Report on the failure to properly enforce Council Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and recommendations for improved implementation
Animals suffer greatly during long journeys. Packed into overcrowded trucks, they become increasingly exhausted, dehydraded and stressed as the long journeys wear on. Some get injured and collapse onto the floor of the truck, where they risk being trampled by their companions. In the worst cases, many die – drowning when ships capsize or succumbing to heat stroke when trucks get stuck for hours or even days at border crossings.
Compassion in World Farming believes that the export of live animals to non-EU countries must be prohibited as these long journeys entail immense suffering for the animals involved and in many cases they endure painful, terrifying treatment at slaughter in the destination countries where the OIE international standards on welfare at slaughter are routinely ignored. We agree with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe that “Animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises on which they are born and slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production”. Accordingly, in addition to a ban on live exports to non-EU countries, we call for an eight hour limit to be placed on transport within the EU for fattening or slaughter.
Until these reforms are adopted, we believe that much better implementation of EU legislation on welfare during transport must be achieved. This report examines the main breaches of that legislation and sets out recommendations as to how improved implementation can be secured.
For over thirty years enforcement of EU law on the protection of animals has been poor. The main breaches of EU law that are regularly observed include:
- The transport of unfit animals
- Stocking densities often exceed the maximum densities permitted by Regulation 1/2005
- Animals are frequently given too little headroom
- The Regulation’s maximum permitted temperature is often exceeded
- The Regulation’s requirements on feed and water are frequently breached. In some cases water tanks are empty or the drinking devices do not work or they are the wrong type for the species being carried or are positioned in such a way that the animals cannot reach them
- The Regulation’s requirements on the provision of rest are often ignored
- In some cases insufficient bedding is provided; in other cases it becomes filthy in the later stages of the journey
- The transport of unweaned animals on journeys over 8 hours without animals being fed.
These breaches – often by the same transport companies – have been occurring for many years. While some Member States have improved enforcement, many continue to make little serious attempt to enforce Regulation 1/2005.
Regulation 1/2005 provides strong enforcement mechanisms which are expressly designed to prevent recurrence of breaches but these are poorly used by the Member States (MS).
A key problem is that many long journeys involve several MS. The journey may pass through a number of MS. The MS of departure which must approve the journey log may be different from the MS that granted the transporter’s authorisation. Yet another MS may have granted the certificate of approval for the vehicle, while a different MS may have granted the driver’s certificate of competence.
The involvement of several MS complicates enforcement. Regulation 1/2005 contains very helpful provisions requiring a MS that finds a breach of Regulation 1/2005 to notify the MS that granted the transporter’s authorisation, the MS of departure, and those that granted vehicle and driver certificates. The purpose is to prevent recurrence of these breaches. However, the required notifications are rarely given in a systematic way and even where they are, the MSs which receive the information rarely act on it in such a way as to prevent recurrence of these breaches. As a result the same breaches are repeated year after year.
Serious welfare non-compliances regularly arise during the export of live animals to non-EU countries. A Commission report confirms that animal welfare problems continue to be a regular source of suffering during the export of cattle and sheep from the EU to Turkey. The report concludes: “On this route, there is a high risk of unnecessary pain and distress for transported animals and a high risk for transporters to breach EU rules”. Lengthy delays are common at the border. During these delays animals are kept on board the trucks often in overcrowded conditions and with insufficient water and in summer in very high temperatures that cause extreme suffering.
The Commission has said that compliance on this route is “is very close to 100%”. This is not an accurate statement. Investigations by animal welfare organisations consistently find high levels of non-compliance.
In the Zuchtvieh case (C-424/13) the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the provisions of Regulation 1/2005 continue to apply even when a consignment has left the EU; they apply until the destination in the non-EU country is reached. The Commission, the MS and transporters regularly ignore the Court’s ruling.
Two overview reports published by the Commission in 2020, one on live exports to non-EU countries by road, one on live exports by sea, reveal serious and regular breaches of Regulation 1/2005. The road report states that most transporters do not meet EU rules on the protection of animals during transport after leaving the EU.
An area that until recently has largely escaped attention are the serious problems that arise when animals being exported to the Middle East and North Africa are transferred from road vehicles to livestock vessels in EU ports and the poor conditions on many livestock vessels. Regulation 1/2005 requires competent authorities to check before loading that the vessel is in a satisfactory state for the carriage of animals, that the animals are fit to continue their journey, and that loading is carried out in accordance with the Regulation. Competent authorities often fail to discharge these duties properly leading to great suffering during loading and the sea journeys to the Middle East and North Africa.
The Commission’s overview report on live exports by sea reveals that the required checks on the safety of the vessels and their suitability for carrying animals are not carried out properly, and that the authorities permit animals to be loaded onto the ship even when pre-loading inspections of the ship reveal deficiencies. It also stresses that pre-loading checks to ensure that animals are fit to travel are not being carried out properly.
It is clear from the report that neither the exporters nor the MS authorities are giving any proper consideration to the animals’ welfare during the sea journeys themselves. Shockingly, the report reveals that it is unclear who is legally responsible for, and can be held to account for, the well-being of the animals during the sea part of the journey.
This report examines:
- The failure of the Commission and many Member States (MS) to properly implement Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport
- The steps that should be taken to properly implement the Regulation.
The report looks both at journeys within the EU and exports to non-EU countries.
