Presidency memorandum on protection of animals in transit

September 11, 2002

Brussels, 10 September 2002

Full text of Document 11699/02

Memorandum concerning the protection of animals during transport. Note from the Presidency to Coreper/Council. 4 September 2002 (09.09)

Delegations will find attached a memorandum from the Presidency concerning the protection of animals during transport.

Memorandum concerning the protection of animals during transport

1. Introduction:

Having regard in particular to the Commission report on the experience acquired since the implementation of Directive 95/29/EC and the report of the Scientific Committee concerning the welfare of animals during transport, the Presidency considers it necessary to discuss some of the many important issues which have been raised in the debate on improving the welfare of animals during transport.

In that connection, the Presidency would like the Agriculture and Fisheries Council to discuss the following two main topics at the Council meeting in September 2002:
* Maximum journey times
* Better and more effective monitoring possibilities

2. Maximum journey times:

In the interests of animal welfare, should a short maximum journey time be introduced for slaughter animals? And for other animals?

There are several good reasons for considering the introduction of a short maximum journey time, in particular for slaughter animals:

­ The Commission report of December 2000 states that problems are arising inter alia as a result of non-compliance with route plans and maximum journey times.

­ The Scientific Committee states that, in general, the longer the journey time, the worse the effects on the animals' welfare. All else being equal, a short maximum journey time would therefore improve the welfare of animals during transport.

­ Slaughter animals may be in worse physical condition than breeding animals (e.g. cull dairy cows, cull sows, cull ewes, etc.).

­ The meat from slaughtered animals can now be transported over long distances in refrigerated trucks, and there is therefore far less need than previously to transport live animals for slaughter far away from their herds.

­ In recent years, we have seen a number of examples of how the spread of infectious epizootics can inflict heavy social casualties. Short journey times and journeys which do not involve the unloading of animals in transit can help reduce the risk of infection.

­ All else being equal, it will be easier to monitor the transport of animals if the maximum journey time is short and if there is no unloading at different staging points during the journey.

3. Better and more effective monitoring possibilities

Should better and more effective monitoring possibilities be introduced? If so, what form should they take?

As stated in the Commission report of December 2000, enforcement of the rules concerning the protection of animals during transport needs to be stepped up. Consideration could therefore be given inter alia to the following:

­ Intensifying the spot checks carried out by police and official veterinarians on animals being transported by road, e.g. by Member States providing traffic police with more specialist training in how to carry out such checks. Intensifying such checks will probably have a significant preventive effect.

­ Intensifying checks upon arrival at the final destination in the case of long journeys, e.g. by carrying out more spot checks when animals arrive at the farm of destination, and by carrying out mandatory checks on slaughter animals immediately upon arrival at the slaughterhouse rather than at the time of slaughter, which may be hours or days later. Checks upon arrival should focus on both conditions of transport (layout of the vehicle, loading density, etc.) and the animals themselves (possible injuries, diseases, etc.), and should be supplemented by a requirement that the veterinary authorities at the slaughterhouses certify on the route plan the time at which the animals are unloaded.

­ Establishing closer contact between the relevant authorities in the Member States so that they can react quickly and effectively when rules are infringed, in particular when such infringements take place in Member States other than the country of origin or the country which authorised the transporter concerned.

The Annex contains a summary of current EU rules and recommendations concerning the transport of animals, together with a brief analysis of those rules and recommendations with specific regard to the issues of a maximum journey time and the monitoring of the transport of animals.

Summary of current rules and recommendations concerning the transport of animals:

The following rules apply to the protection of animals during transport:

­ Council Directive 91/628/EEC (as amended by Directive 95/29/EC ) concerning the protection of animals during transport and amending Directives 90/425/EEC and 91/496/EEC

­ Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in Directive 91/628/EEC

­ Council Regulation (EC) No 411/98 on additional animal protection standards applicable to road vehicles used for the carriage of livestock on journeys exceeding eight hours

In addition, the following proposals and recommendations have been put forward with a view to amending the current rules:

­ Commission proposal of 9 April 2001 on the proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 411/98 as regards ventilation in road vehicles carrying livestock on long journeys ( COM(2001) 197 )

­ Report of 8 December 1999 by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare on the standards for the microclimate inside animal transport road vehicles

­ Commission report of 6 December 2000 to the Council and the European Parliament on the experience acquired by Member States since the implementation of Council Directive 95/29/EC amending Directive 91/628/EEC concerning the protection of animals during transport

­ Council Resolution of 19 June 2001 on the welfare of animals during transport

­ European Parliament Resolution of 13 November 2001 on the Commission report

­ Report of 11 March 2002 by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare on the welfare of animals during transport (details for horses, pigs, sheep and cattle)

Analysis of the current rules and recommendations concerning journey time:

The current EU rules lay down the following requirements with regard to journey times and rest periods in the case of transport by road vehicle:

In principle, the journey time may not exceed eight hours for domestic solipeds and domestic animals of the bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species (cf. Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC , Chapter VII, paragraph 2).

