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New EU Legislation for the Protection of Animals Transported by Sea

By Published On: March 2, 2023Categories: News

©INRAE / MAITRE Christophe

On 17th February 2023, the EU Commission adopted two new pieces of tertiary legislation with the aim of improving the welfare of live animals while transported by sea.  They are due to enter into force by May 2023.

An implementing regulation was adopted pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005.  Among its provisions are:

  • The development of an electronic database which must include the following information:
    • The certification details of the certificates of approval of livestock vessels in a manner enabling Member States’ competent authorities to rapidly identify the livestock vessels. These details must contain the expiry date of the certificates, information concerning the maximum surface area available for the animals per deck and the type of animals the vessels can transport.
    • Records of past inspections carried out by Member States’ competent authorities on livestock vessels for the purposes of Article 20(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005.
    • Publicly available information on the outcome of Port State control inspections.
  • Transporters intending to transport animals by sea using livestock vessels must submit contingency plans in the event of emergencies, to include a risk analysis of the most likely animal welfare hazards related to such journeys.
  • Inspections for the purpose of granting a Certificate of Approval must be carried out by a team of inspectors which includes an official veterinarian and a maritime expert authorised by the maritime authorities of the Member State.
  • An official veterinarian must be on board a livestock vessel during the entire first voyage of the vessel with consignments of animals following the approval of the livestock vessel and prior to the renewal of such approval. They are required to complete a report of the controls performed on board during the journey, in accordance with the model set out in the Annex to the implementing regulation.
  • When operations involve transport of animals by road from other Member States or long journeys by road from the place of departure to seaports, control posts must be available at exit points at seaports or be within a two-hour journey by road from the exit point concerned.

A delegated regulation was adopted pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2017/625.  Its provisions include the following:

  • Where animals are transported to third countries and part of the journey involves the use of livestock vessels, the competent authorities at the place of departure must verify that contingency plans in the event of emergencies meet the requirements of the above-mentioned implementing regulation.
  • When inspecting livestock vessels during loading and unloading competent authorities must take into account the relevant publicly available results of Port State control inspections.
  • The competent authorities must ensure that inspections on loading of livestock vessels and official controls at exit points at seaports are performed by a team of inspectors which includes an official veterinarian and a maritime expert authorised by the maritime authorities of the Member State.
  • When performing inspections and official controls the competent authorities must take photographs or videos of any element that presents deficiencies, is non-compliant with the relevant provisions, or is likely to negatively affect the welfare of the animals. These photos or videos must be attached to the inspection files.

Source for Implementing Regulation:

Source for Delegated Regulation:



EURCAW Ruminants & Equines