Our Advice Sheets
Welfare of animals during transport
If you transport animals as part of your business, they must be fit for the journey and must not suffer unduly during it
This guidance is for England
Under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 farmers transporting their own animals by their own means of transport, for a distance of less than 50km (31 miles) from their holding, must ensure that no person transports an animal or causes animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering. The animal should also be fit for the intended journey.
Those transporting animals in any other circumstances must, in addition to the above welfare requirements, carry an animal transport certificate (ATC). A transporter authorisation and certificate of competence are also necessary when transporting animals over a distance of 65km (40.3 miles).
The Order applies to persons who transport live vertebrate animals, including farm livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry, deer, and horses), in connection with an economic activity (in other words, a business or trade).
In the guide
- Principal requirements
- Documentation required
- Fitness of animals for transport
- Transport requirements for young animals
All persons who take animals on a journey, whatever the length, have a duty to ensure that the animals are transported in a way that is not likely to cause injury or undue suffering.
Farmers transporting their own animals, in their own means of transport, for a distance of less than 50km (31 miles) from their holding or as part of transhumance (seasonal movement of livestock) must ensure:
- no person transports an animal or causes animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering
- all necessary arrangements have been made in advance to minimise the length of the journey and meet the animals needs during the journey
- the animals are fit for the journey
- the means of transport (including the means of loading and unloading) is designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and ensure the safety of the animals
- the personnel handling the animals are trained or competent in the transport of animals
- the transport is carried out without delay, and the welfare conditions of the animals checked during this journey
- sufficient floor area and height is provided for the animals
- the animals are watered/fed and rested, at suitable intervals as necessary
Persons transporting animals in any other circumstances, must in addition to the above requirements, carry documentation known as an animal transport certificate (ATC) in the vehicle stating:
- the animals origin and ownership
- number and species of animals carried
- their place of departure
- the date and time of departure
- their intended place of destination
- the expected duration of the intended journey
A template form can be found on the GOV.UK website.
An animal movement document for sheep and goats (ARAMS-1) and pigs (eAML2/haulier summary) may be used as an animal transport certificate for those animals providing all the sections on the form are completed. The ARAMS-1 form may be carried as a paper copy, or can be an electronic copy carried by the haulier provided it can be printed for an inspector during the journey if requested.
The information required should be completed at each stage of the journey and must be made available to an inspector if requested. The ATC must be kept by the transporter for six months after each journey.
Any person transporting animals a distance of over 65km (40.3 miles) must also:
- hold a 'transporter authorisation' issued by Defra
- have received training in the handling of animals and obtained a certificate of competence
Livestock must always be identified in accordance with the relevant legislation and species specific documentation must accompany the animals during transport. For further information see our leaflets relating to goats, sheep, cattle, pigs and horses.
Fitness of animals for transport
Animals that are injured, weak or diseased shall not be considered fit for transport, particularly if they:
- are unable to move without pain, or to walk unassisted
- have a severe open wound or prolapse
- are pregnant females for whom 90% or more of the expected gestation period has already passed, or they are females who have given birth in the previous week
- are new born mammals in which the navel was not healed
- have been submitted to veterinary procedures in relation to farming practices such as dehorning or castration and the wounds have not completely healed
- they fall ill or are injured during transport - the Regulations require that an animal must be fit for the intended journey before the journey starts and must remain sufficiently fit throughout the journey - if they do fall ill, they must be separated, given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way that does not cause them unnecessary suffering
Sedatives must not be used on animals to be transported, unless under veterinary supervision.
Lactating females (cattle, sheep and goats) not accompanied by their offspring must be milked at intervals of not more than 12 hours.
Transport requirements for young animals
Pigs under three weeks old, lambs under one week old, and calves under ten days old must not be transported, unless they are transported for a distance less than 100km (62.1 miles).
Appropriate bedding for must be provided for:
- piglets of less than 10kg
- lambs of less than 20kg
- calves less than six months old
The bedding material used must ensure adequate absorption of urine and faeces.
An attendant must accompany the animals except where the driver performs the functions of an attendant.
Any person who contravenes the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 commits an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981 and can receive a fine of up to £5,000 per offence and/or six months' imprisonment on summary conviction.
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text. Amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide.
Last reviewed/updated: May 2014
Medway Council, Trading Standards Team,
Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TR
Telephone: 01634 333555 Fax: 01634 332006
Electronic Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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