No subsidies for animal transport cruelty outside of the EU


FOUR PAWS welcomes the judgement of the European Court of Justice that could affect 170 million live animals transported per year

Brussels, 19 October 2017, The European Court of Justice confirmed that European animal welfare regulation on live animal transport apply to the entire journey, including outside the European Union. In order to get export refunds on livestock, exporters are required to follow Regulation No 1/2005, guaranteeing the protection of animals during transport and to minimize suffering and cruelty, until the first place of unloading in the third country of final destination. The court ruling was linked to an excruciating journey of animals from the Netherlands to Beirut and is not the first time the European Court issues a ruling which calls for implementation of European law for live animal transport for animals sent beyond European borders.

“FOUR PAWS welcomes today’s Court decision, improving the welfare of millions of animals exported outside EU borders every year during their transport. This gives full effect to the previous case and it is absolutely normal that, in return for a reimbursement, the exporters should guarantee the highest welfare to the animals during their transport,”  says Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels.

The livestock export company did not complete the journey log for the 13 days of transport to Beirut of 36 live bovines, of which 5 died. The journey log was only completed until the exit point of the EU. Nevertheless, the veterinarian in Beirut stated that the welfare of the bovines was good and the transport was carried out according to European rules for animal welfare during transport.

Because of the incomplete journey log, the Dutch competent authority rejected the veterinarian’s statement and requested the reimbursement of the export refund with an additional 10% penalty.

The court was asked whether the transporter must keep the journey log up to date until the first place of unloading in the third country of final destination or whether it is sufficient that the journey log be handed over to the official veterinarian at the exit point of the Union. Without having access to such, a veterinarian in the third country cannot attest that the route plan records are in compliance with European rules on animal transport and export refunds. The route plan records hold information on the duration of the journey and the resting times of the animals. The judgement states that the original journey log has to be completed until the exit point of the EU. A copy of the journey log has to be kept and completed until the first unloading point of the country of final destination. The Court based its decision on the effectiveness of animal welfare.

“Once again, the serious inconsistencies of regulation No 1/2005 have been pointed out and we hope that the EU Commission will finally consider a revision, as required by the “stop the trucks” campaign”, as quoted by Pierre SULTANA.


Continue reading No subsidies for animal transport cruelty outside of the EU


15.05.2017 – Practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport now available in many languages

Practical EU guidelines to assess the fitness of pigs for transport have now been translated into several official languages by the EU Commission to help professionals to ensure that pigs are in a fit state to be transported. They are written by leading EU agri-food, veterinary, road transport and animal welfare stakeholder groups. Read the Press Release.


FVE calls to end suffering of animals at long distance transport

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) is concerned about serious animal welfare issues related to the long-distance transport and export of livestock. With reference to its long-standing position on the welfare of animals during transportii, FVE emphasizes the urgent need to really implement and to respect agreed standards for the welfare of animals during transport.

For a number of reasons waiting periods for trucks arriving at the Bulgarian-Turkish border can become very long. This cannot go on and action is urgently needed.

Animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises on which they are born and slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.

Read the full position paper in here.


European Parliament Motion for a resolution on animal transport

On August 9 the European Parliament has published a motion for a resolution on animal transport . 

The European Parliament, The European Parliament The European Parliament

–  having regard to Rule 133 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport acts to protect animals in transit in all the Member States in order to prevent them suffering unnecessarily;

B.  whereas Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) stipulates that the Union and the Member States are to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals as sentient beings when formulating and implementing policies;

C.  whereas the European Court of Justice has ruled in Case C-424/13 that the Regulation has to be complied with in non-EU countries too if the animals concerned started their journey in an EU Member State;

D.  whereas investigations conducted over five years into animal transport conditions at the Turkish border in Kapikule have revealed animals forced to travel in extremely high temperatures, without any food or water, without sufficient headroom, some injured, all crammed together in their own excrement and with no possibility of receiving any care;

E.  whereas Italian exports to Turkey quadrupled between 2014 and 2015;

1.  Calls on the Commission to draw up measures that put protection of animal welfare before the commercial interests of the states involved in animal transport operations.


