The welfare of farm animals during transportation

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (which implements Council Regulation EC No. 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations) protects the welfare of animals during transportation.

To which animals does the Order apply?

The Order applies to all vertebrate animals and cold-blooded invertebrate animals who are transported in connection with an economic activity. The Order does not apply to the transportation of animals directly to or from veterinary practices or clinics, under the advice of a vet.

Prohibited acts

The Order prohibits the following acts:

  • the transportation of an animal in a way which causes, or is likely to cause, injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal;
  • the transportation of an animal except in such receptacles or means of transport, under conditions (in particular with regard to space, ventilation, temperature and security) and with such supply of liquid and oxygen, as are appropriate for the species concerned;
  • the removal, defacement, obliteration or alteration of a mark made by an inspector for identification purposes.

Obligations of transporters

Those involved in the transportation of animals are required to:

  • be authorised by a competent authority to transport animals if the journey exceeds 65 km;
  • ensure that all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet the needs of the animals during the journey;
  • ensure that the animals are fit for the journey;
  • ensure that the means of transport are designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and to ensure the safety of the animals;
  • ensure that loading and unloading facilities are adequately designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and to ensure the safety of the animals;
  • ensure that those handling the animals are trained or competent for the purpose of transporting the animals in question (contracting and subcontracting the transport is prohibited except to authorised transporters and transporters are required to indentify a person responsible for the transport);
  • ensure that those handling the animals do not use violence or any method likely to cause unnecessary fear, injury or suffering;
  • ensure that the animals are transported without delay and that the welfare conditions of the animals are regularly checked and appropriately maintained;
  • ensure that the animals are provided with sufficient floor area and height, appropriate to their size and the intended journey;
  • subject to certain exceptions, ensure that animals are offered an appropriate quantity and quality of water, food and rest at suitable intervals appropriate to their species and size;
  • carry the required transport documentation;
  • ensure that a journey log is completed for journeys of over 8 hours;
  • notify the competent authority of any changes to the planned journey within 15 working days of such changes being made if the journey exceeds 65 km;
  • subject to certain exceptions, to ensure that a person directly in charge of the welfare of the animals accompanies them during the journey;
  • make available a certificate of approval where one is required to the competent authority, if requested;
  • in certain circumstances, to ensure that a navigation system is used and that records are kept and made available to the competent authority, if requested;
  • in certain circumstances, to ensure that the means of transport has been inspected and approved.

Obligations of organisers

Those who organise the transportation of animals are required to:

  • ensure that the welfare of the animals is not compromised by insufficient coordination of the different parts of the journey and that the weather conditions are taken into account;
  • ensure that a person is responsible for providing information on the planning, execution and completion of the journey to a competent authority if requested by them;
  • ensure that a journey log is completed for journeys of over 8 hours.

Obligations of keepers of animals

Keepers of animals transported are required:

  • to ensure that certain rules are complied with;
  • to check all animals arriving at a place of transit or a place of destination and determine if the animals have been subject to a journey of over 8 hours between members state countries or third countries;
  • in certain circumstances, to ensure that a journey log has been completed.

Obligations of assembly centres

Operators of assembly centres are required:

  • to ensure that animals are treated in accordance with certain rules;
  • in the case of assembly centres that are approved in accordance with Community veterinary legislation, to ensure that:
    • the handling of animals is entrusted only to those who have received certain training;
    • people admitted to the assembly centre are regularly informed of their duties and obligations and of any penalties for any infringement;
    • they make permanently available to people admitted to the assembly centre the details of the competent authority to whom any possible infringement of the requirements are to be notified;
    • they take necessary measures to remedy any non-compliance with the rules and to prevent its recurrence;
    • they adopt, monitor and enforce internal rules in order to ensure that the rules are complied with.

Obligations of the competent authorities

The Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the “competent authority” in England, although enforcement of the regulation is generally carried out by local authorities. Competent authorities are required to:

  • grant authorisations and certificates of approval to transporters who meet certain criteria;
  • keep records of any authorisations and certificates of approval granted;
  • carry out certain checks in relation to journeys exceeding 8 hours;
  • ensure that their staff are adequately trained and equipped;
  • carry out inspections of vessels used to transport animals;
  • carry out certain checks at exit points and border inspection posts;
  • ensure that any necessary measures are taken to reduce to the minimum any delay during transport or suffering by animals when unforeseeable circumstances occur;
  • ensure that animals are not detained during transport unless it is strictly necessary for the welfare of the animals or for reasons of public safety;
  • take action against those who fail to comply with the regulations;
  • ensure that the regulations are complied with.