Full text 
Procedure : 2021/2736(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0057/2022

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 20/01/2022 - 7
CRE 20/01/2022 - 7

Votes :

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 192kWORD 72k
Thursday, 20 January 2022 - Strasbourg
Protection of animals during transport

European Parliament recommendation of 20 January 2022 to the Council and the Commission following the investigation of alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to the protection of animals during transport within and outside the Union (2021/2736(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 13 and 226 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament’s right of inquiry(1),

–  having regard to its Decision (EU) 2020/1089 of 19 June 2020 on setting up a committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to the protection of animals during transport within and outside the Union, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations(3),

–  having regard to the Aquatic Animal Health Code 2015 of the World Organisation for Animal Health, chapter 7.2, Welfare Of Farmed Fish During Transport,

–  having regard to the guidelines of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare of 3 November 2020 on the commercial movement of cats and dogs by land,

–  having regard to the draft recommendation of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport within and outside the Union,

–  having regard to the final report of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport within and outside the Union (A9-0350/2021),

–  having regard to Rule 208(12) of its Rules of Procedure,

General findings

1.  Stresses that all the conditions necessary to guarantee animal welfare during transport must be ensured at all times for all animals transported, regardless of their species, age, category or physical condition, the means of transport used, the length of the journey, or the place of destination, including third countries; notes that farmers generally have a particular interest in ensuring that animals arrive at their destination in the best possible condition;

2.  Calls on the Commission to take into account the report and recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport when undertaking its fitness check of animal welfare legislation, notably Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

3.  Stresses that the Union and its Member States are convinced that animals are sentient beings with special needs that should be taken into account, in accordance with Article 13 TFEU;

4.  Notes that every year millions of live animals are transported within Member States and to third countries over long distances for breeding, rearing, further fattening and slaughter;

5.  Stresses that EU citizens are increasingly keen to see compliance with animal welfare standards, especially in live animal transport;

6.  Agrees with the European Court of Auditors that although the EU has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, they are not implemented adequately throughout all Member States(4); insists that these standards only become effective if they are fully enforced, implemented in a harmonised manner, and reflect the latest scientific knowledge; considers that the EU needs to step up its efforts to ensure that animal welfare during transport is fully respected in every Member State at all times and by every party concerned, from the place of origin to the final destination; stresses that malpractice is not present across the whole industry; recognises that the transport of live animals currently plays a vital role in the economic and social dimension of some rural areas, in particular those which are predominantly agricultural, more remote or depopulated;

7.  Stresses that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged the paucity of scientific literature on animal welfare(5) and urges the Commission and the Member States to promote the generation of scientific studies that increase knowledge and facilitate better guarantees of animal welfare in Europe;

8.  Stresses that the EU must work to create the necessary conditions that would allow a fair and adequate period of transition to a more efficient, economical and ethical system that favours the transport of semen or embryos over breeding stock, and carcasses and meat rather than animals being transited to slaughter, wherever possible;

9.  Notes that the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 are not aligned with the Farm to Fork strategy and welcomes the Commission’s proposed fitness check of EU legislation as part of the strategy; stresses that the revised Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 should be aligned with the Farm to Fork strategy; underlines that moving towards the replacement, as far as possible, of the transport of live animals with the transport of carcasses and meat products and of genetic material would be in line with the strategy’s main objective of building more resilient and sustainable short food supply chains which are less dependent on long-haul animal transport; considers, moreover, that the transport of germinal products, which take up less space, can reduce the environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption; further believes that a focus on small farms and regional networks of slaughterhouses can contribute to reducing animal transport as part of attaining the goal of a resilient, sustainable food system which affords farmers decent living standards; notes that the Farm to Fork strategy recalls the importance of moving towards a more healthy, plant-based, balanced and sustainable food consumption;

10.  Calls on the Commission to urgently present, and no later than 2023, an action plan clearly identifying the driving forces behind animal transport and proposing concrete policy actions, including regulatory actions, and setting a precise timeline and milestones, with the aim of mitigating those forces, and reducing the need to transport live animals enabling the replacement of live transport by a meat, carcasses and genetic material trade as much as possible; recalls the need to minimise the socioeconomic impacts of such a change, by directing different funds, including from the common agricultural policy (CAP), for this objective, and by providing the correct incentives to encourage and enable farmers and transporters to perform this transition efficiently; insists that the transition is possible only if multidisciplinary action going beyond Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 is adopted to facilitate and support the transition, so that it takes place smoothly and in a socially conscious way;

11.  Underlines the advantages of transporting genetic material (semen and embryos) in spreading the genetic improvement of some species; recalls, however, that the transport of animals can contribute to a wider genetic pool on farms, for example in third countries, and notes that in some cases, species’ natural mating and/or maternal lines need to be transported from nucleus, ‘multiplication’ units and farms to other farms; recalls that this transport is still important for small-scale and family-run farm livelihoods in the EU; points out, furthermore, that CAP and other funds need to be used to develop and stimulate new technologies, and innovations on handling and transporting genetic material and to support breeders;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop strategies on how to cut the number of stages of transport that livestock have to endure by reducing the division into breeding, fattening and slaughtering establishments, establishing ‘closed containment systems’, reducing the distances between these establishments, and re-introducing a more regional approach to livestock breeding;

13.  Reminds the Member States that according to established case-law(6), they are permitted to introduce stricter national rules for the protection of animals during transport as long as they are in line with the main objective of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