Transport of live animals in the European Union

In this EU Petition, the Animals’ Angels seeks revision of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations. According to the petitioner, every year millions of live animals are transported to abattoirs under unacceptable conditions in the EU and many animals die during transport. The petitioner asks the European Parliament to arrange for rules to be adopted imposing a limit of 8 hours’ transport for animals being taken to abattoirs.

More in here.


Practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport

Press Release:

European Commission welcomes practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport

Brussels, 21 January 2016

Practical EU guidelines to assess the fitness of pigs for transport, aiming to be an extra tool available to professionals to ensure a high level of fitness for transport of pigs, written by leading EU agri-food, veterinary, road transport, and animal welfare stakeholder groups, have been welcomed by the European Commission. The move comes after 2 years of work by the UECBV, Copa and Cogeca, Eurogroup for Animals, Animals’ Angels, FVE, IRU, ELT, INAPORC and Cooperl Arc Atlantique. “Whilst the role of European legislation is essential in setting out harmonised rules to protect the animals’ welfare, guidelines such as these which explain how these rules should be carried out in practice are crucial,” said Mr Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of DG SANTE, speaking after the meeting. Continuing, he added that “these joint guidelines will help all those responsible to work together to ensure a high level of welfare of transported animals".

These guidelines are designed to provide easy to understand help and advice to professionals involved in the transportation of pigs and aim to complement existing EU legislation. The guidelines do not represent the real situation in Europe today, but provide a comprehensive list of situations that may occur and the conditions that may result in an animal being classed as unfit for transport to help operators ensure animal welfare is constantly maximised. The guidelines are visual and use photographs/drawings and simple texts to help all operators decide on the suitability of pigs for transport. Ensuring a high level of welfare of animals during transport is in everyone’s interest.

Transporting animals that are unfit not only causes animal suffering but could also lead to penalties, financial losses and the withdrawal of the authorisation of the transporter and/or the driver as well. Whilst the guidelines’ primary aim is to ensure a high level of animal welfare, they also can be useful to better protect the health and safety of anyone involved in the transport process. The guidelines are currently available in English, with Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish versions available in the next few months. 

If you are a professional involved in the transport of pigs (producer, veterinarian, transporter, etc.), you can request a copy through the FVE website via

For free download you can go under the FVE restricted website

FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe)

Copa and Cogeca (European farmers and European agri-cooperatives)

UECBV (European Livestock and Meat Trades Union)

Eurogroup for animals (European organisation on animal welfare)

Animals’ Angels (international organisation on animal welfare)

IRU (International Road Transport Union)

ELT (European Livestock Transporters)

INAPORC (l’interprofession nationale porcine – France)

Cooperl Arc Atlantique- 


Thousands of sheep died on their last journey from Europe to Asia

FOUR PAWS findings shows animal welfare problems before the sea journey

Vienna, 8 June 2015 – The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS outcries the deadly suffering of thousands of sheep during long distance transport. Following a road trip, 13.000 sheep have been boarded in the harbour of Midia, Romania on a vessel with destination Jordan. According to Jordanian authorities about 5.200 sheep died on the vessel after eight days without feed and water [1]. The president of one of the Romanian farming associations told FOUR PAWS that real number of dead animals is 11.000.

FOUR PAWS investigations shows that some sheep were ill or dead and missing ear rings while they were still on land in the trucks at the gate of the harbour [2]. The findings shows that the dead sheep belong to Holder Trade, a Romanian based company with a 6 million euro yearly turnover exporting 12.000 sheep and 4.000 cattle each year to Western Europe, Africa and Middle East [3]. The findings also includes video materials that shows dead and ill animals without ear rings inside a Holder Trade vehicle parked at the gate of Midia harbour by the Romanian coast of the Black Sea. According to the law each farm animal must wear an ear ring shortly after birth to prove the origin.

