Welfare of Animals

Welfare of Animals

Welfare of Animals During Transport: EU Regulation 1/2005 May 2006

Scope of EU Regulation 1/2005

The Regulation applies to the transport of live vertebrate animals within the Community that takes place in connection with an economic activity (Article 1.1 and 1.5 of the Regulation).

There are some exceptions:

  • The Regulation does not apply to transport to or from veterinary practices or clinics under veterinary advice (Article 1.5).
  • Only Article 3 (General conditions for the transport of animals) and Article 27 (Inspections) apply to transport by farmers of their own animals in their own vehicles for a distance of less then 50 km from their holding, or for seasonal stock movements between pastures (transhumance – Article 1.2).
  • Transporters undertaking journeys of less than 65km from place of departure to place of destination do not require an authorisation nor are they required to use drivers/attendants who have been trained and hold a certificate of competence (Article 6.7).

Registered horses transported for competition, races, cultural events or breeding – not those transported to markets or slaughterhouses – are exempt from the following requirements of the Regulation:-

  • Article 5.4 – compliance with Annex II journey log provisions.
  • Article 6.9 – use of a navigation system and the keeping of records obtained from it.
  • Annex I Chapter V – journey times, and water feed and rest intervals.

The Regulation does not define what constitutes an “economic activity”. However, the preamble to the Regulation gives an indication of what this may include. Paragraph (12) states: – ” Transport for commercial purposes is not limited to transport where an immediate exchange of money, goods or services takes place. Transport for commercial purposes includes, in particular, transport which directly or indirectly involves or aims at a financial gain.”

Also, the European Court of Justice has considered the term “economic activity” and taken the view that it is any activity consisting of offering goods and services on a given market ( EC case law – 118/85). Furthermore, a body might be engaged in economic activities even though it did not operate with a view to profit. It follows that the fact that a transporter is engaged in non-profit making activities is not in itself enough to deprive such activities of their economic character or to remove the transporter from the scope of the Regulation.

Therefore, transport in connection with an economic activity would consist of any transport of animals undertaken as part of a business or commercial activity, which aims at achieving financial gain, whether direct or indirect, for any person or company involved with the transport.

Such transport would most likely include journeys undertaken by:

  • Commercial hauliers.
  • Farmers.
  • Pet animals where the movements are related to economic activity e.g. pet breeders, dog racing, those taking part in filming e.g. advertisements which involve financial gain
    “Professional” horse racers.
  • Those where animals are transported in order to be sold.
  • Zoos and leisure parks.
  • Laboratory animals (but not when the animals are taking part in an authorised research project).

As a rough rule of thumb we would expect an owner or transporter carrying his or another person’s animals for profit, or as part of a business, to be covered by the Regulation. We would not expect the transport of pet animals by their owners to and from events such as shows, even where they win minor cash or other prizes, to be covered. The presence of gambling at an event would not in itself make the transport of animals to it an economic activity.

It should be noted that all journeys, whether under 50km, single animal journeys, or animals being transported for pleasure will remain subject to general welfare conditions which must be complied with. These conditions include:

  • Animals being fit to travel.
  • Keeping journey times to a minimum.

Those responsible for the transport ensure that animals are not caused any unnecessary fear, injury, or suffering.

Compliance with Council Regulation ( EC) No 1/2005 on the Protection of Animals During Transport and Related Operations

In 1997 Member States were obliged to implement and enforce additional requirements enhancing the controls first agreed in 1991 (Directive 95/29 amending Directive 91/628). The main changes were the introduction of statutory registration of transporters and route plans. By detailing the planned journey, route plans help to ensure compliance with specified maximum journey times, feed and rest periods for farmed livestock and horses. The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 implemented the Directive.

However, the Directive was considered to be inadequate in that the lack of independent assessment was not credible and enforcement tools were not robust enough for enforcers to identify and take sanctions against transporters who did not comply with the rules. Ministers therefore made a commitment to review the implementing Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 after one year of operation. A review was carried out in 1998/99 – one of the measures proposed following this review was mandatory independent assessment of transporters in place of the assessment by employers or self-assessment by the self-employed. Consultation was carried out on the review, but the further work to amend the Order was stopped when the European Commission announced that they were to review the Directive.

A Commission Report of December 2000 on the experiences of Member States since implementation of the 1997 rules highlighted problems and recommended improvements in: the transport of horses; dealing with non-compliance with route plans and travelling time limits; handling of animals and preventing transport of unfit animals; road vehicle standards and ventilation on long distance vehicles; enforcement of space allowances; harmonisation of certification of transporters; and use of data from Member States’ inspection reports.

Transport by sea will be subject to approval of livestock vessels (but not roll-on roll-off ferries) used to transport horses or farmed animals for distances greater then 10 nautical miles.

Operators of markets and assembly centres will be responsible for the welfare of animals and application of the rules on their premises and personnel will have to be trained.

Competent authorities will be better equipped to monitor and enforce rules as the EU Regulation is directly applicable in all Member States. This will improve harmonisation across all Member States and avoid inconsistent interpretations that are possible under a Directive. An electronic database of long distance transporters and their vehicles will be accessible to authorities in all Member States and documentation must be carried in a harmonised format to facilitate checks including:

  • details of animals being transported;
  • transporters’ authorisation;
  • certificate of approval of the vehicle (in the case of long journeys); and
  • a certificate of competence for drivers and attendants.

Exchange of information between authorities will be improved by the establishment of contact points on animal transport in each Member State. Infringements by transporters and withdrawal of authorisations will be notified to all contact points concerned, so as to prevent repeated or serious offenders continuing to operate.

Further developments have been promised. The Commission has issued a report and proposals to introduce a different range of maximum and minimum temperatures for the transport animals, but this remains to be finalised. A report on the impact of the Regulation is due in 2011 which may be accompanied by further proposals, in particular, on journey times, resting periods and space allowances. A study on navigation systems and their application is due by 1 January 2008 and a report on the implementation of these systems and, possibly, proposals to define the specifications to be used are due by 1 January 2010.

The European Food Standards Authority produced a report in 2004 on transport of poultry and other species for which there no are specific requirements in the regulation. The European Commission may publish proposals based on these recommendations but there is no timetable for this at present.

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