14.  Considers that operators in the sector and all parties involved in the transport of live animals, including farmers, need to have a clear set of rules and definitions to abide by, predictability, and adequate transition periods to implement changes; calls on the Commission to take this into account when revising and proposing a new regulation;

15.  Calls on the Commission to carefully revise the definitions of place of departure and place of destination in order to reflect the actual times of the whole transport process from the farm of origin to the farm of destination or place of slaughter, including the time spent at assembly centres, and in order to prevent the circumvention of specific rules on journey times and of bans on transport to certain countries by re-routing transport through other Member States or third countries;

16.  Considers that a clearer and more explicit responsibility for animal welfare in the EU institutions would be of great importance to improve the enforcement of existing legislation on animal welfare, the identification of relevant gaps, and the elaboration of proposals needed to provide effective responses when necessary;

17.  Calls on the Commission to dedicate funds from existing programmes, including Pillar II funds from the CAP, and to envisage new funding instruments in the upcoming financial instruments devoted to more dedicated scientific research and evidence, providing adequate training to all those involved in animal transport, including officials and drivers, to improving animal welfare during transport, as well as to build slaughter facilities, including mobile ones, in regions with high concentrations of animals, improving transport time and quality, and also livelihoods in rural areas and measures promoting a shift to a meat, carcasses and genetic material transport; reiterates the importance of regional value chains for animal welfare;

18.  Calls for the upcoming CAP reform to maintain and reinforce the link between increased CAP payments and improved animal welfare conditions which fully abide by or go beyond the standards of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

19.  Calls on the Commission to develop campaigns and initiatives to properly inform EU citizens and increase their awareness of animal welfare on farms and during transport, of the need to improve and properly enforce EU standards and support those working in the animal transport industry to help them raise standards, and of the economic and social implications of transporting live animals; considers that the primary aim is to instil greater confidence in consumers of the high value and quality of the European agricultural and food sector by providing better and transparent communication, be it directly from farmers or indirectly through the EU institutions;

20.  Stresses that public awareness and understanding of animal welfare in food production are significantly improved by providing information in schools and launching advertising campaigns;

21.  Cautions that changes to Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 have stronger impacts on regions such as the outermost regions, namely due to their remoteness, insularity and small size, among other factors; insists that pursuant to Article 349 TFEU, the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions must be taken into account when applying common policies thereto, including Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

22.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to grant special protection to individuals working in the transport sector or those carrying out veterinary checks when they observe and report infringements of animal protection legislation during their work;

23.  Welcomes the efforts to develop a uniform certification mark for animal welfare within the Union, which should include the aspect of transport and be based on harmonised and technically sound criteria;

24.  Calls for an animal welfare certification mark to include information about production methods and a selection of scientifically substantiated animal welfare indicators relating, inter alia, to farming systems and transport;

25.  Calls on the Commission to extend the list of environmental crimes in order to include the violation of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 resulting in the acts of cruelty, serious injury and abandonment;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to revise Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 in order to ensure that drivers do not need to decide between following the rules and safeguarding the welfare of animals, namely of the need to stop and rest which can sometimes come at the detriment of the welfare of the animals;

27.  Calls for responsibility for animal welfare to be made explicit in the title of the relevant EU Commissioner and the name of the relevant Commission Directorate-General in order to reflect the significance of this issue for European citizens and ensure that enough political attention is accorded to it;

28.  Recalls that animal welfare is linked to food security in the medium and long term through its contribution to resilience, resource efficiency and social equality;

29.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to explore the possibility of introducing a transparent and harmonised animal welfare labelling system for animal and animal-derived products, which should also take into account transport and slaughter conditions;

Enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005

30.  Urges all Member States, especially those where regulatory enforcement is particularly lacking, and the Commission, to take all the necessary steps to improve implementation and enforcement and the full application of the existing regulatory framework, including by establishing a rigorous and harmonised control procedure at EU level; notes that the existing legislation on animal transport is implemented differently from one Member State to another; considers that the main way of addressing some of the animal welfare issues during transport in a harmonised way across the EU, which should factor in the latest scientific research, knowledge and recommendations, is through a revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, aiming for implementable and enforceable provisions for all animals being transported;

31.  Notes that strict checks on animal transport from third countries can reduce unfair competition at the expense of EU producers and encourage third countries to improve their animal transport standards;

32.  Calls on all Member States to adopt stricter national measures to improve animal welfare during transport;

33.  Acknowledges the Commission’s commitment to revise animal welfare legislation, including Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, in order to align it with the latest scientific knowledge, recommendations and practical experience, and to broaden its scope, make it easier to enforce and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare; stresses that animal welfare would be improved if the legislation on the transport of live animals is implemented properly;

34.  Underlines that many of the current problems with the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 are due to differing interpretations and calls on the Commission, when proposing a revision of the regulation, to set clear, measurable and quantifiable standards in order to achieve harmonised enforcement across the EU, as well as innovative indicators based on animal welfare; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to consider the most recent scientific knowledge, including the forthcoming EFSA assessment on the welfare of animals during transport in the EU;

35.  Urges the Commission to accompany its revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 with an ex ante impact assessment based on a rigorous scientific investigation into the impact of transport on animals of all species and ages and on an in-depth socioeconomic, environmental and health impact assessment taking into account the diversity of geographical situations and specificities, including islands, remote and outermost regions, and farming models across the Union; calls on the Commission to make the results of these assessments swiftly available to the public in order to give farmers the certainty and predictability they need to plan and give them time to learn how to adapt to new regulations, without compromising animal welfare;

