Publication - Advice and guidance

Commercial animal transport: guidance

Published: 17 Oct 2016

Guidance on the welfare of commercial animals in transport.

Commercial animal transport: guidance
Main requirements

EU Welfare in Transport Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 main requirements

This is a summary of the main requirements. It should read this along with the EU Regulation and with reference to the detailed guidance as necessary.

The Regulation covers the transport of all vertebrate animals in connection with an economic activity, but its primary focus is on farm animals, poultry and horses. The key requirement is that no one should transport an animal in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to that animal. The full list of general conditions for the transport of animals is given in Article 3 of the Regulation. It applies, for example, to livestock and equine hauliers, farmers, animal breeders, transporters of performing animals and those working at markets assembly centres and slaughterhouses. It does not apply, for example, to individuals who ride for pleasure who transport their own horse or to individuals taking their own pets on holiday. It also doesn't apply to a farmer transporting a single animal.

Transporter requirements for journeys up to 65km

Transporters are not required to have vehicle authorisation or training and certificates of competence for journeys of less than 65km. However, they must comply with the technical rules on fitness to travel, means of transport and transport practices. See Annex 1 of the Regulation.

Transporter authorisation for journeys over 65 km and under eight hours

Authorisation will be granted, and will be valid for five years, if transporters can comply with the following:

  • the transporter has an established business or, in the case of businesses established outside of the UK, is represented in the country
  • the transporter can demonstrate that they have appropriate staff, equipment and operational procedures to transport animals in compliance with the new Regulation
  • the transporter has no record of serious infringements of animal welfare legislation in the three years preceding application

Type 1 animal transporter authorisations – change to renewal process

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is alerting animal transporters that the process for renewal of type 1 transporter authorisations has changed.

Type 1 transporter authorisations are required for those transporting animals, as part of an economic activity, on journeys over 65km and up to eight hours in duration. Transporters involved in economic activity include farmers, livestock and poultry hauliers, and those who move horses in connection with professional riding, livery and stabling.

From 1 October 2016, in order to comply with EU animal transport regulations, type 1 transporter authorisations will not renew automatically. Instead, animal transporters must submit an application for renewal of their type 1 authorisations.

Applications to renew animal transport authorisations should be submitted to APHA’s Welfare in Transport team by post, email or fax. Renewal application forms and information on how to obtain electronic copies of the renewal application are available here.

Transporter authorisations are valid for five years. Transporters should check their current authorisation documents, which have the expiry dates printed on them.

Transporter authorisation for journeys over eight hours

The authorisation will be valid for five years. Authorisation will be granted if transporters can comply with the following:

  • the transporter has an established business or, in the case of businesses established outside of the UK, is represented in the country
  • the transporter can demonstrate that they have appropriate staff, equipment and operational procedures to transport animals in compliance with the new Regulation
  • the transporter has no record of serious infringements of animal welfare legislation in the three years preceding application

The transporter must provide:

  • valid certificates of approval vehicles and containers
  • details of procedures enabling transporters to trace and record the movement of road vehicles under their responsibility and to contact the drivers at any time
  • contingency plans in the event of emergencies
  • all new vehicles used for the transport of farmed animals or horses (except registered horses) have a satellite navigation system. This requirement will apply to all vehicles (old and new) used for the transport of farmed animals or horses (except registered horses) from 2009

Training and competence for drivers and attendants and assembly centre personnel

Drivers or attendants responsible for the transport of farmed animals, horses and poultry over 65km will be required to hold a certificate of competence from 5 January 2008.

Assembly centre staff will not be required to obtain a certificate of competence but will need to have undergone training.

The training courses will cover the technical and administrative aspects of the rules and regulations that apply to the protection of animals during transport. These include:

  • general conditions of transporting animals
  • the documents that are required
  • fitness for transport
  • journey planning
  • animal physiology and feed needs, animal behaviour and the concept of stress
  • practical aspects of handling animals
  • impact of driving behaviour on welfare of animals and on the quality of meat
  • emergency care for animals
  • safety of personnel handling animals
  • the certificate of competence will be awarded once an independent assessment of knowledge of the above has been made.

Specific requirements for the transport of horses

  • horses must be transported in single partitions on journeys longer than eight hours, or when transported in a vehicle on a roll-on roll-off ferry (other than a mare and foal)
  • aminimum space above the withers must be given
  • unbroken ponies may not be transported in groups of more than four and cannot be transported on journeys longer than eight hours by road
  • foals under four months must have appropriate bedding and (unless with their mother) may not be transported for longer than eight hours by road

Exemptions from the eegulation

The Regulation does not apply to the transport of animals:

  • where the transport is not in connection with an economic activity
  • transport to or from veterinary practices or clinics under veterinary advice
  • when the animal is an individual animal, is accompanied by its owner or other responsible person and is fit for the intended journey
  • where the animals are pet animals accompanied by their owner on a journey.

Animals that cannot be transported

Unfit animals - A full explanation of what is expected in terms of fitness for transport is given in Chapter 1 of Annex 1 of the Regulation.

Very young animals - (i.e. calves of less than 10 days of age, pigs of less than three weeks and lambs of less than one week) except if the journey is less than 100 km.

Calves of less than 14 days of age - journeys exceeding eight hours will not be permitted

Pregnant female animals - will not be considered fit for transport if they have reached the latest stage of gestation (within 10% of the estimated time of the gestation before birth) and for a period of one week after giving birth

Cats and dogs under eight weeks of age - may not be transported commercially, unless accompanied by their mother

Construction and maintenance of wehicles

There are both general and specific rules on the construction and maintenance of vehicles, including receptacles (e.g. trailers). Examples of specific rules include ventilation requirements, loading equipment (such as ramps) and the segregation of non-compatible animals.

Information on container requirements for air transportation is available in the IATA's Live Animal Regulations.

Journey times

Before a journey can begin, animals must generally have been accommodated, fed and watered at the place of loading for transport for 48 hours, (There are exceptions for journeys starting from approved assembly centres). There are maximum journey times for farm animals and horses, and these include the need to feed, water and rest animals. Journey times are also linked to vehicle standards.

Enforcement

Local authorities have the prime responsibility to enforce welfare during transport legislation. APHA veterinary inspectors also have powers to ensure compliance with the legislation.