Long distance live transport can cause a number of welfare problems including the following.
- Mental distress for the animals, due to the unusual and potentially frightening sights, movements, noises, smells, unfamiliar animals and stockpersons they will encounter.
- Injuries if the animals are not handled appropriately and carefully during loading and unloading, and transported in well-designed, comfortable vehicles.
- Hunger and dehydration, if animals are not provided with appropriate food, water and plenty of rest breaks.
- Heat stress, if animals are transported for long periods in hot weather.
Evidence shows that the risk of these problems occurring increases with journey time.
Is the law strong enough to protect animal welfare during live transport?
We are concerned that the current laws governing the live transport of animals are not nearly good enough to properly safeguard animal welfare on long journeys. The EU Regulations do not set strict enough limits on key areas such as journey times and space allowances.
Is the law properly enforced?
Effective enforcement of live transport laws has over the years been sadly lacking in many EU member states. Checks carried out by the European Commission’s own inspection body, the Food and Veterinary Office, as well as livestock journeys followed by RSPCA staff, have shown that the authorities in a number of countries are failing to enforce the rules effectively, leading to greater risk of animal suffering.
We are working in a number of different ways to improve the conditions in which all animals are transported.