1. The main breaches of Regulation that are commonly reported and the steps need to improve implementation
Overcrowding is common. It prevents animals from lying down, impedes animals’ access to watering points, and increases the likelihood of trampling and injuries. Overcrowding is particularly harmful when combined with high summer temperatures, inadequate ventilation and lack of water. This can lead to extreme exhaustion, heat stress and in severe cases to mortality.
Transporters must comply with the minimum space requirements set out in Chapter VII of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005. Chapter VII provides that stocking densities may need to “vary depending on the breed, the size, the physical condition and the length of fleece of the animals, as well as on the meteorological conditions and the journey time”. Accordingly, stocking densities should be lower in high temperatures. Transporters must also ensure that there is sufficient space for animals to reach watering devices and to be inspected.
1.2 Insufficient headroom
Regulation 1/2005 requires sufficient space to be provided inside the animals’ compartment to ensure adequate ventilation when the animals are standing in their natural position without hindering their natural movement.1
Many compartments have ceilings that are so low that animals touch them with their heads and/or backs when standing naturally. The lack of headroom is uncomfortable for the animals and can lead to them having to stand in a stooped position, sometimes for several days.
Transporters must ensure that there is sufficient headroom for animals to stand in a natural position and for there to be adequate ventilation above them.
1.3 High temperatures and insufficient ventilation in the vehicle
Regulation 1/2005 provides that for journeys over 8 hours ventilation systems must at all times be able to maintain, whether the vehicle is stationary or moving, an internal temperature between 5 and 30°C with a +/- 5°C tolerance depending on the outside temperature.2
The 5˚C tolerance does not permit regular transport at 35˚C but is designed to address the situation where outside temperatures unexpectedly exceed 30˚C after the journey has started.
In a letter dated 28 June 2016 to Chief Veterinary Officers, the Commission said that “In practice, there is no possibility to lower the internal temperatures on vehicles travelling in ambient temperature conditions over 30°C.”
In a letter dated 26 April 2018 to MS Agriculture Ministers, the Commission said regarding exports to Turkey “many animal transports are still authorised for this route when forecasted temperatures are above 30°C”. On 5 June 2020 the Commission wrote to the MS suggesting they strongly encourage transporters “to suspend or substantially reduce the transport of animals over long journeys during summer time”.
Competent authorities (CAs) should not approve journey logs when the forecast temperatures at the places of departure or destination or en route are expected to exceed 30˚C.
1.4 Inadequate water supply
Regulation 1/2005 provides that in the case of journeys over 8 hours animals must have access to water on board the truck.3 In combination with long journeys, often in high temperatures and with overcrowding, the lack of water can cause animals to suffer from extreme dehydration.
Sometimes the water tanks are empty or the drinking devices are switched off or are filthy with faeces, or are defective and fail to function. Animals are often unable to access the drinking devices. This may be because there is an insufficient number of watering devices or the drinking devices are on one side only of the vehicle; as a result many of the animals are unable to reach them particularly if the truck is overcrowded. In some cases the drinking devices are not appropriate for the species being transported such as metal nipples for unweaned calves.
Sometimes the watering devices are too high for lambs to reach.
Before the journey begins, transporters should check that:
- there are a sufficient number of accessible drinking devices that are functioning properly and that the water tank is full and that water troughs are clean
- the drinking devices are the right kind for the species being carried and are positioned in a way that is appropriate for the species and age of the animals.
- Journey logs incomplete and with unrealistically short estimated journey times Important parts of the journey log are often left blank. Also journey logs sometimes give unrealistically short journey times; as a result the stops at an approved control post for 24 hours rest, water and food that are obligatory for long journeys are neither planned nor carried out.
- complete all relevant sections of the journey log
- provide a realistic estimated journey time in Section 1 of the journey log. The length (kilometres) of the journey can be checked on a computer programme. However, transporters cannot rely on such programmes to tell them how long the journey will take as they are based on the travelling speed of cars. Transporters must estimate the journey time taking into account the speed at which a livestock truck can reasonably travel and allowing for heavy traffic, roadworks and unexpected delays.
- not approve journey logs with incomplete information
- check that the journey log is realistic and indicates compliance with the Regulation; this is a requirement of Article 14.1 of Regulation 1/2005.
1.6 Failure to provide animals with adequate food, water and 24 hours rest at an approved control post
Regulation 1/2005 requires that after 28 hours transport of cattle and sheep, 24 hours transport of pigs and horses and 18 hours transport of unweaned animals, the animals must be unloaded
for 24 hours rest, feed and water at an approved control post.4 Often this rest break is not given at all or it is only given after the maximum permitted travelling time has been exceeded or it is significantly shorter than the required 24 hours. The animals suffer significantly as a direct result through hunger, thirst and exhaustion.
- CAs should require that when a journey log is submitted it is accompanied by a written confirmation of a reservation at a control post
- CAs of the MS of departure should use drivers’ records (tachographs) and satellite navigation systems to check whether the 24 hour rest was provided.
1.7 Transport of unfit animals
Animals that are injured, ill or heavily pregnant are unfit to travel. Yet we repeatedly see unfit animals being transported and suffering significantly as a result. A 2015 Commission report stresses that “injured animals arrive on a daily basis to slaughterhouses in the European Union”.5
- Transporters must ensure that animals unfit to travel are not transported and are given immediate attention
- Transporters should refer to the Practical Guidelines to Assess Fitness for Transport of Adult Bovines6, Pigs7 and Equidae8 that have been produced by a multi-stakeholder initiative. These are available in several languages.