36.  Calls for a transparent EU monitoring and reporting system to make both the Member States and the Commission fully accountable for the implementation and enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and ensure that violations are tackled and mitigated effectively;

37.  Notes that slaughtering animals and processing meat close to the place of rearing not only contributes to animal welfare, by limiting journey times, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions;

38.  Notes that the disappearance of local slaughterhouses, which is a factor in longer journey times, is an issue that the Union and the Member States must address; calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up funding mechanisms to ensure that local slaughterhouses are economically viable, close to farms and evenly distributed from a geographical perspective;

39.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the development of on-farm slaughter, using mobile slaughterhouses, in order to remove the need to transport live animals wherever possible;

40.  Is aware of the paucity of scientific literature on animal welfare during transport and strongly encourages the Commission and the Member States to facilitate more updated scientific knowledge on this topic;

41.  Calls on the Commission to consider the issue of animals that are no longer fit for transport when revising the rules and to seek expertise to find solutions for how to deal with it;

42.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop harmonised procedures for approving transport and to take steps to prevent the spread of infectious animal diseases during transport, both within the Union and from third countries;

43.  Calls on the Commission to exercise stronger enforcement powers when faced with recurrent and repeated violations of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and to initiate infringement proceedings and apply effective sanctions against Member States that fail to apply the regulation correctly; considers that sanctions should have as their main purpose the rectification of existing problems and have a dissuasive effect against future infringements;

44.  Calls on the Member States to properly train and hire enough official veterinarians and police officers to ensure effective and frequent on-the-road checks, and to guarantee the presence of a veterinarian during loading before each journey;

45.  Calls on the Member States and transporters to promote and fully apply the Commission-endorsed EU animal transport guides by the entry into force of the revised Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, which aim to establish best practices to support the industry in improving the welfare of animals during transport; calls on the Commission to promote the translation of the guides into all EU official languages, encourage exchanges of experiences in the field, and promote existing best practices and guidelines to help the competent authorities and actors involved in the transport of live animals to better implement and abide by animal welfare standards;

46.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the guidelines are updated according to the latest scientific evidence and are in line with Regulation (EC) No 1/2005; recalls, however, that guidelines designed to fill gaps in the legislation are not legally binding and calls on the Commission to include provisions to properly protect species that are poorly covered by the legislation, such as poultry, rabbits and fish;

47.  Considers that adequate training and continuous learning for any authorised person working in the animal transport sector is an essential requirement to safeguard the well-being of animals during transport; insists, therefore, on the development of a mandatory harmonised training system for all persons involved in animal transport operations, which should be a prerequisite for the authorisation of transport; demands, furthermore, that this training include all aspects of the transport process, such as the means of transport, the type and nature of the journey, the appropriate handling of animals and the decision-making process regarding fitness-for-transport assessments and requirements relating to the animal’s species, category, age, body condition, behaviour, physiology and stress-coping mechanisms;

48.  Urges the Member States to ensure that training to obtain the certificate of competence be specific to species, category and age and valid for a maximum of five years, and that a mandatory refresher course be set in order to obtain its renewal;

49.  Urges the Member States to provide specific training for rescue workers on how to rescue animals and to ensure that rescue workers who respond to accidents be allowed to access the sites, vehicles and vessels involved in order to carry out their work;

50.  Calls on the Commission, when adopting delegated acts under Regulation (EU) 2017/625(7), to ensure that the enforcement provisions provided for in the regulation and its delegated acts are at least as stringent as those due for repeal;

Authorisation procedures and approval of means of transport

51.  Insists that the provisions on the timing and means of transport must always consider the species-specific and physiological status of the animal, the number of animals to be transported and also the breed variation within species, sex and the age of the animals; stresses that the transport methods used should always respect the physiological, behavioural and mental needs and well-being of the animal;

52.  Calls for the insertion of the requirements of the International Air Transport Association for the intra- and extra-EU transport of animals, including zoo animals, into Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

53.  Insists that space allowances, stocking densities and headroom provisions need to be aligned with the most recent scientific data and the relevant EU regulation on the maximum weight and height of trucks, with rules to be set out in the regulation in a precise way that removes ambiguity, leaves no room for differing interpretations, and takes species-specific needs into account; calls for more studies to be conducted on these issues; calls on the Member States to ensure that the internal height of transport vehicles meets the minimum standards;

54.  Recalls EFSA’s recommendation to use allometric equations when defining space allowances for cattle, sheep and pigs and the area per kg for horses; believes that using these more objective calculations will improve animal welfare standards and promote a more consistent interpretation by transporters and controlling authorities;

55.  Considers that more scientific evidence is needed to achieve better solutions and bring about improvements in the design of the means of transport, including loading and unloading equipment, taking into account species- and category-specific as well as physiological, behaviour, and age requirements and breed variations within species; believes that such transport design should also be based on the geographical conditions of an area and the fact that small farms often have to transport individual animals or a number of animals of a different species at the same time; emphasises that the quality of the environment in animal transport vehicles is very important for animal welfare;

56.  Consider that a better design of the means of transport and shorter transport distances are needed in order to prevent the transmission of diseases, bearing in mind the serious threat of antimicrobial resistance;

