If necessary they must undergo emergency slaughter in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.

Any natural or legal person transporting animals for the purpose of gain must be approved and registered by a competent authority in a Member State. A health certificate and a route plan showing compliance with the maximum duration of transport (for journeys of more than eight hours) must accompany consignments during transport. The route plan indicating times and places where the animals will be fed and watered during the journey will be returned to the competent authority of the place of origin on completion of the journey.

The importation, transit and transport into and through Community territory of live animals coming from third countries will be authorized only if the exporter and importer give a written undertaking to comply with the requirements of the Directive.

The competent authorities will check that the requirements of the Directive have been complied with. They will inspect the means of transport and the animals at the places of departure/destination, at markets and at staging points and transfer points. Member States will provide a detailed written annual report on the checks carried out on a representative sample of animals giving any reported infringements. In addition, checks may also take place during transport where infringements are suspected. Commission experts will carry out, in cooperation with the competent authority, on-the-spot inspections to ensure that the Directive is being uniformly applied.

10The Members States will take specific measures to penalise any infringement of the Directive. Acting in accordance with Directive 89/608/EEC they will provide each other with mutual assistance to ensure that veterinary and zootechnical laws are properly applied.

The Commission will submit a report together with proposals for standards to be met by the means of transport [Council Regulation (EC) No 411/98]. It will also lay down the Community requirements that must be met by staging points, i.e. places where animals are unloaded, rest, are watered and fed for not less than 24 hours [Regulation (EC) No 1255/97].

Within three years following the implementation of the Directive, the Commission will present a report on the experience acquired by the Member States and suggest improvements to Community law. The Council, acting by a qualified majority, will adopt the proposals.

Directives 77/489/EEC and 81/389/EEC were repealed on 1 January 1993.


Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Directive 91/628/EEC



Directive 95/29/EC


31.12.199631.12.1997 Chapter VII, point 3

4) implementing measures


Communication from the Commission to the Council in accordance with Article 13(1) of Directive 91/628/EEC [COM(93) 330 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament 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 - Not published in the Official Journal].

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) 197 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the protection of animals during transport [COM(2003) 425 final - Not published in the Official Journal]


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 [Official Journal L 052 of 21.02.1998].

Where a journey is longer than eight hours, road vehicles used to transport solipeds and bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine animals within the Community must meet additional standards concerning bedding, feed and watering, access to the vehicle, ventilation and compartments.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EC [Official Journal L 174 of 02.07.1997].

This Regulation will apply only to staging points accommodating for at least 24 hours domestic solipeds and domestic animals of the bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species in the Community in accordance with Chapter VII of the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC and without prejudice to Directives 64/432/EEC, 80/213/EEC, 85/511/EEC , 89/608/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 90/426/EEC, 91/68/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 92/102/EEC and 93/119/EC.

Amended by:

Council Regulation (EC) No 1040/2003 of 11 June 2003 [Official Journal L 151 of 19.06.2003].

Staging points must be used exclusively to receive, feed, water, rest, accommodate, care for and dispatch animals passing through. Animals may be present at the same time at a staging point only if they are of the same certified health status. Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 may be amended rapidly by a new procedure depending on the animal health situation.


Commission Decision 94/96/EC of 3 February 1994 [Official Journal L 50 of 22.02.1994].

Commission Decision of 3 February 1994 based on Article 16 of Council Directive 91/628/EEC introducing special rules regarding the welfare of animals during transport in certain parts of Greece.

5) follow-up work

Commission Decision 2001/298/EC of 30 March 2001 amending the Annexes to council Directives 64/432/EEC, 90/426/EEC, 91/68/EEC and 92/65/EEC and to Commission Decision 94/273/EC as regards the protection of animals during transport (Text with EEA relevance) [Official Journal L 102 of 12.04.2001].

Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 21 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EEC [Official Journal L 3 of 5 January 2005].

This Regulation is a full recasting of the European rules on animal transport. It introduces stricter rules on journeys of more than nine hours, whether inside a Member State or between Member States. Animals will be given more space, depending on the species and the duration of the journey. The Regulation also identifies and defines the responsibilities of all those involved in the transport of animals. Training for drivers and staff handling animals is made compulsory.

This Regulation repeals and replaces Directive 91/628/EEC from 5 January 2007.

Last updated: 30.03.2005