- Regulation 1/2005 provides that when animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible.9 They must be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter in a way which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering.
1.8 Inadequate bedding
Regulation 1/2005 provides that on journeys over 8 hours animals must be provided with appropriate bedding.10 Bedding material is often either not provided or not replaced during long journeys. This results in filthy conditions which can cause discomfort and sometimes injury from slipping and trampling.
- Transporters must provide adequate bedding material on journeys over 8 hours.
- Bedding must be replaced during longer journeys if it becomes dirty or insufficient in quantity.
1.9 Unweaned calves and lambs
The transport of unweaned calves and lambs poses particular problems. Regulation 1/2005 provides that unweaned animals cannot be transported for more than eight hours unless after nine hours of travel they given liquid and are “if necessary” fed. For unweaned calves and lambs feed is milk replacer. However, milk replacer cannot be provided to animals while they are on board a truck. We believe it is necessary for unweaned calves and lambs to be fed after 9 hours travel as:
- Unweaned calves and lambs have a regular need for energy and protein as they have almost no food reserves in the first few weeks of life
- Young calves and lambs are not able to control their body temperature well. Calves and lambs that receive no energy during a long journey will be more susceptible to heat and cold stress.
- Young calves and lambs do not have a fully developed immune system. Transport is inherently stressful and stress is a key factor in undermining immunity. Young calves and lambs transported on long journeys are vulnerable to disease.
As unweaned calves and lambs cannot be fed on board a truck, they should not be transported for longer than 8 hours as the condition for undertaking longer journeys cannot be met. After 8 hours travel they must have reached their destination or be unloaded at a control post and given milk replacer during the 24 hour rest period that is required by Regulation1/2005.
1.10 Inadequate partitions in the vehicle
Regulation 1/2005 provides that in the case of journeys over 8 hours partitions must be fitted so that separate compartments may be created.11 Partitions are necessary to stop animals from being thrown around in a moving vehicle. However, partitions often have large gaps between the bottom of the partition and the vehicle’s floor or between the side of the partition and the vehicle’s wall. Animals or their limbs can be trapped in such gaps causing significant pain and injuries.
There must be no gaps between partitions and the vehicle’s floor or walls.
- Journeys involving several Member States
A key problem is that many long journeys involve several MS. The journey may pass through a number of MS. The MS of departure which must approve the journey log may be different from the MS that granted the transporter’s authorisation. Yet another MS may have granted the certificate of approval for the vehicle, while a different MS may have granted the driver’s certificate of competence.
The involvement of several MS complicates enforcement. Regulation 1/2005 has helpful provisions designed to address enforcement where several MS are involved. However, these provisions are poorly used by the MS.
Article 26 (2) of 1/2005 requires that when a MS of transit or destination finds breaches of the Regulation they must notify these to the MSs that (i) authorised the transporter, (ii) granted the vehicle’s certificate of approval and (iii) where the driver is involved in the failure to observe the Regulation, to the MS that granted the driver’s certificate of competence. The purpose is to prevent recurrence of these breaches.
Article 26 (3) provides that when the MS of destination finds breaches of the Regulation they must notify these to the MS of departure. Again, the purpose is to prevent recurrence of these breaches.
The notifications required by Article 26(2) & (3) are rarely given in a systematic way and even where they are, the MSs who receive the information often do not act on it in such a way as to prevent recurrence of these breaches. As a result the same breaches (often by the same companies) are repeated year after year.
- MS CAs should provide notifications under Article 26 in a sufficiently clear and detailed manner so that the CA receiving the information is able to take actions to prevent recurrence. CAs should use the template produced for Article 26 notifications by the MS National Contact Points; this is in Annex 6 of the Network Document “Checks before journeys when live animals are destined for export by road”.12
- When a MS informs another MS of a non-compliance it is helpful to include photographic evidence. The Commission states “The use of photographic evidence to substantiate problems for which the legal requirements are vague helps impress on the corresponding contact point in the other Member State why certain standards have been considered insufficient or inappropriate”.13
- MS CAs that receive notifications under Article 26 must take effective steps to prevent recurrence and must notify the CA that informed them of the breach what steps they have taken to address the problem.
- A MS that authorised a transporter must take steps to address breaches notified to them even where they are not the MS of departure that approved the journey log for the journey in question. It is the MS that granted a transporter’s authorisation that has the main responsibility for ensuring that the transporter conducts its business in compliance with Regulation 1/2005.
3. Member States’ enforcement powers
Article 26.4 gives MS who identify, or are informed of, breaches a number of strong powers which if used effectively could prevent recurrence of these breaches. Regrettably, these powers are rarely used in an effective manner. Article 26.4 provides that competent authorities “shall, if appropriate
- require the transporter concerned to remedy the breaches observed and establish systems to prevent their recurrence;
- subject the transporter concerned to additional checks, in particular requiring the presence of a veterinarian at loading of the animals;
- suspend or withdraw the authorisation of the transporter or the certificate of approval of the means of transport concerned.”
If these provisions were properly used, compliance with the Regulation could rapidly be improved.
