Time to change the rules: Eurogroup for Animals launches White Paper on the Revision of the Transport Regulation


Time to change the rules: Eurogroup for Animals launches White Paper on the Revision of the Transport Regulation

27 January 2021
Today, Eurogroup for Animals presented its White Paper on the upcoming Revision of the Transport Regulation during a high-level online event, bringing together more than 150 stakeholders from EU institutions, Member States, civil society and industry. The White Paper outlines how the new Transport Regulation should adhere to the basic principles of reducing, refining and replacing live transport, whenever applicable.

Since its foundation, Eurogroup for Animals and its members have been advocating to ensure effective protection of all animals transported. In 2007, Council Regulation 1/2005 - also known as the Transport Regulation - entered into force with the aim to avoid any injury or undue suffering during transport. However, over the years, investigations revealed that its implementation and enforcement is very poor; and scientific sources reported that its provisions are often unfit to ensure effective protection for the animals transported.

Today, Eurogroup for Animals launches a White Paper as a response to the European Commission’s stated aims to revise the Transport Regulation “to align it with the latest scientific evidence, broaden its scope, make it easier to enforce and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare”.

Every day, a vast range of animal species are transported within the EU and beyond for commercial activities, yet the current Transport Regulation does not guarantee effective protection to all of them. In principle, the Transport Regulation should apply to the commercial transport of live vertebrate animals. However, the majority of its provisions refer only to the welfare of certain terrestrial farmed animal species: the requirements for the transport of fish, companion animals and equines are less developed; and measures to ensure the welfare of a large group of species transported for scientific purposes are completely absent. Additionally, by definition, invertebrates transported for food production remain out of the scope of the Regulation. This needs to change.

Furthermore, it’s been widely  demonstrated that existing gaps in the current legislative framework have a significant negative impact on animals. This needs to be addressed by establishing comprehensive species- and category-specific requirements as well as a more efficient enforcement system. To this end, the White Paper provides the European Commission and EU co-legislators with science based key provisions to be included in the revised legislative text to substantially improve the welfare of terrestrial farmed animals, fish and aquatic invertebrates, equines, companion animals, and laboratory animals during transport.

To further facilitate compliance and systematic data collection, a reporting system based on transparent communication on the animals being transported (species and numbers, animal welfare status, journey route) and any transport-related problems, is outlined. Such a system would increase Member States’ accountability and fully exploit the enforcement power of the European Commission.