Cow inside a truck on live animal transport

Progress at EU level for Live Animal Transport

Timeline of progressive steps as FOUR PAWS is working intensely to change existing legislation


Every year, billions of live animals are transported for days or even weeks to be exported to other countries. The animals suffer from exhaustion, heat, cold, hunger, and thirst. Numerous animals are completely dehydrated, and many of them die during or after the transport due to the horrifying conditions. FOUR PAWS is working hard to change existing legislation to achieve an end to long-distance live animal transports and such to other countries.

FOUR PAWS is committed to bringing an end to cruel live animal transports...

through government collaboration on a national, EU, and worldwide level. On an EU level, the current legislation will finally be revised.


December: Disappointment in lack of ambition of the proposed revision of Live Animal Transport Laws in Europe

After much anticipation, the long-awaited proposal for changes to the laws governing the transportation of animals across and out of Europe has finally surfaced from the European Commission.
Years of unwavering campaigning and lobbying have compelled the EU Commission to acknowledge the severe animal welfare issues prevalent during live animal transport within and outside Europe.
These include areas such as excessively long transport hours being a norm, the transportation of the most vulnerable, including pregnant females and unweaned calves as young as 2 weeks old and animals endure harsh temperatures on these journeys from extreme cold to scorching heat.

While it's pleasing that crucial issues are gaining recognition, this proposal lacks the bold ambition needed to address the significant pitfalls in animal welfare! Notably, the proposal completely omits a ban on live exports from the EU – a practice subjecting animals to excruciatingly torturous journeys, often ending in a cruel and painful slaughter upon arrival.

This proposal, the lone revision affecting farmed animals out of four promised, is now up for amendments by the other EU Institutions. Let's unite to ensure it undergoes substantial improvement for the billions of lives relying on it! It’s time to #DoBetterForAnimals.

October: Promise to the citizens broken: Major Animal Welfare legislations will not be delivered!

Despite the numerous promises over the past years, in the European State of the Union speech, President of the European Commision failed mention the revision of animal welfare legislation as a priority for 2024. At the beginning of October, on World Animal Day, the Executive Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič, wrote to Members of the European Parliament indicating the European Commission will not deliver fully on its animal welfare legislative reforms.The Commission’s intent is now to only go ahead with just one of the four promised legislative proposals on animal welfare, which will be on live animal transport.This means that the Commission is breaking its promise to deliver proposals to ‘End the Cage Age’, in line with the demands of 1.4 million European citizens, by the end of 2023. The President still has time to act – and at this critical time, we need your voice! It's time to take action to call on the President on the EU Commission to keep their promise that they vowed to the European people! We need President Ursula Von der Leyen to prioritise animal welfare and make a commitment to NOW.


Animal Welfare is a 'High Priority' for EU, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety states 

Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety stated in the Agriculture and Fisheries meeting of the Council of the EU, that animal transport is a key part of the revision process and a “high priority for the Commission”. This comes in a big year for animal welfare as the European Commission will evaluate all animal welfare legislation and whether “the legal framework is still adequately protecting the animals in the EU”. 


A weak revision of animal transport legislation proposed by Member States 

In January's EU Agriculture and Fisheries ministers meeting, eight EU Member States, which was led by the Portuguese delegation, proposed key reforms on the animal transport legislation. The letter calls for a continuation of live animal exports within and outside the EU instead of supporting a shift to further developing the use of a cold chain and export of meat and carcasses rather than live animals. Other recommendations also include the need for the improvement of transport conditions, as well as planning and contingency plans. FOUR PAWS claims that this is not ambitious enough and that the recommendations in this paper do nothing to deal with the failings of transporting animals long distances, via road and by sea. 


New Zealand passes bill to ban live animal transport from 2023: FOUR PAWS calls of the EU to follow suit

The animal welfare bill, which will ban the export of any live animals beginning on April 30, 2023, was signed by the New Zealand government. When the new legal proposal is published in the EU next year, FOUR PAWS implores them to follow suit and outlaw all exports of live animals. 

FOUR PAWS team on International Day Against Animal Transport

International Day Against Animal Transport

On June 14, 2022, the International Day Against Animal Transport, FOUR PAWS and the Alliance for Animal Welfare Policy drew attention to the suffering of animals during transport with an action in front of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany. FOUR PAWS expert Ina Müller-Arnke gave a speech at the event - making it clear that Germany is one of the largest exporters of cattle to third countries for alleged breeding purposes at EU level. A considerable number of animals are shipped from Germany to countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and others every year, where the animals are slaughtered in unacceptable and cruel ways.