MS CAs must use their enforcement powers under Article 26.4 in such a manner that recurrence of breaches is prevented. The power of MS to require the transporter concerned to “establish systems” to prevent the recurrence of breaches is particularly helpful and should be used more often.
4. Checks at loading of the animals
As indicated above, CAs may, in the event of breaches, require the presence of a veterinarian at loading of the animals. It would, however, be good practice for CAs to inspect a proportion of consignments at loading even where they have not been informed of breaches. Indeed, the Commission has recently said that it is good practice for CAs to inspect all consignments destined for non-EU countries at loading.14
It is at loading that many of the common problems can be detected and remedied before the start of the journey. At loading the authorities could check that the Regulation’s requirements on floor space and headroom are being observed, that the ventilation and water systems are operating properly and that the drinking devices are appropriate for the species being carried, that no unfit animals are loaded, and that sufficient feed and bedding are being carried. Checking a proportion of consignments at loading would be a very time- and cost-efficient way of achieving improved enforcement.
CAs should inspect a proportion of consignments at loading and should check all consignments at loading in the case of exports to non-EU countries.
5. Animal Transport Guides
Animal Transport Guides commissioned by the Commission have been produced for cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and poultry. They include both ‘Good Practices’ and ‘Better Practices’.
All those involved should carry out the transport of animals in accordance with these Guides and in particular with the ‘Better Practices’ sections. The Guides are available at http://animaltransportguides.eu/
The Commission cannot tell MS what penalties they should impose. However, the Commission is responsible for ensuring that penalties conform to Article 25 of Regulation 1/2005. This requires penalties to be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”. At present penalties are often too low and applied too infrequently to be effective or dissuasive.
Penalties must be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”.
Export of animals to non-EU countries
- Court of Justice ruling in the Zuchtvieh case
In Case C-424/13, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the provisions of Regulation 1/2005 continue to apply even when a consignment has left the EU; they apply until the destination in the non-EU country is reached.
The following analysis of the Court’s Zuchtvieh ruling and the recommendations that flow from that ruling are very closely based on those contained in a paper on the export of cattle adopted by the EU Platform on Animal Welfare.15
Where the point at which the journey time (including likely border delays) exceeds that permitted by Regulation 1/2005 will be reached during the stage of the journey in a non-EU country, the journey log must specify where the animals will be unloaded for a 24 hour rest. That place must be a control post or a place that provides facilities equivalent to those of an EU approved control post.16
Checks at exit points
Paragraph 43 of the Court’s judgment states: “although Article 21(1) [checks at exit points from EU] of Regulation No 1/2005 provides for a specific check in which the competent authorities are responsible for checking, inter alia, compliance with a certain number of specific requirements thereunder, the fact remains that that provision also obliges the authorities to ensure ‘that the animals are transported in compliance with’ [Regulation 1/2005], without restricting the scope of that check to compliance with certain provisions thereof.”
The technical rules set out in Annex I of Regulation 1/2005 Paragraph 46 of the Court’s judgment states:
“46 Lastly, regarding the obligation transporters have under Article 6(3) and (4) of Regulation No 1/2005 to transport animals in accordance with the technical rules set out in Annex I thereto and to entrust the handling of the animals to personnel who have received training on the relevant provisions of Annexes I and II thereto, it must be taken as established that those provisions refer generally to the transport of animals without drawing any distinction according to place of destination.”
Article 6(3) and (4) states:
“3. Transporters shall transport animals in accordance with the technical rules set out in Annex I.
4. Transporters shall entrust the handling of the animals to personnel who have received training on the relevant provisions of Annexes I and II.”
Annex I contains many of the Regulation’s detailed provisions including, for example, those on water, feed, bedding, space allowance, height of animal compartments, fitness to travel, temperature and ventilation. The Court’s judgment makes it clear that the Annex I provisions must continue to be respected during the non-EU stage of the journey.
The Commission, the MS and transporters make little attempt to implement the Court’s ruling. A 2020 Commission overview report on live exports by road states that most transporters do not meet EU rules on the protection of animals during transport after leaving the EU.
Organisers of journeys:
Under Article 14 of Regulation 1/2005 organisers must submit a journey log which is realistic and indicates that the provisions of Regulation 1/2005 will be complied with, including for the stages
of the journey which are to take place in the territory of non-EU countries (see final paragraph of the Court’s judgment). The organiser must demonstrate that they have taken the weather conditions into account.
Where, under Regulation 1/2005, the transport needs to stop at a control post in a non-EU country to enable animals to be given feed, water and 24 hours rest, the organiser must identify a place for the stop which either is a control post or provides facilities equivalent to those of an EU approved control post (see paragraph 54 of the Court’s judgment). Where the organiser has not previously used that place, he or his representative must visit the place before submitting a journey log to ensure that it provides facilities equivalent to those required by Council Regulation (EC) 1255/97 on control posts and in particular that:
- it has suitable equipment and facilities available for the purpose of loading and unloading animals
- it is able to provide sufficient clean water and sufficient and appropriate feed
- the staff are competent to care for the welfare of the animals and are able to load and unload them in a calm, unhurried and skilful manner and in compliance with Chapter III of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005
- a veterinarian will be available to check that the animals are fit to continue their journey before being reloaded at the end of their stay at the premises.
Organisers must ensure that unloading at the final destination will be carried out in a calm, unhurried and skilful manner and in compliance with Chapter III of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005. It can be good practice to have transporters take photos or videos of the unloading to provide further assurance on the compliance of the unloading with Regulation 1/2005.
