UK Animal Welfare During Transit


Since January 2008, drivers, attendants and handlers who use road vehicles to transport farm animals, horses and birds in connection with an economic (business or trade) activity travelling distances over 65Km, need to possess an animal transport certificate of competence to comply with the law.

Animal welfare during transportation is a standard set by EU law and is implemented via the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 2006 for England. This article explains the ins and outs of the legislation to ensure you comply with the law when transporting your animals.

The law has been put in place so that a journey is properly planned, with time in transit kept to a minimum to avoid animal injury and suffering. The law also states that the animals must be fit for travel, have trained handlers, have suitable loading and unloading facilities that won’t cause injury, have access to food and water in transport with adequate floor space and height. Please note it is illegal to transport an animal that is unfit for travel. The criteria that specify what an “unfit to travel animal” is, include:

  • Very young animals, such as calves under 10 days old, piglets under 3 weeks and lambs under 1 week old.
  • Calves must not be transported for journeys longer than 8 hours when they are less than 14 days old.
  • Puppies and Kittens less than 8 weeks old, unless then are accompanied by their mother.
  • Female animals that are heavily pregnant (90% way through their gestation period) or have given birth in the last 7 days, unless instructed by a vet.
  • Sick and injured animals unless instructed by a vet, and
  • Shorn sheep during cold weather.

The specific qualifications that need to be undertaken depend on the distance and duration of the animal transportation. The cut off points for the various qualifications are journeys under 65Km, short journeys (over 65Km but under 8 hours) and Long Journeys (any journey’s totalling longer than 8 hours).

Journeys under 65Km

For animal transportation journeys under 65Km, it isn’t necessary to have the certificate of competence or for your vehicle to be authorised. Nevertheless, you still need to have an ATC that is correctly filled out and your handlers and driver must have had a form of relevant training for transporting your particular animal.

hush-animals-in-transitShort Journeys

A short journey is classified as animal transportation distances of over 65Km but under 8 hours in duration. The documentation you will need for short journeys include a valid transportation authorisation for short journeys and valid animal transportation certificates of competence for all drivers and handlers undergoing the short journey transportation. This test can be as simple as a multiple choice question sheet tailored to the species you transport. For example, poultry and birds have a separate test paper to farm animals (horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, goats etc).

Long Journeys

Long journeys are any animal transportation journeys totalling more than 8 hours. You need to contain the same documentation as the short journey but the testing is specifically aimed at the species you transport. You will also need a valid approval certificate for your vehicle/container and you may even be required legally to have satellite navigation and a tracking system. For more information about the legalities, the government website has more information about the legal requirements for the welfare of animals during transit.

What you should expect when you take the long journey qualification is to begin with a paper-based test tailored to the specific animal species you transport over long journeys. Then you must pass the long journey practical test. The practical test consists of an oral/practical assessment for either the attendant or driver, which normally is conducted at your place of work. For attendants you will be tested on loading a representative animal species into the transport usually used for the long journey transportation. Drivers will be tested on their ability to load and transport the animals in the form of transport used normally. Both handlers will be tested on their knowledge or the current legislations, welfare and animal rest stop responsibilities and handling abilities of the animal species.

Where you can get an animal certificate of Competence?

hush-farms-logoHush Farms, based in the South West, can offer you LANTRA’s accredited paper-based approach to gaining the animal in transportation certificate for both short and long journey qualifications. Because this qualification is paper-based the qualification can take place at any venue of your choice throughout the UK, as there is no need for computers, making this a more affordable way to get your qualification. A Hush Farms qualification enables drivers, attendants and handlers to meet the law requirements. 




Photograph copyright Hush Farms