European Parliament plenary vote on ANIT recommendations for the revision of Regulation 1/2005 on the transport of live animals

Missed opportunity. The European Parliament (EP) voted on a set of recommendations to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union regarding the revision of the legal framework for live animal transport. While many important steps were taken in improving the welfare of animals, this was not the flagship policy that was promised. The EP fails to tackle major problems of live animal transport. 


Petition handover by FOUR PAWS to MEP Tilly Metz: 900,000 European citizens call on MEPs to ban cruel live exports 

A petition calling for an EU ban on the live export to third countries of farmed animals with 900,000 signatures was submitted to the European Parliament (EP)t by global animal welfare organisations FOUR PAWS, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), WeMove Europe and Animals International. The joint petition calls on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to strengthen the recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during transport (ANIT) to also support a transport ban of unweaned animals and a maximum journey time on long-distance transports of eight hours for adult bovine, swine and ovine animals and four hours for poultry and rabbits. 


ANIT adopts report on live animal transport and recommendations to improve existing legislation (EU Regulation 1/2005)

FOUR PAWS calls on European Parliament to strengthen recommendations in plenary. The Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport (ANIT) in the European Parliament voted on the report on the systemic problems with live animal transport within and outside the European Union and on recommendations for the revision of the applicable legislation (EU Regulation 1/2005). After the ANIT vote, the recommendations advanced into the plenary of the European Parliament for voting. The documents already address important aspects, but more ambition is needed.


FOUR PAWS action in Brussels – 29 hours of suffering in the heart of Europe

In the run-up to the ANIT vote, FOUR PAWS condemns live animal transport with action to support a vote for strong recommendations for the revision on EU regulation on live animal transports (1/2005) Ahead of the important vote in the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT), FOUR PAWS, alongside Eurogroup for Animals, took action to highlight the need for legislative change to the way animals are transported. For 29 hours, a billboard truck drove through the European district of Brussels to highlight the duration that bovines & ovines can be legally transported without break. The action was also accompanied by speeches from a selection of cross-party Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) taking their stand next to the NGOs. 

Time to change the rules: white paper guides the way for revising the legislation on live animal transports 

The EU-wide legislation regarding the transport of live animals is finally going to be revised in the coming years. This decision was taken, among others, thanks to intensive campaigning led by animal welfare organizations. FOUR PAWS is working intensively on this topic and sees the revision of the EU Regulation (EC) 1/2005 as a chance to finally bring an end to cruel transports of live animals. We aim to completely ban live animal exports to other countries, ban long distance transports and reduce "animal production" in the EU. 

On January 27
th, 2021, our partners, Eurogroup for Animals, presented our joint demands of their members for revising the EU Transport Regulation 1/2005 in the form of a Whitepaper.

FOUR PAWS has contributed to this catalogue of demands and supports the demands.
 Some of the demands expressed in the Whitepaper are:

► Banning transports outside the EU
► Limiting the maximum travel time for adult animals to eight hours
► Limiting the maximum travel t
ime for young weaned animals, who are no longer dependent on a milk diet, for poultry and for rabbits to four hours
► Banning transports off 
unweaned animals, who rely on a milk diet to survive 
► Banning transports for pregnant animals in which 40% of the expected gestation period has elapsed
► Banning transports when, for the duration of the journey, external temperatures are expected to be above 25°C or under 5°C, as well as other species-specific temperature limits

See the full whitepaper here.


Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport  (ANIT)

An EU committee of inquiry on animal transports meets regularly since September 2020. The decision to establish the committee was taken in June 2020.
The committee of inquiry takes a close look at the failures of the European Commission and the EU Member States in implementing and enforcing the animal protection requirements on live animal transports. The systemic and recurrent abuses that animals endure every day are brought up for discussion on the highest political level of the European Union. 

To date, several hearings have taken place in which experts discussed different topics. Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS held a presentation on the problems of long-distance transports within the EU. You can find the presentation and the written answers to questions of Members of the European Parliament here!

Representatives of the European Commission and representatives of the countries currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council are also speaking in the ANIT committee. The committee of inquiry will continue until end of 2021, after which a final report comprising all results will be published. The report's findings will play a role in the future revision of the existing EU Transport Regulation. In any case, these findings will provide the basis for further measures that need to be implemented urgently by the EU Commission and the Member States to end the countless systemic breaches of already inadequate animal protection provisions. FOUR PAWS works intensively towards an end to animal transport outside the EU and to all long-distance animal transports. Instead of live animals, only meat and genetic material should be transported.

The FOUR PAWS Position Paper

The FOUR PAWS Position Paper

Live Animal Transport: Transport via Road and Sea

Pigs in live animal transport


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