Written by Beata Rojek with Morgane Speeckaert.

Each year, millions of live animals are transported by road, sea, rail and air within, and to or from, the European Union, for a number of reasons, such as slaughter, fattening or breeding. To protect their welfare during those journeys, the EU adopted Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. An evaluation of the regulation showed that, when correctly implemented and enforced, it had a positive impact on the welfare of animals. However, in some areas weaknesses still persist, largely due to insufficient implementation. In light of these conclusions, and bearing in mind its 2012-2015 animal welfare strategy, the European Commission developed guidelines for handling animals during transport, to be disseminated and used for training of transport personnel and enforcement agents. Despite these measures, however, in recent years, repeated breaches of the rules, resulting in accidents and severe animal welfare crises, have been highlighted by EU and national control bodies and by animal welfare organisations.

On 19 June 2020, the European Parliament set up the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT). The work of the committee focussed on investigating how EU rules are being implemented by Member States and enforced by the European Commission. It held public hearings with the participation of stakeholders, representatives of national authorities, and experts. Insight from these debates fed into the committee’s report and recommendations to the Council and the Commission.

This briefing is one of four requested by the ANIT Committee to provide research and analysis following the results of a questionnaire sent out by the Committee to Member States. It focuses on one of the topics investigated by the Committee, namely the use and dissemination in Member States of guidelines on the protection of animals during transport. It also gives an overview of available species-specific research on the welfare of animals during transport.

Read this complete briefing on ‘Protection of animals during transport: Guidelines and research‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.