Welfare of animals during transport

The welfare of animals in transport is regulated by 'Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations' which is directly applicable across the European Union (EU). EC 1/2005 is enforced here through 'The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 as amended'. This legislation came into operation in Northern Ireland on 7 January 2007 and aims to improve animal welfare through raising transportation standards to ensure the protection of animals during transport.

Transporting live animals to the EU after EU exit

In January 2018, the EU Commission confirmed that, in the event of a no deal scenario when the UK exits the EU, they will no longer accept Transporter Authorisation, Certificates of Competence or Vehicle Approval Certificates issued by a UK authority.

The notice can be found here:

Information on what you will need to do in order to continue to export live animals to the European Union (EU) after Day 1 can be found at the link below:

Relevant legislation 

Who does this affect?

The EU Regulation covers the transport of all live vertebrate animals (excluding humans) within the EU that takes place in connection with an economic activity.  The vertebrate family includes all creatures which are mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

Those involved in economic activity will include, farmers, livestock hauliers, those who move domestic equines in connection with professional riding, livery, stabling, those involved in commercial pet breeding or racing (e.g. dog racing), or those moving animals used in films, zoos and leisure parks.

The EU Regulation does not apply to the transport of animals when this is not in connection with an economic activity or to the transport of non-vertebrate animals.   

Guidance on the rules

The main guidance on the welfare of animals during transport is a living document that will develop in light of experience implementing the regulation and is available using the following link:

Transporter authorisation

If you transport animals in connection with an economic activity for distances over 65 km (approx 40 miles) you will need a valid transporter authorisation. The application forms and guidance notes are below depending on the length of journey.

Competence certification

All drivers and attendants of animals being transported on journeys of over 65 km are required to have been assessed for competence. For those who travel on short journeys there is a theory test, and for those who travel on long journeys there is an additional practical test. You are required to possess a competence certificate before you apply for transporter authorisation.

Details of how to gain competence certificates can be found in our general guidance on competence training and assessment.

The competence required is specific to the role of the person involved, and frameworks giving details can be found using the following links:

Vehicle approval

The Regulation requires that from 5 January 2007 vehicles used for transporting animals on long journeys (those in excess of 8 hours) must be inspected and approved by the competent authority of a Member State or a body designated by a Member State.  To arrange an inspection, use the form below. 

Journey logs

A journey log is required for journeys of livestock and unregistered horses on long journeys (over 8 hours) to Member States and third countries.  

Technical and detailed guidance

Technical and detailed guidance exploring in more depth some of the requirements of the Regulations is also available:

More useful links

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