Revision of the animal welfare legislation

Practical information

  1. Composition of the Study group and timeline
  2. Administrator / Assistant in charge: Arturo INIGUEZ / Isabel ANTUNES
  3. Contact

Background

The proposal focusses on four essential elements for better welfare of animals in transport:

  • Limited journey times and more rest breaks. Animals meant for slaughter have a maximum journey time of 9 hours, while currently there is no limit in the duration of the journey to a slaughterhouse (only a requirement to rest for 24 hours in a control post after 24 to 29 hours of journey, depending on the species). For other animals, the maximum journey time is 21 hours, which must include at least 1 hour rest after 10 hours. After this journey, the animals must be given 24 hours of rest outside the vehicle before the continuation of the journey. During rest, the animals must be fed and given water. After the 24h rest period, animals can be transported for one more stage of 21h (including a 1h rest after 10 hours), after which they must reach the final destination.
  • Increased space allowances. The proposal identifies the minimum space that each animal must have, according to weight and species.
  • Enhanced conditions for exports to non-EU countries. The proposal includes a series of new requirements to ensure that EU's updated rules to protect animals during transport will be effectively applied also for export, until destination in the non-EU country. This includes stricter rules for the transport of animals by sea (higher maritime safety standards for the vessels and animal welfare trained staff on board) as well as a new independent audit and certification system for export of animals both by road and by sea.
  • Temperature limits during transport. If temperatures are expected to be between 25°C and 30°C, journeys must be limited to a maximum 9 hours. When day temperatures are above 30°C, transport of animals will only be permitted at night. When the night temperature forecast is above 30°C, animals will be given more space to prevent heat stress. At the same time, when the temperature is expected to be below 0°C, road vehicles have to be covered and the animals must be protected from exposure to windchill. Below -5°C, in addition to the above measures, the journey time shall not exceed 9 hours.

Special provisions are included for vulnerable animals, such as pregnant animals, hens at the end of the production cycle and unweaned calves. There are also separate provisions for cats and dogs kept by breeders, sellers, pet-shops and shelters, including minimum age for transport and additional veterinary health checks, as well as new and more specific requirements for the transport of aquatic animals.