Animal welfare in transport: new EU rules enter into force

EU - The new Regulation on animal welfare in transport enters into force tomorrow, 5 January 2007. European Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "This important animal welfare legislation aims to reduce the stress and harm that animals can experience during land and sea journeys.
calendar icon 4 January 2007
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Among the new safeguards for animals being introduced are higher standards for vehicles and equipment, and stricter requirements for those dealing with animals in transport. The Regulation also provides for measures to ensure the better enforcement of EU rules in this area, such as the use of satellite navigation systems."

Better conditions
Under the new rules, vehicles used to transport animals for 8 hours or more will have to be upgraded and officially approved. New equipments in the vehicles will ensure that the microclimate in the vehicle is more adapted for the animals and stricter watering requirements are set out. Special attention is paid to young animals and new born animals and females within 1 week of giving birth may not be transported at all.

Better handling
Drivers and attendants of animals in transit will be subject to compulsory training, and from 2008 certified to care for the animals. The new legislation extends and clarifies the chain of responsibility for the animals, to include not only transport operators but also traders, drivers, and staff at each point of the journey. Given that animals tend to experience more stress when being loaded and unloaded from vehicles, better rules for the handling of animals at these times are set out, as are new requirements for loading/unloading facilities.

Better enforcement
From now on, any new vehicles to be used for the long distance transport of animals (over 8 hours) must be equipped with a satellite navigation system. This will allow better controls on the enforcement of EU rules on travel and rest times. Older trucks which are already in use have until 2009 to install this equipment.

Time and space
Regulation 1/2005/EC does not include new measures on travelling times or stocking densities, as the Commission’s original proposal had envisaged, due to Council’s failure to reach a compromise on this issue at the time (see IP/04/1391). However, Commissioner Kyprianou has committed to bringing forward proposals on these 2 important aspects of animal transport before the end of 2009.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has already issued opinions on stocking densities for animals in transport, and the Commission will closely consult Member States and stakeholders on this issue.

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