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Stackyard News May 06

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Defra consults on new welfare of animals during transport rules

Consultation proposals for new national rules and procedures for the welfare of animals during transport are published today.

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They will affect those transporting all vertebrate animals in connection with an economic activity including hauliers and farmers transporting animals to market. They will not affect:

  • transport of animals not in connection with an economic activity e.g. taking a pet on holiday

  • journeys to or from a veterinary practice or clinic under veterinary instruction

  • farmers transporting their own animals in their vehicles under 50km

The new rules require among other things that:

  • From 5 January 2007 anyone transporting vertebrate animals over 65km must be specifically authorised
  • All vehicles used to transport animals over 8 hours must be inspected and approved against new standards and
  • From 5 January 2008, drivers and attendants on journeys over 65km must hold a certificate of competence if transporting horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or poultry

Stringent rules will apply to all commercial journeys in respect of:

  • Responsibilities of transporters and keepers and handling practices
  • Fitness to travel and journey limits for young animals
  • Transport of horses and
  • Journeys through markets

Those affected will also include anyone providing training and assessment of drivers, attendants and market staff in welfare in transport rules.

Ben Bradshaw, minister for animal health and welfare, welcomed the implementation of these new rules.

He said: "These new rules, which the UK supported, will enable us to protect the welfare of animals in transport better than we do now.

"While they do not address the key welfare issues of journey times and space allowances they are a welcome step forward. We look forward to the Commission's review of the new rules including journey times in 2011.

"Defra and devolved administrations will be working closely with stakeholder organisations to help farmers, transporters and others understand the changes and what they must do to comply."

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