Competent authorities at place of departure
The Commission’s 2020 report on live exports by road reveals that some MS are approving journey logs even though they are unable to check whether the third country resting point named by the exporter in the journey log even exists or to ascertain if it has the facilities to provide rest, feed and water for the animals.
Where the transport needs to stop at a control post in a non-EU country to enable animals to be given feed, water and 24 hours rest, before approving the journey log the CA must be satisfied that the proposed resting place exists and does indeed provide facilities equivalent to those of a EU approved control post. It should request to see the post’s technical specifications and verify that they meet the needs of the animals. They should also request to see photos and films that show the post’s facilities in operation. In addition, it could ask the CAs of the non-EU country or an approved international control and supervisory agency (as referred to in Commission Regulation 817/2010) for a report on the facilities and services provided by the post.
Organisers, transporters, CAs and official veterinarians at exit points from the EU
In light of paragraphs 43, 45 and 46 of the Court’s judgment, organisers and transporters must ensure, and official veterinarians at exit points must check, that – as the vehicle prepares to leave the EU – the transport in the non-EU stage of the journey will comply with Annex I to Regulation 1/2005 e.g. it must respect the Regulation’s requirements on stocking density, headroom, breaks for rest, feed and water, the provision of water, ventilation and temperatures, bedding and partitions. CAs at the exit point should not permit a vehicle to continue its journey if it does not comply with Annex I to Regulation 1/2005 and if it does not carry sufficient water, feed and bedding to remain in compliance with these aspects of Annex I during the rest of the journey.
8. Export of cattle and sheep to Turkey
The Commission has published a report on a fact-finding mission it carried out in 2017 on live exports to Turkey.17 The report confirms that animal welfare problems continue to be a significant source of suffering during the export of live cattle and sheep from the EU to Turkey.
The report concludes: “On this route, there is a high risk of unnecessary pain and distress for transported animals and a high risk for transporters to breach EU rules”.
The report points out that “Due to the inability of the livestock vehicles’ ventilation system to lower the temperatures in the animal compartment below the external environmental temperature and the limited opening hours of the veterinary control point, it is very difficult for transporters to ensure that animals inside the lorry are kept below 35°C when ambient temperatures are over 30°C.” Worryingly, the report states that temperatures at the border “had risen above 30°C on 80 and 96 days in 2015 and 2016 respectively, of which 33 and 34 days were above 35°C”.
This indicates that for around three months of the year the temperatures at the border are such that transporters cannot comply with the maximum temperatures laid down by Regulation 1/2005. The report concludes: “The limitations of the ventilation systems on the vehicles, combined with the lengthy waiting time and the working hours of the veterinary border control point would make it impossible for EU transporters using such vehicles to comply with EU requirements on days when temperatures are above 30°C (with a 5°C tolerance).”
The report concludes that “there is a high risk of causing unnecessary pain and distress to animals transported on this route during hot days”.
Protracted waiting times at border while animals are confined in stationary vehicles
The report concludes: “animals are likely to stay at least six hours in the vehicles just to cross the border”. This is a minimum time. The report points out that: “If consignments do not meet all [Turkey’s] requirements for animal health, identification and technical specifications, animals will be subject to unnecessary suffering by staying long periods in the vehicles. This unnecessary suffering is aggravated whenever the shortcomings take more than a few hours to be addressed.”
The report states that the lengthy delays “can be detrimental to the animals’ welfare, particularly if the journey plan does not include the waiting times at the border”. The report stresses that “transporters have to accurately plan journeys passing through the Kapikule [Turkey] border by taking into consideration the limited opening times and the minimum six-hour stop at this border as otherwise they risk not complying with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005”.
The report states that the veterinary authority at the border indicated that around 30% of all consignments received present shortcomings during the first inspection. The main shortcomings detected were related to animal health requirements: vaccination records, dates of vaccination, incorrect animal identification, and time of validity of health certifications. The process of addressing these shortcomings adds to the time animals have to spend at the border on board stationary vehicles. It is unacceptable that after many years of this trade many exporters are still failing to get simple administrative matters right thereby lengthening the border delays and exacerbating the suffering involved.
Lack of facilities at border to protect the welfare of animals
The report notes that:
- There is only one water source available for livestock vehicles waiting to undergo veterinary controls
- Shade is not available for vehicles waiting to undergo veterinary controls
- There are no facilities at the border to unload any animals. If the animals are detained due to shortcomings detected during controls, they have to remain in the vehicle.
The report concludes: “The scarce availability of facilities to address the needs of the animals and the lack of facilities to unload them is a high risk to the welfare of the animals transiting this border, in particular during the hotter periods of the year and/or when they have to be detained. This makes it difficult for transporters to comply with EU rules when travelling along this route.”
Recommendations: Steps required to improve enforcement of Regulation 1/2005 in respect of exports to Turkey
The Commission’s report makes it clear that long delays at the border are mainly caused when consignments fail to meet Turkey’s requirements. CAs should not approve journey logs for
exports to Turkey until they have seen evidence that Turkey’s import duties have been paid and that all the animals in the consignment satisfy Turkey’s requirements on health, gender, age and identification and, where the animals are being sold to Turkey’s Meat and Milk Marketing Board, that they comply with the Board’s specifications.