 “We found that this company collects animals from all around the country for export, so they arrive already exhausted in the harbour”, says FOUR PAWS campaigner Gabriel Paun. “At our arrival most of the animals were already boarded on the vessel but those we filmed in the truck seemed to be refused to go to Jordan and left to an unknown destination. Without wearing ear rings those sheep were absolutely illegal”.

The incident occurs few weeks after the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture lifted an eight-month ban on the import of livestock from Romania, where an outbreak of the bluetongue disease was reported during 2014 [4]. Now the Jordanian authorities requested that the vessel dispose of the dead animals before allowing the healthy ones to enter the country. “Throwing dead animals overboard in the sea is a disgusting common practice of transport companies. They can spread diseases and affect marine life. Waves brought many times the corpses on the beach. In April we received information about a dead cow laying on the beach of Tel Aviv after 32 cows died during a transport from Romania to Israel”, added Gabriel Paun.

 According to the EU legislation long distance transport refers to journeys longer than eight hours. Considering the average size of a European state a transport over eight hours means most of the times international transport already. This kind of transport by truck, vessel or airplane was not common practice in the past. It exploded due to the need of various markets for cheap fresh meat. For example Western Europe is producing common breed of cattle such as Charolaise, Black Angus, Red Angus, Blue Belgian or Limousine and sends them by truck to Eastern Europe for further breeding and fattening. Having a strategic geographical position (road hub and sea access), Romania collects farm animals from Eastern Europe and export them to western Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

“Many business people do not realise that these are living animals, not products. When they die during long distance transport it becomes crystal clear that it is less than comfortable.  It is the supreme suffering a sentient being can bear. No matter how strict the rules are such mass death occurs more and more often. European states should export meat, not live animals. This extremely suspicious death of thousands of poor animals must be deeper investigated. The truth has to come to light and the criminals must be severely prosecuted” said Gabriel Paun.


FOUR PAWS calls on an end of long distance transport and for European producers to offer consumers the choice to buy meat from animals born, farmed and slaughtered in the same country. Information about the region(s) of birth, farming and slaughter should also be clearly mentioned on the label. This should lead to a significant reduction of duration of the transport for animals.






Animal welfare rules during transport also apply outside of EU borders

Today, the European Court of Justice ruled that animal welfare requirements during transport have also to be respected when the transport is taking place outside of EU borders.

A German transporter wanted to transport cattle from Germany to Uzbekistan, crossing a part of the EU territory, but also third countries including Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan. He wanted to respect EU welfare transport rules only until EU external border (Belarus) and not for the part of the journey taking place in Russia and Asia, representing for the animals a continuous travel time of 146 hours with no food, no water and no rest.

According to Regulation 1/2005 on the welfare of animals during transport, the organiser of such a transport has to submit to the national competent authority a logbook containing the details of the planned journey, including resting time. The German competent authority has rejected the logbook, for the reason that EU welfare transport rules were not respected. In a reference for a preliminary ruling, the German competent authority asked to the EU Court if EU transport rules can also apply outside of EU borders. 

In its judgment, the Court referred to the animal welfare principle of Article 13 to estimate that the scope of EU transport Regulation 1/2005 is not limited to transports taking place inside EU borders, but also covers transports starting from inside the EU territory.

The Court stated “the authority may require, among other things, changes to the arrangements for the intended  transport  in  order  to  ensure  that  it  will  pass  by  enough  resting  and  transfer  points  to indicate  that  the  transport  will  comply  with  the  requirements  as  to  watering  and  feeding  intervals and journey times and resting periods”.

VIER PFOTEN / FOUR PAWS welcome this decision which is a big victory for animal welfare and a small hope for the millions of animals that are regularly transported from and across the EU.

More on the EU Court official press release

Text of the judgment: