Transport of Animals in Hot Weather: Advice for Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 Welfare of Animals During Transport

Welfare in Transport (WIT) Team, Specialist Service Centre - Exports
Hadrian House, Wavell Drive, Rosehill Industrial Estate, Carlisle, CA1 2TB
Tel: 0845 603 8395 Fax: 01228 591900 Email: wit@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk

  Date: 1st July 2010

Dear Transporter

Welfare of Animals during Transport - Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005.
Advice on the Transport of Animals in Hot Weather.
  1. Exposure to high temperatures and humidity is a major threat to animal welfare during transport. These conditions are a very real possibility during the summer months. Failure to take account of high temperatures when planning journeys and a lack of adequate contingency plans can cause suffering to animals, and in the worst case scenario, death. The following paragraphs detail the Regulation requirements and additional advice which aims to reduce the risk of undue suffering to animals transported over 8 hours in hot weather.
  2. Humidity can significantly increase the adverse effects of high temperatures on animals and cause greater suffering. One of the several mechanisms that animals use to cool themselves in hot weather is the loss of water vapour by sweating or panting. In high humidity, the loss of water vapour is reduced. Thus, in conditions of both high temperature and high humidity, animals may be subject to further heat stress, which may cause distress and even death.

    Action that could be taken to prevent suffering in hot and humid conditions could include:
  • inspecting animals more frequently for signs of heat stress;
  • providing water or electrolyte solutions more frequently;
  • avoiding penning animals in the hotter parts of the vehicle, these are located at the front end and higher levels of the vehicle;
  • increasing the space allowance for the animals by at least 30%;
  • increasing headroom above animals to maximise air movement and increase the potential for heat exchange. Remove tiers and folding decks where possible;
  • avoiding travelling in the hotter parts of the day by scheduling the journey or planning to take advantage of cooler conditions at night;
  • parking in the shade whenever possible, ideally with the vehicle positioned perpendicular to any prevailing wind;
  • using a vehicle with a light coloured roof to reduce the effects of solar gain.
  1. Contingency plans should be in place for every journey, and are particularly important in hot conditions as delays, which might be relatively insignificant under normal conditions, can become critical very quickly. Such plans, which drivers should be familiar with and able to implement, should detail who to contact in an emergency, where to obtain water, location of control posts, recognition of signs of heat stress and appropriate action to be taken.
  2. Transporters who will be carrying farmed livestock and horses on journeys over 8 hours to other EU Member states and on journeys over 12 hours within the UK need to be aware of the specific ventilation and temperature monitoring requirements of Council Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

    In order for a Vehicle Inspection and Approval Certificate to be valid, the vehicle must be fitted with equipment that monitors and records the temperature within the animal compartment, and a ventilation system that can work for at least 4 hours with the engine switched off. Ventilation systems must be capable of maintaining a range of temperatures from 5ºC to 30ºC within the means of transport, for all animals, with a +/- 5ºC tolerance, depending on the outside temperature. This equipment must be in full working order. Transporters or their drivers and attendants may be required to demonstrate the equipment is working.

    All vehicles must carry water and suitable drinking equipment, in full working order which can provide sufficient water or if appropriate electrolytes according to the species and age of the animal. To minimise animal stress of travelling in hot weather, full use must be made of ventilation systems and animals should be offered liquid more frequently.

    Details on vehicle ventilation can be found at:
    http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/welfare/transport/documents/ventilation.pdf.
    http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/welfare/transport/documents/vehicle_ventilation.pdf

    Please note that specific derogations relating to mechanical ventilation and temperature monitoring apply to journeys within the UK over 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Details on such derogations can be found within the enclosed Guidance Notes, Paragraph 5.18: www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/welfare/transport/documents/watoguidance180208.pdf.
  3. With immediate effect and until the end of September 2010, the Specialist Service Centre Exports, Carlisle may take the decision not to approve Journey Logs when they have good reason to believe that the animals will be subjected during the journey to ambient temperatures which the Department considers could cause unnecessary suffering or death.
  4. Enforcement officers finding any non-compliances will take appropriate action which may include interrupting the journey until the shortcomings are remedied.
  5. This letter is being copied to the European Commission and to the competent Authorities in other Member States who, like us, have powers to interrupt journeys and take enforcement action if the welfare of animals during transport is, or is thought likely to be, prejudiced.
  6. Should you have any queries on this letter please contact the Welfare in Transport Team on 0845 603 8395, lines are open from 08:30 to 17:00 Monday to Friday. Alternatively please e-mail, wit@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk.

Welfare in Transport Team
Specialist Service Centre Exports, Carlisle
Animal Health

Head Office: Animal Health Corporate Centre, Block C, Government Buildings, Whittington Road, Worcester WR5 2LQ
t +44(0)1905 763355 f +44(0)1905 768851 e corporate.centre@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk
Animal Health is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and also works on behalf of the Scottish
Government
, Welsh Assembly Government and the Food Standards Agency
www.defra.gov.uk/animalhealth

WT17 (Rev. 07/10)

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