57.  Calls on the Commission to define and propose a set of harmonised criteria and minimum standards developed in conjunction with an EU-wide expert panel, comprising veterinarians including qualified professionals from the relevant non-governmental organisations, technical engineers, maritime authorities, hauliers, manufacturers and members of the competent authorities, which could be used by the competent national authorities when approving all means of animal transport and containers;

58.  Calls for the creation of an EU-wide centralised system for vessel approval under a uniform procedure, in view of the multidisciplinary nature of vessel certifications involving engineers and veterinarians alike; considers it fundamental that the recommendations of the network document on the approval and inspection of livestock vessels(8) should be implemented in all Member States; considers it a matter of urgency to prevent vessels from operating under a different name and thus requesting new licences, especially when they have been involved in serious violations of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

59.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen monitoring of compliance with maritime safety standards by livestock vessels; calls on the Member States, in particular, to be more stringent in their vessel certification procedures;

60.  Notes that the Member States should not authorise the use of vehicles and vessels transporting animals that do not comply with the provisions of the Regulation (EC) No 1/2005; calls on the Member States to be more rigorous in both the certification and approval procedures for vehicles and vessels and in granting certificates of competence to drivers; calls on the Member States to be more rigorous in rejecting certification and approvals in case of non-compliance and to withdraw authorisations that have already been issued, where necessary; calls on the Commission to be more rigorous in sanctioning Member States that approve means of transport that are not in line with animals’ welfare needs;

61.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that there are no gaps between the floor or vehicle wall and the partitions in transport vehicles;

62.  Calls on Member States to create the conditions in order to ensure that engineers are able to support appropriately veterinarians or other authorised persons with certification during the approval of means of transport in relation to specific items, such as ventilation systems, air conditioning and heating, water and feeding supplies, water quality monitoring and maintenance equipment and vessels’ emergency systems, as well as the associated primary power sources;

63.  Considers that the equipping of means of transport with a CCTV system, for long-haul journeys, with a particular focus on the loading and unloading operations, should be mandatory for the sake of animal welfare protection and in order to safeguard operators who comply with the rules from unfair competition; stresses that data protection and privacy rights, including those not involved in the transport of animals who may unknowingly be recorded, must be ensured by the competent authorities throughout the entire process; considers that carriers must keep the videos recorded for a set period and make them available to the competent authorities upon request;

64.  Considers that the contingency plans presented by transporters should cover all types of incidents and emergency scenarios that may occur during transport, whether natural or as a result of human action, including remedying mechanical problems, managing delays, setting alternative routes if necessary, and ensuring a necessary supply of food and water, among other aims; considers that the contingency plans must be adapted to reflect the specificities of each journey; considers it essential that clear rules are set that prohibit the authorisation of transport that includes unrealistic, implausible or missing emergency plans and calls on the Member States to refuse any journey log that lacks a credible or complete contingency plan;

65.  Calls on the Commission to prohibit transport where it is impossible to unload, shelter, feed or water animals at border crossings and ports or other hazardous key places;

66.  Calls on the Member States and their competent authorities to properly inspect loading operations as required by Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

Controls and data collection and exchange

67.  Urges the Commission to rapidly develop a central database of authorised transporters and certificates of competence in the EU; calls for the publication of an annual report on breaches of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and the sanctions applied, which should also be taken into account for the future regulation; considers that the certificates of competence should be in a uniform, multilingual format to be defined by EU legislation; calls on the Commission to draw up a European certification scheme for freighters and their crews, ensuring that the former are sufficiently equipped and the latter sufficiently trained for the transport of live animals; calls on the Commission to compile a list of operators that are culpable of serious and frequent breaches of the regulation, which should be updated regularly and shared with the national authorities;

68.  Calls on the Member States to improve and enforce a more effective, transparent and systematic use of the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) and to take advantage of its new features in order to improve the targeting of their inspections and/or audits based on risk assessment, to support the preparation of risk analyses for live animal transport controls by the Member States, and to ensure effective plausibility checks when approving journey logs and performing retrospective checks; calls on the Commission to ensure easy access to the TRACES platform, granting wider access for all authorised users and making it easily accessible to competent authorities, and to help harmonise procedures between the Member States; calls on Member States to ensure better training for operators using the system; considers that TRACES should be used for all transport involving maritime travel;

69.  Highlights the need to simplify the processes of journey log planning; calls for a rapid transition from paper journey logs to digital journey logs which, once approved by an official veterinarian, should be sent to the competent authorities and accessible by the competent authorities of all Member States; calls on the Member States to ensure that the competent authorities verify that the journey logs contain realistic information, thereby complying with Article 14(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, and to ensure that the transport planning includes proof of a reservation at a control post, including feed and water;

70.  Calls on the Commission to establish a minimum common framework on the number of checks on animal transport journeys, ensuring that the number of national and EU checks are proportionate to the number of animals departing from each Member State; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to propose control options which do not involve additional bureaucratic obstacles that could jeopardise the welfare of the animals intended for transport or the uniformity of controls throughout the Union; considers that Member States should put in place control systems that verify the existence, quality and implementation of risk analyses when delegating controls to other authorities;

71.  Stresses that the expansion of regional slaughterhouses should be promoted and on-farm slaughtering should be approved in order to avoid long-distance transport and thereby further improve the welfare of livestock;

72.  Stresses that the action plans presented by the Member States to address deficiencies detected in the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 must contain concrete initiatives with strict timelines for their completion; calls on the Commission to carry out thorough follow-up of the plans in order to guarantee that the actions are completed and the objectives are fully accomplished; underlines that the Member States have the possibility to impose strict rules to ensure the welfare of live animals during transport;

