Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 currently 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.
Compliance with the Regulation should be ensured through official controls, performed by the Member States’ competent authorities in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on Official Controls. The outcome of those controls should every year be reported to the Commission, by using the harmonised model form established in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/723.
In February 2023, the Commission 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.
Revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005
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 included the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on protection of animals during transport.
On 7 December 2023, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation of the Council and European Parliament on the protection of animals during transport to replace Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005. The proposal focusses on the following main objectives, which are essential for the good welfare of animals in transport:
- reduce animal welfare problems linked to long journeys and repetitive unloading and re-loading linked to several rest periods;
- ensure that animals have more space when transported;
- improve the conditions of transport of vulnerable animals;
- avoid exposing animals to extreme temperatures;
- facilitate enforcement of EU rules on the protection of animals, including trough digitalisation;
- better protect animals exported to non-EU countries.
In line with the EU's digital agenda, the proposal also provides for greater use of modern technologies. For example, the use of positioning systems for trucks will enable better targeted and more efficient controls. Digitalisation will also reduce the use of paper and substantially reduce the administrative burden on business operators.
The legislative proposal is based on a series of scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and on a comprehensive and robust assessment by the Commission of the animal welfare, economic, environmental and social impacts of the main changes included in this proposal. The impact assessment was assessed positively by the European Commission's regulatory scrutiny board, and is accompanied by two supporting studies, from external contractors. One of these two supporting studies, on the modelling of packages of policy options, has been performed together with the Commission's Joint Research Centre. The work of the sub-group on animal transport under the EU Platform on animal welfare also contributed to this process.
Links to the impact assessment supporting the proposal of revision of the Regulation on the protection of animals during transport
- Executive summary of the impact assessment
- Impact assessment SWD
- Annexes to the impact assessment SWD
- External study: Study supporting the impact assessment accompanying the revision of the EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport
- External study: Modelling of policy options to support the Impact Assessment accompanying the revision of the EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport
- Q&As Memo on the Transport of Animals
- Factsheet on Animal Welfare in Transport
Other recent studies
In 2015, the European Commission launched a three-year Pilot Project aiming at improving animal welfare during transport by developing and disseminating Guides to Good and Best Practice for the transport of the main livestock species.
In September 2017, the contractor of the project published on the Project websitefive extensive guides to good practices (in English), 17 technical fact sheets focusing on the most practical information (available in eight EU languages) and five videos (one per species, available in eight languages).
This publication was followed by a road show in eight Member States and presenting the guidelines to the professionals concerned (transporters, drivers, farmers, official veterinarians, etc.).
Have a look at the Leaflet for drivers, on the EU rules on animal welfare during transport (available in BG, CZ, DE, FR, EN, HU and PL languages)!
- Brexit: Notice to stakeholders withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules for the transport of live animals
- List of approved control posts
- EFSA scientific opinions on animal welfare during transport
- Audit inspection reports
- Inspection reports from EU countries - 2007-2018
- Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport
- Report on protection of animals during transport
- Community standards on staging points (summaries of EU legislation)
- Animal welfare during transport (summaries of EU legislation)