CAs should not approve journey logs for exports to Turkey that do not allow for a delay of at least six hours at the border.
All the recommendations in the previous section on the Court of Justice ruling in the Zuchtvieh
case also apply to exports to Turkey.
Good practice for MS identified by Commission audit reports on live exports to Turkey. These good practices would also be relevant for exports to other non-EU countries
- CAs should require transporters, when submitting journey logs, to provide updated and detailed contingency plans that drivers must have with them during the journey. These plans should include adequate arrangements to meet the animals’ needs in the case of unexpected long delays at the border including how to obtain and provide bedding, feed and water for the animals. The plans should also include information on what to do in case of emergencies such as vehicle breakdown, sick or injured animals, and traffic accidents;18
- CAs should require transporters, when submitting journey logs, to provide declarations concerning how the provision of food, water and bedding throughout the journey will be achieved;19
- CAs should check the plausibility of the proposed journey plan using an online route planner, with proper consideration of the speeds achievable by a heavy vehicle;20
- The timing of the journey should be organised in order to have the animals rested and present for the border controls before the opening time of the Turkish controls. The Commission considers this to be a good practice that provides for more time for these checks and attempts to avoid the hottest part of the day;21
- CAs should require transporters, when submitting journey logs, to provide proof of reservations at control post(s) to unload and rest the animals;22
- CAs should take drivers social hours requirements into account by requiring organisers to provide certificates of competence for two drivers when journeys exceed 8 hours;23
- Vehicles should carry additional portable drinkers;24
- The official in charge of the Bulgarian exit point considered that insufficient driver training was actually the root cause of many of the problems detected. This indicates that CAs need to be more thorough in ensuring that drivers are properly trained before granting a certificate of competence;25
- CAs should require stocking densities to be reduced by 30% if temperatures are high at the point of departure or are forecast to be high during the course of the journey;26
- CAs should put in place a system to ensure transporters return the completed journey logs and carry out retrospective checks on returned journey logs.27
9. Breaches of Regulation 1/2005 during sea transport from EU to Middle East and North Africa
Animals being transported from the EU to the Middle East and North Africa are taken by road to a port. There they are transferred to a livestock vessel for the sea journey to the Middle East or North Africa. In some cases the road journey is lengthy going from the MS of departure to a sea port in southern Europe. In other cases the road journey is shorter as the port may be located within the MS of departure.
Two reports by the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) have revealed serious breaches of Regulation 1/2005 as regards the poor quality of the livestock vessels and during the transfer of the animals from road vehicles to livestock vessels.28 29 A 2020 overview report by the Commission on live exports by sea also reveals many serious non-compliances with Regulation 1/2005.
Approval of livestock vessels
Many livestock vessels were originally car ferries or cargo ships and have been converted for the transport of animals. As a result many are unsuitable for animal transport as animal behaviour and needs were not sufficiently incorporated into the ship design.
Regulation 1/2005 requires livestock vessels to have a certificate of approval which lasts for a maximum of 5 years (Article 19) and also to be inspected before each loading (Article 20). The Commission’s report reveals that the required checks on the safety of the vessels and their suitability for carrying animals are not carried out properly. The checks are often carried out by staff who are not suitably qualified and do not have the experience to assess the necessary technical systems (e.g. ventilation, water pumps, drainage) on board vessels. The report states there is evidence that authorities in at least four MS approved and/or permitted the use of substandard vessels in 2017-2018.
Many livestock vessels that have been approved under Article 19 of Regulation 1/2005 should not have been approved as they are poorly designed and maintained and have constructions posing many risks for the safety of the animals; for example, many have very steep internal ramps leading to the pens on lower decks, and pens and passageways with sharp edges, protrusions and gaps that risk causing injuries. Moreover, MS have different criteria for granting approvals which leads to inconsistencies.
Poor quality rating of many EU approved livestock vessels
The below data were produced by an analysis carried out in 2020. Three factors are important in assessing the quality of a ship.
- Most (55%) livestock vessels approved in the EU are licensed in countries black-listed for poor performance under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) i.e. they are considered a high risk in relation to maritime safety. Only 30% of the vessels are flagged under the “White List’.
- All vessels are required to have a designated company which is responsible for implementing the requirements of the International Safety Management code. 52% of the companies responsible for EU approved livestock vessels are listed as having low or very low performance level by the European Maritime Safety Agency.
- A Recognized Organization (RO) is a body which develops and applies technical standards for the design and construction of ships and which carries out surveys and inspections on board ships. Each vessel is required to have a RO. Only 26% of the livestock vessels authorised in the EU have a RO ranked as high performing under the Paris MOU.
Pre-loading inspections of livestock vessels
In addition to the inspection that is required under Article 19 in deciding whether to grant an approval to a livestock vessel, Article 20 requires CAs to inspect livestock vessels before each loading to ensure that the vessel is suitable for the type and number of animals to be transported, animal pens are in a good state of repair, and equipment for ventilation, water provision, lighting and fire-fighting remains in good working order. These pre-loading inspections are often carried out in a cursory manner.
The Commission’s report states that the authorities permit animals to be loaded onto the ship even when pre-loading inspections of the ship reveal deficiencies. The report notes that veterinary officials at EU exit ports “are subject to intense pressure from exporters to approve shipments (including the threat of potential legal action if an export is stopped or delayed)”.