73.  Calls on the Commission to propose and establish a harmonised and effective EU-wide sanctions system, with a definition of common minimum criteria for sanctions for infringements to the regulation, in order to lay the foundations for an effective, proportionate and dissuasive system across the EU, and to take into account within the sanction system the nature, gravity, scale and duration of the infringement, and the occurrence of previous infringements;

74.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that their national police forces be trained to actively identify any infringements of EU animal transport legislation;

75.  Stresses the need for uniform training of police forces across the Member States to ensure proper controls at all stages of journeys;

76.  Calls on the Commission to propose measures to ensure comprehensive and uniform inspections of compliance with transport rules to prevent animal dumping in the Union;

77.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a procedure to quickly withdraw the licences of companies that commit serious and repeated infringements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, which also lead to unfair competition;

78.  Calls for animal-based welfare indicators such as physical, physiological and behavioural indexes (i.e. based on observations of the animals), as well as the possible use of wearable monitors and biochemical markers: to be incorporated into Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, and to be used by the competent authorities and the Commission for data collection purposes, veterinary inspectors, and transporters and operators under commercial conditions; considers that such tools would be necessary to assess animal well-being before, during and after transport; notes that some such indicators already exist, while others are being developed by European reference centres, but stresses the need for further research and data collection in the field;

79.  Considers that real-time access to satellite navigation systems and temperature recordings is fundamental for the competent authorities and transporters at any point in a journey; considers that means of transport should be equipped with more up-to-date control systems monitored by the competent authorities, including temperature and humidity index measurements inside and outside the vehicle, water supply information and the recording of loading and unloading operations; recalls that data protection and privacy rights must be ensured by the competent authorities throughout the entire process;

80.  Insists that the competent authorities must be granted real-time access to original electronic data by the organiser or transporter, from the dispatch of the consignment at the place of departure until the animals are unloaded at the place of destination, to ensure access to data that cannot be manipulated;

81.  Calls on the Member States to carry out unannounced controls through the competent authorities of the planning and implementation of animal transport;

82.  Stresses that intra-EU consignments should also be inspected at loading; demands that the competent authorities should check at loading to ensure that the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on floor space and headroom are observed, that the ventilation and water systems are operating properly, that the drinking devices are working properly and are appropriate for the species being carried, that no unfit animals are loaded, and that sufficient feed and bedding is provided;

83.  For animal welfare reasons, urges the Member States to carry out retrospective controls to check if the animals had been unloaded for the whole resting time required by EU legislation; calls on the Commission to give a clear order to the Member States to make competent authorities act in a harmonised way so as not to authorise any transport where retrospective controls are not regularly performed;

Journey times and resting periods

84.  Recommends the establishment of an EU-wide species-based procedure for recording feeding and watering frequency from the last feed before loading in the farm of origin through to the end of the journey, without causing additional delays or added stress either during stops or loading or unloading; insists that the Commission take measures to ensure that Member States properly sanction infringements where journey times are exceeded;

85.  Calls on the Member States to inspect intra-EU transport when animals are loaded onto vehicles in order to verify compliance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

86.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that there is a sufficient number of accessible, clean and functioning drinking facilities in keeping with the needs of each species of animal, that the water tank has been filled, and there is sufficient quantity of fresh litter;

87.  Recommends that, in future legislation, journey time for domestic animals going to slaughter should, in principle, not exceed eight hours, while taking into consideration the specific geographical characteristics of some regions, such as islands, outermost regions, remote regions, and areas where infrastructure is underdeveloped; stresses that the maximum journey time must apply to all means of transport, except transport by sea;

88.  Insists that the provisions regarding the maximum length of the journey should be revisited, to integrate evidence from existing and ongoing scientific studies and taking animal-based evidence and species, age, and category-specific needs into account;

89.  Calls for existing EU funds to be set aside to provide financial support for small-scale, local and collective mobile slaughterhouses and processing units so that animals can be slaughtered on farms or as close as possible to their place of rearing; strongly encourages alternative strategies to long-distance transport, such as building local and economically viable slaughtering and processing facilities in more locations, incentivised and supported by EU funds where appropriate, as well as legislative initiatives in the Member States to facilitate on-farm slaughter; calls on the Member States to allow emergency slaughtering directly on livestock and fattening farms, where appropriate, in the event that an animal is found to be unfit to be transported;

90.  Recommends that the Member States create fast lanes for animal transport at borders within the EU in order to reduce journey times;

91.  Calls for a definition of ‘journey time’ as the entire time of movement excluding the time of loading into a means of transport, and unloading from the means of transport, once arrived at the final destination; calls on the competent authorities to check whether planned loading/unloading times are realistic, proportionate to the number of animals to be loaded or unloaded, and accurately declared in the journey log; deems it important, moreover, to adopt measures to prevent ‘assembly centre hopping’ aimed at circumventing journey limits to the final destination;

92.  Recommends that the Commission consider science-based evidence to improve the quality of all live animal transport, focusing on the associated negative aspects which are the cause of welfare issues, such as fitness for transport, feeding and watering, rest periods and the thermal environment, while differentiating between the means of transport where relevant;

93.  Calls on the Commission to include provisions in the revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the selection of the shortest, most suitable route to the final destination;

