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    Ensure Livestock Driver Certification before May
16/12/07

While the immediate pressure to obtain Certificates of Competence for all those transporting livestock is off, the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) stresses that beef and sheep producers must make sure they secure any certification necessary for drivers and vehicle attendants under the new 2007 EU animal transport regulations by the end of April 2008.

© Bateson Trailers

Livestock Trailer

The original January 5 deadline for obtaining the certificates remains in force. However, as part of the Defra aid package linked to FMD and Bluetongue, it has been agreed that no sanctions will be taken against transporters undertaking journeys within the UK without certificates until the end of April.

The 65 km (40 mile) cut-off means most farmers are unlikely to require Certificates of Competence for the majority of their day-to-day livestock movements. Nor will they need certification for longer distance journeys involving individual animals or stock moving to and from veterinary facilities under veterinary advice.

However, all those who may need to transport several animals more than 65 km at any stage – to or from breeding stock sales, more distant markets, abattoirs or holdings, for instance – would be well advised to ensure key individuals are trained and certified within the coming few months. Certificates covering journeys of under eight hours will only require a theory test rather than the practical assessment of driving and animal handling skills also demanded for those involved in longer journeys.

These requirements are, of course, in addition to having a valid transporter authorisation for the business, completing the necessary Animal Transport Certificate for each journey and abiding by the animal welfare rules governing all animal transport over whatever distance

Certificates of Competence can be obtained through the National Proficiency Test Council and SAI Global/EFSIS. They are awarded on the successful completion of either a computer-based multiple choice test at assessment centres across England and Wales or a one-to-one test conducted by an independent assessor at a farm or other suitable venue.

In each case the assessments test a range of competencies, including legal requirements, responsibilities when transporting animals, planning journeys, vehicle suitability, checking animals and fitness to travel, causes and signs of stress, handling and welfare in transit, and
space allowances, stocking densities and segregation requirements.

Full details of the NPTC test schedules, test centre locations, testing arrangements and costs are available through www.nptc.org.uk.

A series of Defra-funded workshops will be run across England in January to highlight the requirements and process of certification. Full details are available from ADAS on 01522 521302 or by e-mail from animalhealth@adas.co.uk.

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