Lengthy delays at ports
AWF’s report on their investigation at the port of Cartagena in Spain in 2018 reveals that lengthy delays occurred after arrival at the port and before loading onto the ship. During these delays the animals were left on board stationary trucks in very high summer temperatures.
Trucks often have to wait outside the port before being allowed to enter the port. During AWF’s investigation, the minimum waiting time at the parking lot outside the port was one hour, but many vehicles spent over four hours there with the animals on board the vehicle. Some animals waited for hours in the sun, without shade and without water or the mechanical ventilation system being turned on.
Once inside the port vehicles had to wait for their turn to load the animals on to the vessel. Again there was no shade and animals were left on board stationary trucks in extremely hot conditions. At times, there were more than fifteen vehicles waiting at the same time to start the unloading of their animals.
Inspection of animals to ensure they are fit to continue their journey
CAs are often not properly carrying out the requirement in Article 20.2 of Regulation 1/2005 that they must inspect animals before loading onto livestock vessels to ensure that they are fit to continue their journey. This is often due to a lack of suitable facilities, such as pens where animals can rest after the road journey, to enable the CA to properly inspect the animals. As a result they are often inspected when they are already in the passageway leading from the truck to the ship. Here they may be moving too quickly for the veterinarian to properly inspect them; moreover the veterinarian may only be able to see one side of the animal, and it may not be possible to remove an unfit animal from the passageway.
The Commission’s report shows that “Checking the fitness of the animals is generally a weak point” and is not being properly carried out. The reports adds that records of these checks “are in many cases poor or do not exist”.
Loading onto livestock vessels
Loading of animals onto livestock vessels is sometimes carried out roughly with the use of sticks and electric prods.30 This is in breach of paragraphs 1.8 & 1.9 of Chapter III of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005.
The loading ramp in some cases is steeper than the maximum slope permitted by paragraph 1.4 of Chapter III of Annex I. This can cause animals to struggle or even fall down.
The entry to vessels (at the end of the loading ramp) often appears like a black hole for the animals, especially during loading in bright daylight. Animals often balk in front of the vessel entry, because they refuse to walk from light into dark areas. This problem can be addressed by placing a light to illuminate the entry; lights should also be provided to illuminate the passageways on board the vessel that lead from the entry to the animal compartments. In some cases the movement of animals from the entry of the vessel to the animal compartments is carried out with extensive use of electric prods. Ramps from the entry to the animal compartments on lower decks are sometimes steeper than permitted by paragraph 1.4 of Chapter III of Annex I.
The sea journey
Once animals leave the EU they enter into a legal void where no or little attempt is made to comply with the law on welfare during transport or to safeguard the animals’ well-being. Nor is there anyone on board the ship who has clear legal responsibility for the animals’ well-being. The Commission’s report shows that neither the exporters nor the MS authorities are giving any proper consideration to the animals’ welfare during the sea journeys. The report states “neither the Member States nor the Commission have information or statistics on the health and welfare state of the animals during sea journeys”.
Shockingly, the report reveals that it is unclear who is legally responsible for, and can be held to account for, the well-being of the animals during the sea part of the journey. It adds “There is currently no routine feedback from third countries, transporters or ships’ Masters on the condition of animals during the sea journey nor on the conditions in which they arrive at destination.”
Loading and unloading of non-ambulatory animals
A particularly inhumane method of loading and unloading injured animals that cannot move is sometimes used. EU bovines that cannot walk are sometimes winched onto a livestock vessel in an EU port.31 A rope is attached to a front leg and the animal is then winched by crane, dangling by one leg, onto the ship.
A similar procedure is used when the vessel arrives in the Middle East. A rope is attached to a front leg of bovines that cannot walk and they are lifted up by a crane and then lowered to a truck. Throughout this procedure they are dangling by one leg. This method of unloading animals that cannot walk was first seen in Beirut in the 1990s. Animals that cannot move should undergo emergency slaughter where they lie.
CAs must require organisers to submit a journey log for exports to non-EU countries even where the journey from the place of departure to the port is less than 8 hours (often CAs and transporters assume – incorrectly – that no journey log is needed if the journey to the port is less than 8 hours even though the sea journey will last several days).
When renewal of livestock vessels’ certificate of approval is being considered, CAs must inspect them thoroughly to ensure that they comply with the requirements of Section 1 of Chapter IV of Annex I of Regulation 1/2005 regarding the construction and equipment for livestock vessels.
Pre-loading inspections of vessels must be properly carried out and CAs should not permit animals to be loaded when deficiencies are revealed that threaten the animals’ safety or well- being.
Organisers should not use, and CAs should not approve journey logs that plan the use of, ports that do not have facilities that enable proper pre-loading inspection of animals as required by Article 20 of Regulation 1/2005. This point is reflected in the Parliament’s 2019 report on implementation of Regulation 1/2005.32 Paragraph 38 of the report “calls on the Commission to draw up, update and circulate a list of ports with adequate animal inspection facilities; further calls on the competent authorities not to approve journey logs that plan to use ports without such facilities”.
CAs, harbour masters, ships’ captains and organisers should ensure that loading is carried out calmly and in accordance with Regulation 1/2005.
Heat stress: Wet bulb temperature (WBT) should be used as the criterion to ensure exported animals do not suffer poor welfare outcomes due to excessive heat load. WBT is a measure that combines temperature and relative humidity and most closely influences the physiological impacts of heat load on the animal.