Temperature during transport

94.  Calls on the Member States to ensure optimal temperatures inside vehicles for the species transported at all times during the journey, whether the means of transport is stationary or moving and whatever the outside temperature; calls on the Member States, furthermore, to strictly apply the minimum and maximum temperature inside the means of transport as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1/2005; considers that the Member States should only grant approval of a journey, journey logs and travel plans when the temperatures are forecasted to be within the range of 5 ºC and 30 ºC, for the duration of the whole journey, regardless of the type of transport used, unless the means of transport used is equipped with climate control systems capable of maintaining the temperatures within the appropriate range;

95.  Acknowledges that animals’ body heat can increase temperatures within a means of transport, leading to potentially higher temperatures inside than outside;

96.  Calls on the Member States to perform additional and adequate controls during heat waves and calls for studies to be undertaken to fill knowledge gaps on the impact of temperatures on animal welfare;

97.  Calls on the Commission to make it clear that the rule on vehicle temperature applies at any point during a journey until the final destination; insists that the Commission should ensure, including through legal action, that Member States do not disregard this rule;

98.  Calls for the development of a uniform weather forecasting system based on data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in order to simplify the plausibility check carried out by official veterinarians;

99.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the transport vehicles comply with the minimum space requirements of Chapter VII of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and that, accordingly, animals are allowed more space at high temperatures;

100.  Considers it essential to develop more specific rules in the future on the optimal temperature ranges in transport vehicles, taking account of different needs specific to species, age and category, as well as the physiological status of the animal, intra-species breed variations, age, sex and environmental adaptations, and the temperature regulation of the animals; considers that the approved temperature range should be based on effective temperature, namely the combination of temperature and humidity; recommends, moreover, the recording of the temperature, humidity and ammonia by controlling devices placed in the different compartments of the means of transport regardless of whether the transport takes place via sea, air or road; stresses that the temperature monitoring instruments must be inspected, calibrated and certified by the competent national authorities;

Fitness for transport and categories of vulnerable animals: unweaned, gestating and end‑of-career animals

101.  Considers that more research is required to identify the appropriate feed, feeding and rumination intervals, thermoregulation, resting needs and physical capacity to tolerate transport without harm for all animal species and categories being transported; believes that animal welfare should be the primary concern and that knowledge gaps should be filled through increased scientific research;

102.  Considers that more research needs to be focused on improving knowledge about the special and specific transport needs of young and unweaned animals, in particular in relation to optimal journey time, according to the means of transport used, optimal space allowance, the right age, appropriate drinking devices, appropriate milk replacers, proper feeding management in collection centres, feeding intervals during transport and optimal conditions for raising the animals at the farm of origin, and the assessment of the fitness of animals for transport that needs to be properly ensured;

103.  Calls for the definition of unweaned animals to be clarified to specify those animals that are incapable of taking on sufficient solid feed and water independently and with a clear minimum age in weeks, according to the species and taking into account the most recent scientific knowledge on the immune systems and feeding needs of these animals;

104.  Calls on the Commission to introduce, supported by peer reviewed scientific studies, journey time limits for unweaned animals; considers that the transport of unweaned animals should be avoided and not allowed for calves below four weeks, except in the case of transport carried out by farmers for a distance of less than 50 km; considers that the transport limitation for these animals needs to be strongly considered in the future regulation, also taking into account the need for actions to ensure that all animals receive proper care at the farm of origin;

105.  Calls on the Member States to promote mobile slaughterhouses in remote areas, particularly in mountain and island areas; recalls that such mobile slaughterhouses would improve the welfare of injured animals that cannot be transported to slaughterhouses and would promote direct sales;

106.  Recommends that the Commission provide EFSA with a mandate to develop common mandatory EU guidelines for assessing whether animals are fit for transport in order to ensure a harmonised approach across the EU; believes, in addition, that the use of these guidelines must be checked and linked to sanction systems;

107.  Recognises the differences between the transport of animals by road and by sea; calls for further research to better understand the effects of each mode of transport on animal welfare;

108.  Considers that the particularly difficult geographical situation of the island and outermost regions means that local rearing and short supply chains should be encouraged in order to reduce the journey time of animals;

109.  Calls on the Member States to promote mobile slaughterhouses in island areas, in particular in the outermost regions; notes that the use of such mobile slaughterhouses considerably reduces the road and sea transport of live animals in those regions;

110.  Stresses the vulnerability of gestating females, which have very specific biological needs and are particularly vulnerable in transport, which can cause miscarriages or birthing during the journey, with risk of death of the mother or young animal; considers that transport of gestating animals should be avoided and believes that the transport of pregnant animals in the last third of gestation should be restricted to a maximum of four hours, given that they are at greater risk of suffering poor welfare during transport; calls for more research to be undertaken to develop more accurate methods for determining gestational age and assessing fitness for transport according to the stage of gestation; calls on the Member States’ authorities to be highly vigilant to ensure that unfit animals are not transported, in particular pregnant females above the maximum gestation period allowed by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

111.  Considers that the risks of lower levels of protection of vulnerable animals, with less economic value, particularly animals at the end of their productive life, is very real and this should therefore be factored into the revision of the provisions, along with avoiding long-distance transport of these animals, because of the difficulty to assess their fitness, as well as their ability to cope with transport; considers that the transport of end-of-career animals should only be permitted to the closest available species-appropriate slaughterhouse; calls on the Commission to promote initiatives and investments to enhance the network of mobile, local and regional slaughterhouses, in order to ensure that a maximum limit of four hours’ transport of end-of-career animals can be attained in the future;