If the transporting vehicle meets a number of specific requirements, the maximum journey time may however be extended (cf. Annex, Chapter VII, paragraph 3, and Regulation No 411/98 ). In such cases, the following journey times and rest periods must be complied with (cf. Annex, Chapter VII, paragraphs 4 and 5):

[Table]

24-hour rest periods must take place at an approved staging point where the animals must be unloaded, watered, fed and inspected by a veterinarian before being transported further. There is no upper limit on the number of days that animals may be transported, provided that the journey times and rest periods are complied with on the way, and the Directive does not differentiate between the transport of animals for slaughter and for other purposes.

Section 2.5 of the Commission report of 6 December 2000 identifies problems with non-compliance with route plans and travelling time limits, inter alia because journeys are often complex and involve different means of transport, and the present layout of the route plan does not take account of that fact. The Commission therefore recommends, among other measures, that the route plan be amended (section 3.7), and that the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare be asked for its opinion on the issue of journey time. The Commission also states that consideration should be given to measures to encourage the slaughter of animals closer to the places where they are raised.

On 19 June 2001, in the light of the Commission report, the Council adopted a Resolution on the welfare of animals during transport, drawing attention in particular to problems in connection with long journeys and inviting the Commission to submit proposals for improving animal welfare as rapidly as possible.

On 13 November 2001, also in the light of the Commission report, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution requesting the Commission to submit proposals for new rules on the transport of animals (cattle, sheep, goats, horses and pigs) as rapidly as possible. The European Parliament considered inter alia that the journey time for such animals, unless they were to be used for specific breeding or sporting purposes, should be restricted to a maximum of eight hours or 500 km, but that temporary exemption should be granted if there were no slaughterhouses available within a radius of 500 km.

Chapter 8 of the report of 11 March 2002 by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare deals in detail with the issue of journey time, and in Chapter 12, section 4, the Committee recommends the following journey times and rest periods in the light of the various scientific studies:

[Table]

According to the Committee, animals should spend the rest periods on board the vehicle while it is stopped, and it is therefore recommended that the loading density be reduced so that the animals have enough room to take on water and feed and be able to rest.

The Committee does not recommend any upper limit on the number of days a journey may last, provided that the journey times and rest periods are complied with on the way. However, the Committee does state that, since an animal's welfare generally deteriorates as the length of the journey increases ­ because it becomes fatigued, loses energy, becomes more susceptible to existing infections and may fall sick as a result of exposure to new infectious agents ­ it would be advisable for slaughter animals not to undergo journeys lasting longer than the first period of journey time.

The logical conclusion of the Committee's views would therefore seem to be that pigs for slaughter should not be transported for more than eight hours.

Analysis of the current rules and recommendations concerning the monitoring of the transport of animals:

Pursuant to Article 5 of Council Directive 91/628/EEC , as amended by Directive 95/29/EC , Member States shall ensure inter alia that transporters are registered, authorised, transport animals under conditions which do not cause injury to the animals, and use only qualified staff and suitable means of transport. Member States shall also ensure that transporters draw up route plans for all journeys of a duration exceeding eight hours and journeys across national borders, and that transporters submit such route plans to the official veterinarian for approval and take the measures necessary to be able to feed and water the animals pursuant to the requirements laid down in Chapter VII of the Annex.

Pursuant to Article 8, Member States' authorities shall ensure that the requirements of the Directive have been complied with, by carrying out non-discriminatory inspections of:
­ means of transport and animals during transport by road
­ means of transport and animals arriving at their place of destination
­ means of transport and animals at markets, at places of departure, at staging points and at transfer points
­ the particulars on the accompanying documents.

Such inspections must be carried out on "an adequate sample of the animals transported each year within each Member State", and the authorities must submit to the Commission an annual report on the inspections carried out.

In addition, the competent authority may of course carry out checks during the transport of animals on the territory of the relevant Member State if the authority has information leading it to suspect an infringement. The Directive contains details of the procedures which Member States should follow if they detect an infringement, including the procedure for contacting the authorities in other Member States (cf. Articles 9 and 18).

Finally, Commission experts may, to the extent necessary for ensuring uniform application of the Directive, carry out on-the-spot checks on the authorities' inspection procedures (cf. Article 10).

According to section 3.2 of the Commission report of 6 December 2000, the certificates of registered transporters need to be established in a harmonised format for the whole Union in order to allow rapid checks, especially when deficiencies are observed in a Member State other than the one where the transporter is registered. Moreover, section 3.3 states that a proper exchange of information between Member States' competent authorities is essential for the enforcement of the Directive, and that specific procedures must therefore be established in order to facilitate checks by the authorities, inter alia in relation to the proper completion of the journey as scheduled in the route plan, as well as appropriate follow-up of violations.

In its Resolution of 19 June 2001, the Council also stressed that the Member States and the Commission should ensure the effective implementation and strict enforcement of existing legislation.

In its Resolution of 13 November 2001, the European Parliament states inter alia that the Commission's monitoring activities in this area should be extended considerably, that far more severe penalties should be imposed for infringements, that a harmonised European model certificate should be introduced for registered transporters, together with a harmonised route plan, and that the Commission should draw up an action plan for better coordination and communication between Member States and between Member States and the Commission with a view to improving implementation of the Directive.

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