Key welfare issues

Long distance live transport can cause a number of welfare problems including:

  • 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.

The risk of these problems occurring increases with journey time.


We are concerned that current laws governing the live transport of animals are not nearly good enough to safeguard animal welfare effectively on long journeys. The EU Regulations do not set strict enough limits on key areas such as journey times and space allowances.


Effective enforcement of live transport laws has over the years been 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.

Find out how you can help improve the conditions in which all animals are transported.

Did you find this useful?