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Food Safety

Protection of animals during transport

Current legislation

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.

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.

Animal Transport Guides

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 five 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.).