Regulation on animal transport in Bulgaria

27 February 2013    
Franz Obermayr (NI)


During a mission to Bulgaria from 5 to 13 June 2012 (FVO (the Food and Veterinary Office) mission report DG(SANCO 2012-6454), found that the system of penalties for infringements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport does not currently allow official veterinary surgeons to levy fines on foreign transport companies.

The same FVO report also reveals that 1500 transports of live animals from various EU Member States destined for Turkey crossed the EU exit point at Kapitan Andreevo where they were to be checked by Bulgarian veterinary surgeons in compliance with the regulation. As the Commission knows, there are numerous reports of infringements of this regulation, including insufficient vehicle roof height, for example, which prevents animals from standing upright and lorries with either defective or non-existent water systems.

In order to be able to implement the regulation appropriately, effective, proportionate and dissuasive systems of penalties are needed as provided for in Article 25 of the regulation.

The regulation came into effect eight years ago in January 2005, but then as now, the Bulgarian authorities are unable to levy fines against foreign transport companies.
This situation gives rise to the following questions:
1.     Why has the Commission not intervened with the Bulgarian authorities in order to tackle the regular failures in the introduction and implementation of Article 25 of the regulation?
2.     Will the Commission act now?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

10 April 2013    

1. It should be noted that the competence to decide on which level a penalty is effective, proportionate and dissuasive rests with the Member States and the applicable EU legislation has not provided the Commission with any empowerment in relation to penalties under the regulation.

However, as the level of penalties is one of the factors that could contribute to ensuring proper enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport(1), the Commission sometimes examines the issue in an overall context during audits carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate General (FVO).

Therefore, the report from the audit carried out by the FVO in Bulgaria in June 2012(2), to which the question refers, recommended that the central competent authority should ensure that penalties are amended to meet the requirements of Article 25 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 to be effective, dissuasive and proportionate. In its response to this recommendation the Bulgarian authorities have explained that a draft law concerning penalties is under discussion in the National Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria.

2. The Commission will follow up with interest the outcome of the discussions on the draft law in Bulgaria.

(1)    Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations, . OJ L 3, 5.1.2005.
(2)    Audit number 2012-6454.