In three recent audit reports33 34 35 the Commission has stressed that organisers must appoint an authorised transporter to be responsible for the welfare of the animals during the sea stage of export journeys; however, this is rarely done. Under Article 6(6) of Regulation 1/2005 transporters must ensure that “an attendant accompanies any consignment of animals” including during the sea journey. Article 2(c) defines an attendant as “a person directly in charge of the welfare of the animals who accompanies them during a journey”. This means that a representative of the transporter – the attendant – must accompany the animals while they are in the port, during loading, during the sea journey and during unloading. The presence of an attendant is essential to ensure that, as required by the Zuchtvieh ruling, the requirements of Regulation 1/2005 are respected during the stages of the journey that take place outside the EU.
The common failure to identify an authorised transporter results in there being no-one on the vessel who is in charge of the welfare of the animals during the long sea journey.
Unloading from a ship at the destination must be carried out in compliance with Regulation 1/2005. Transporters must ensure that the attendant has sufficient authority vis-à-vis the ship’s livestock handlers to ensure that unloading is carried out in accordance with the Regulation.
We oppose Australia’s live export trade. However, Australia has adopted a number of requirements which the EU should emulate. The EU should adopt the following provisions of Australian law which:
- requires exporters to ensure that once animals reach the non-EU country of destination they are slaughtered in accordance with the OIE international standards on welfare at slaughter
- bans the export of sheep to the Middle East in the summer months
- requires a veterinarian to accompany the animals on sea journeys
- requires exporters to notify the authorities when mortality exceeds a specified rate.
Indicators to be assessed at end of sea journey
CAs and organisers should arrange for the animals to be inspected at the end of the sea journey to establish:
- The number of animals that have died or been injured during (i) the journey and (ii) unloading
- The number of animals that are suffering from (i) respiratory disease, (ii) enteric disease and (iii) other diseases
- Whether the ventilation and watering systems are functioning correctly
- Whether clean bedding is available
- Whether there are sharp edges or protrusions or other elements which could cause injury to the animals
- Whether unloading is carried out in accordance with Regulation 1/2005.
The fact that it is realistic to arrange for post-journey inspections in non-EU countries is seen from the requirement for such inspections in Commission Regulation (EU) 817/2010 which dealt with the granting of export refunds when these were still being granted.
The enforcement provisions in Regulation 1/2005 are to be repealed shortly
Regulation 2017/625 on official controls deletes all the enforcement provisions of Regulation 1/2005 from14 December 2022. This is worrying as these enforcement provisions are good; the problem is that they are poorly used by the MS. Many of the enforcement provisions in Regulation 1/2005 have been included in Regulation 2017/625 on official controls. However, some have not been included and will need to be enacted by Commission delegated acts. It is vital that these delegated acts are at least as strong as the existing provisions in Regulation 1/2005.
1 Point 1.2 of Chapter II of Annex 1 to Regulation 1/2005
2 Point 3.1 of Chapter VI of Annex 1 to Regulation 1/2005
3 Point 2.1 of Chapter VI of Annex 1 to Regulation 1/2005
4 Points 1.4 & 1.5 of Chapter V of Annex 1 to Regulation 1/2005
5 European Commission, 2015. Systems to Prevent the Transport of Unfit Animals in the EU: Overview report
9 Paragraph 4 of Chapter I of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005
10 Paragraph 1.2 of Chapter VI of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005
11 Paragraph 1.7 of Chapter VI of Annex I to Regulation 1/2005
13 European Commission, 2017. Final report of a fact-finding mission carried out in Bulgaria from 06 June 2017 to 09 June 2017 on animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries. DG(SANTE) 2017-6109
14 Final report of an audit carried out in Germany from 26 June 2017 to 30 June 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6107
16 Court of Justice ruling in the Zuchtvieh case, ruling in final paragraph and paragraph 54
17 Final report of a fact-finding mission carried out in Turkey from 05 September 2017 to 08 September 2017 on animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6110
18 Final report of an audit carried out in the Czech Republic from 20 November 2017 to 24 November 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6217
19 Final report of an audit carried out in Hungary from 19 June 2017 to 23 June 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6099
20 Final report of an audit carried out in Germany from 26 June 2017 to 30 June 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6107
22 Op. Cit. Final report of an audit carried out in Germany
23 Final report of an audit carried out in France from 09 October 2017 to 13 October 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6108
24 Op. Cit. Final report of an audit carried out in Hungary
25 Final report of an audit carried out in Bulgaria from 06 June 2017 to 09 June 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2017-6109
26 Op. Cit. Final report of an audit carried out in Czech Republic
27 Op. Cit. Final reports of audits carried out in Czech Republic, Germany and France
30 Final report of an audit carried out in Croatia from 26 September 2018 to 28 September 2018 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2018-6447 paragraph 11
31 German television ZDF https://www.zdf.de/politik/frontal-21/qualvolle-tiertransporte-100.html
32 European Parliament, 2019. Protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU. European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU (2018/2110(INI))
33 Final report of an audit carried out in Slovenia from 16 April 2018 to 20 April 2018 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2018-6449
34 Final report of an audit carried out in Croatia from 26 September 2018 to 28 September 2018 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2018-6447
35 Final report of an audit carried out in Spain from 26 September 2018 to 01 October 2018 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries; DG(SANTE) 2018-6446