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Food Safety

Animal welfare during transport


Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 defines the responsibilities of all actors, involved in the transport chain of live animals entering or leaving the EU. This includes monitoring tools, inspections and means of transport.

Under this Regulation, EU countries were required to submit to the Commission an annual report on the non-discriminatory inspections together with an analysis of the major deficiencies. In order to reduce the administrative burden on EU countries, the Commission adapted the rules. First, with the Commission Implementing Decision 2013/188/EU which harmonised the model form for the annual reports. Click here to access these reports (2007-2018). Second, in 2017, with Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on Official Controls. Competent authorities of Member States now have to carry out official controls based on a Multi Annual National Control Plan (MANCP).

In May 2020, the Commission announced in the Farm to Fork Strategy that it will, by the end of 2023, revise the animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. This includes the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

The Commission has recently adopted tertiary legislation, namely an implementing act and a delegated act, intended to facilitate the inspections and official controls on livestock vessels. The ultimate goal of these two acts, which work as a package, is to improve the welfare of live animals while transported by sea.

The basic act for the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/372 is Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005. The implementing act provides, among others, for an electronic database where Member States must record the results of inspections performed on livestock vessels. It also requires an official veterinarian to be on board a livestock vessel during its first journey to make sure the equipment is in good working order. Seaports must also have a control post in their vicinity to facilitate resting of animals should this be necessary.

The basic act for the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/842 is Regulation (EU) 2017/625. This act further specifies current rules on official controls on livestock vessels, such as documentary checks, inspections performed by both veterinarians and maritime engineers, and checks on contingency plans, among others.