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Minister Coughlan announces details of Transport Regulation from January

- SIMPLIFIED SYSTEM TO APPLY FOR FARMERS -

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., confirmed today that she was making arrangements to implement the EU Transport Regulation, which harmonises EU rules on the transport and care of animals. It will apply on a phased basis from January 2007.

The Regulation puts in place rules in respect of the transport of animals for three categories of journey:-

  • up to 65 kilometres;
  • over 65 kilometres and under 8 hours; and
  • long journeys over 8 hours.

The Regulation also contains provisions relating to staff at marts and assembly centres.

"The vast majority of Irish farmers and transporters currently operate to the highest of animal welfare standards. The new Regulation will now clearly state those standards, and will be applied in a sensible manner, ensuring compliance with the legislation, no additional cost to farmers and no disruption to trade", Minister Coughlan said.

While basic minimum provisions relating to the welfare of animals must continue to be observed, persons transporting animals up to 65km will not require any authorisation or specific training.

Persons transporting animals beyond 65km will have to register with their District Veterinary Office. They are also, from 2008, required to demonstrate competence. Farmers using their own vehicles on journeys over 65km however will not have to undergo any specific training as they will be deemed to have the required competence based on the levels of farmer training undertaken in Ireland, the approval process for herd numbers and the availability of a Department issued leaflet on animal transport. Commercial transporters over 65km will have to carry documentation relating to the animals and journey.

Personnel involved in transporting animals for long journeys (more than 8 hours) will be required to have undergone training and to hold certificates of competence from 2008. The Regulation provides for submission of journey logs (formerly known as route plans) and specifies standards for vehicles involved in such transport relating to insulation, ventilation, minimum height specification, ramps, etc. Mandatory satellite tracking will be required on new road vehicles from 2007 and on all such vehicles (excluding the transport of registered horses) from 2009.

Exemptions in the Regulation facilitate transport of animals to shows and transport of mares during the foaling heat. The completion of journey logs and installation of navigation systems are not required for the transport of horses on journeys over 8 hours.

Concluding, Minister Coughlan said: "Properly regulated transport of animals plays an essential role in supporting both our indigenous farming activity on this island and our export trade in live animals. I am satisfied that Ireland will meet the requirements of the Regulation without imposing additional obstacles or costs on farmers."

19 September, 2006

Date Released: 19 September 2006