112.  Insists that in the case of animals getting ill or being injured during transport, drivers must immediately warn a veterinarian, and the animals concerned must be considered ‘unfit’ for transport, separated from the other animals and receive first aid treatment;

Species not adequately covered by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005

113.  Recommends that the Commission devise legislative proposals on the basis of the latest scientific knowledge on the needs of fish and other aquatic animals and on transport methods in order to minimise their suffering during transport; stresses that the new provisions should provide a detailed checklist for pre-transport planning and preparation, specific provisions concerning water quality parameters, density, handling during loading and unloading, and post-transport welfare controls; calls on the Commission to ensure that the guidelines it publishes are updated on the basis of the latest scientific evidence and are in line with Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and calls for specific requirements for the commercial movement of fish; stresses, furthermore, that specific training and certification should be provided regarding fish transportation;

114.  Calls on the Commission to include provisions within Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 to properly protect species not already adequately covered by the legislation; reminds that guidelines to fill legislative gaps, namely on specific species, are not legally binding and calls on the Commission to include provisions to properly protect species poorly covered in the legislation, such as poultry and rabbits; calls, furthermore, for species-specific provisions in the following cases, including, where relevant, maximum journey times according to reason for transport; considers that specific containers for poultry are required, allowing the birds to stand in their natural position and to have enough air circulating above their heads, with rules for a proper handling, particularly when being caught before transport; notes that the lack of provisions in the regulation concerning rabbits results sometimes in the inadequate use of poultry containers for the transport of rabbits; considers that the transport of poultry and rabbits should only be permitted to the closest available species-appropriate slaughterhouse; calls on the Commission to promote initiatives and investments to enhance the network of mobile, local and regional slaughterhouses, in order to ensure that a maximum limit of four hours’ transport of these animals can be attained in the future;

115.  Highlights the urgent need to assess the most recent scientific information on the welfare of companion animals during transport; considers that more research is required on the needs of companion animals in line with the provision in Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 regarding the publication of EFSA opinions on the needs of cats and dogs; calls on the Commission to introduce detailed provisions on the commercial movement of companion animals based on the current scientific knowledge, paying particular attention to the separation of animals and space allowances, stacking, bedding, a suitable temperature and humidity range to ensure animal welfare, as well as proper training for the personnel responsible for handling and transporting the animals;

116.  Highlights the urgent need to assess the most recent scientific information on the needs and welfare of horses during transport; expects the Commission to take these species into account by proposing species-specific requirements in the revised Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

Specific provisions on transport by sea

117.  Calls for measures enabling a shift to a meat, carcasses and genetic material trade, where appropriate, that could replace the need for sea transport; urges the Commission to improve and clarify the provisions on maritime transport, in particular on the authorisation process, the definition and identification of organisers and transporters and of their obligations, in order to establish a clear chain of responsibility and transparent communication between farmers, transporters and veterinarians with the competent authorities; calls for the introduction of dissuasive measures, including financial penalties, to prevent dead animals from being discarded in the sea or on transport routes in accordance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the Marpol Convention);

118.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that proper and sufficient facilities are in place within 30 km of borders or ports in order to unload, feed and water animals and allow them to rest properly, thereby safeguarding animal well-being when delays occur; calls on the Member States to not approve transport in case of absence of such facilities;

119.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a list of ports with adequate animal inspection facilities based on information from the Member States and appropriate monitoring by the Commission;

120.  Calls for Member States to ensure that such facilities are actually used, when unloading is required, before the loading of animals on vessels and that animals are not kept inside trucks for long periods while waiting for loading on a vessel;

121.  Calls on the Member States, moreover, to cooperate better in planning livestock transport in order to prevent excessive build-ups at border controls;

122.  Notes the need to look into opportunities for improving the quality of sea transport for high-health breeding animals and allowing them to rest in the vehicle where unloading them might compromise their health status;

123.  Calls on the border or port Member States, which are responsible for checking road vehicles and vessels heading for third countries, to penalise any infringements of EU legislation;

124.  Considers the mandatory presence of an independent veterinarian as essential, proportionate to the number of animals, during rest periods at official lairage facilities, and loading and unloading, in particular for long-distance transport; calls on the Member States to introduce mandatory provisions for sea journeys, ensuring the presence of veterinarians or, as last resort, a certified professional with appropriate skills, on board for the whole duration of the sea journey, in order to verify the implementation of the relevant animal health and welfare standards and provide real-time support for sick or injured animals on vessels, as well as to adjust the watering and feeding of the animals to their immediate needs;

125.  Calls for mandatory provisions on conducting inspections after the loading of a vessel in order to prevent accidents;

126.  Considers fundamental the mandatory presence at loading and final destination of long journeys to non-EU countries, of an independent veterinarian; stresses that the presence of a veterinarian will enable reassessment of the fitness for transport and can help to ensure compliance with EU legislation and enforcement of the relevant CJEU ruling;

Transport of live animals to third countries

127.  Calls on the Member States to inspect all consignments at the point of loading and at the point of reaching the final destination for long journeys to non-EU countries and carefully assess in order to develop procedures for the inspections, covering areas such as the amount of feed and water for the duration of the journey, the space and headroom for the animals, the quality, placement and proper functioning of the drinking devices according to the needs of the animals being transported, the quality of the bedding, and to ensure that no unfit animal is loaded; calls on the Commission to intervene against Member States that approve live exports when enforcement of the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-424/13(9) cannot be guaranteed;

128.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to gather comprehensive data and to include in the revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 a requirement to produce reports on the state of health of the animals and their mortality on arrival at the place of destination;

129.  Insists on the creation and implementation of a priority lane at all external, as well as internal EU borders, specifically intended for animal transports, including adequate resting facilities according to the requirements of the animals being transported, in order to reduce the length of the journey and eliminate waiting times, to minimise, as much as possible, any delays that can negatively impact the animals’ welfare and to reduce the overall duration of the journey; recommends that documents be sent in advance in electronic format to the receiving authorities;

130.  Insists that regarding the transport of live animals to third countries, consignments should only be authorised once the competent authority has obtained assurance the submitted journey log is fully completed, realistic with provable evidence and assurance that Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 will be effectively implemented until final destination including during the stages of the journey taking place outside the EU, in line with the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-424/13; calls therefore on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the rules that apply within the EU also apply to animal transport shipments leaving the Union; notes that recently some countries/regions defended their decision to restrict long-distance transport of animals, namely regarding live exports and transport of specific animal categories, notably when journeys require a 24-hour stop, due to the absence of control posts in third countries;

131.  Calls on the Commission to develop a list of third countries applying rules at least as protective as those in the EU, where export of live farm animals may be directly authorised based on an international agreement; at the same time, calls on the Commission to address the issue of non-EU countries using their certification to act as transit hubs for transporting animals towards non-certified third countries; calls on the Commission to establish, for other cases, a certified control system that ensures compliance with EU legislation in any part of the journey in the case of transport to third countries; in this regard, calls on the Commission to assess examples of best practice regarding certification and audit instruments to ensure traceability and welfare during transport of live animals to third countries;

132.  Recognises that there is no control system currently in place for transport to third countries, leading to situations where animal exports to third countries often do not respect Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 and are often in violation of the Court of Justice ruling C-424/13 on this matter; calls for a transport of animals between the EU and third countries to only be allowed when the European standards as established by Court of Justice ruling C-424/13 can be ensured;

133.  Calls on the Commission to seek uniform animal welfare standards during transport between the EU and non-EU countries in bilateral trade negotiations in order to prevent European farmers from falling victim to unfair competition;

134.  Insists on the need to strengthen cooperation and communication with third countries, in particular on mutual assistance and the rapid sharing of information, and on carrying out different initiatives with a view to raising awareness and promoting the implementation of EU standards in third countries, especially for meat or animal products imported into the EU;

135.  Recommends that the Commission task its auditors, comprising veterinarians and technical engineers, with carrying out in-depth inspections and assessments in order to develop a centralised, audited and accredited list of the rest facilities available in third countries, in compliance with the requirements of the Regulation (EC) No 1/2005; calls on the Member States not to approve journey logs in future unless confirmation has been provided that the proposed rest facilities are actually included on the aforementioned list and therefore ensure the necessary conditions for unloading the animals; stresses, in addition, that confirmation of a booking reservation for each rest facility is essential to guarantee that there is enough space available for all of the animals detailed in the transport plan;

136.  Notes the need to look into opportunities for improving the quality of transport for high‑health breeding animals and allowing them to rest in the vehicle where unloading them might compromise their health status;

137.  Considers it essential to increase financial support for foreign aid and international cooperation, particularly for third countries that require investment with regard to, for example, the cooling of carcasses or handling of germinal products;

138.  Reiterates the importance of enforceable trade and sustainable development chapters in all EU trade agreements, as a means of guaranteeing that the greater regulatory ambitions put forward are consistent with EU trade policy and complied with by third countries that have signed trade agreements with the EU; underlines that trade and sustainable development chapters should also take account of equivalent standards of production, in particular animal welfare;

139.  Calls on the Commission to use EU trade policy as leverage to increase compliance with Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 outside of the EU, while maintaining the objective of economic growth and job creation in the EU and guaranteeing that those compliance costs do not disproportionately affect EU businesses;

140.  Calls for mandatory compliance with EU animal protection and welfare standards, including for imports from third countries, in order to ensure the competitiveness of European producers;


141.  Demands that all Member States report to the Commission every year on the numbers of species of animals transported within and exported outside the EU, the controls carried out during these transports provided with evidence, the detected violations during these transports provided with evidence and the follow-up action taken by the Member States, which should be made publicly available by the Commission within two months of submission by the Member State;

142.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to report annually to Parliament on their actions to improve the protection and welfare of animals during transport;

o   o

143.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation and the final report of the Committee of Inquiry to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 113, 19.5.1995, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 239 I, 24.7.2020, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1.
(4) Special Report No 31/2018 of 14 November 2018 entitled ‘Animal welfare in the EU: Closing the gap between ambitious goals and practical implementation’.
(5) EFSA, ‘Animal transport: help us prepare our assessment’, 15 April 2021.
(6) See the judgment of the Court (First Chamber) of 14 October 2004, Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of the Netherlands, C-113/02, ECLI:EU:C:2004:616 and the judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 8 May 2008, Danske Svineproducenter v Justitsministeriet, Case C-491/06, ECLI:EU:C:2008:263.
(7) Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1).
(8) Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, Health and Food Audits and Analysis, Unit F2: Animals, network document from National Contact Points entitled ‘Network document on livestock vessels’, 2020.
(9) Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 23 April 2015, Zuchtvieh-Export GmbH v Stadt Kempten, Case C‑424/13, ECLI:EU:C:2015:259.

Last updated: 12 May 2022Legal notice - Privacy policy