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Transport of Live Animals


On 05 January 2007 new EU rule (Council Regulation (EC) 1 of 2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations) (pdf 25,716Kb)               on the protection of animals during transport came into operation. The Council Regulation has been given legal effect in Ireland by the European Communities (Animal Transport and Control Post) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 675 of 2006). (pdf 143Kb)              

The Council Regulation is aimed at improving the welfare of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, dogs and poultry, during transport throughout the European Union.

It is important to note that the new rules only apply to the transport of animals undertaken in connection with an economic activity. The transport of animals directly to or from veterinary practices or clinics, under the advice of a veterinarian and the transport of animals to or from shows or gymkanas by its owner are also excluded from the provisions of the Regulation.

In addition to the above, the requirement to hold a certificate of competence and a transport authorisation does not apply in relation to cases involving a person transporting one animal or where two animals are accompanied by a driver and an attendant who has responsibility for the welfare of the animals. In these circumstances a mare and a foal travelling together may be considered as a single unit.

Farmers transporting their own animals in their own vehicle up to a maximum distance of 65km are also excluded from the main provisions of the Regulation. However, they must observe General Conditions for the transport of animals. (pdf 11Kb)              

Farmers transporting animals on journeys over 65km on a regular basis may have to apply to the Department of Agriculture and Food for an authorisation. However, in relation to training these farmers will be deemed to have the necessary competence based on agricultural training undertaken in Ireland, the approval process for herd numbers and the availability of a booklet on standards for animal transport.

Commercial transporters transporting animals on journeys up to a maximum distance of 65km are not required to be authorised or to undergo training. However, they are required to carry documentation in their vehicle stating:

  • the origin and ownership of the animals
  • the place of departure
  • the date and time of departure
  • the intended place of destination and the expected duration of the journey.

Click here to download form (pdf 18Kb)              

The Department recommends that transporters hold on to this document for at least 6 months.


Under the Council Regulation it is a legal requirement when transporting live animals on journeys over 65km in connection with an economic activity to be authorised by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The Regulation provides for two types of authorisation

Type 1

Authorisation covers journeys over 65km (short journeys) to a maximum duration of 8 hours (transports undertaken within the island of Ireland) 


Type 2

Authorisation covers journeys over 8 hours (long journeys - transport from Ireland) -

An application form for a Transport Authorisation can be downloaded from the following link Application Form to become an Authorised Transporter (pdf 59Kb)              . 

When completing the application form it is recommended that you carefully read the Guidelines and Checklist for completing the Transport Authorisation Application Form. (pdf 58Kb)              

Transport of Live Animals

Transport of 'other' live animals

The Department has drafted guidelines to set out the requirements in relation to the welfare of species other than bovine, ovine, caprine, porcine and equine species during commercial transport.  Included under this general heading of "other species" are animals such as dogs, cats, small mammals, caged birds, reptiles etc.
DAFM Guidelines for the Welfare of "Other Species" During Transport Rev 02 May 2013 (doc 302Kb)                           

Important Note: A Transport Authorisation issued by the Department of Agriculture and Food does not absolve a transporter from his or her responsibilities in complying with legislation enforced by other Government Departments.


The Council Regulation requires that transporters who transport live animals in connection with an economic activity on journeys over 65km may only entrust the handling of animals to staff who have received training on technical provisions of the Regulation. The technical provisions include fitness to travel, the means of transport, facilities and procedures, journey times and rest periods, space allowances and documentation.

The Regulation also requires operators/managers of livestock marts and assembly centres to entrust the handling of animals to staff who have received training on fitness, handling and separation of animals.

Certificate of Competence

Since 5 January 2008, drivers of vehicles transporting cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, dogs and all other small animals  on journeys over 65km will be required to hold a certificate of competence.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has approved Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, to provide training and examinations in accordance with the Council Regulation for the transport of livestock. 

Holders of a Certificate of Competence are reminded to check the expiry date on their Certificate. Please be advised that in order to obtain a new Certificate you will be required to re-sit the training course run by Teagasc or RACE (details below).


2020 Course Schedule for Drivers and Attendants of Cattle, Sheep, Poultry




 28th August 2020


Large Animals Only (Cattle, Sheep, Pigs)

Kildalton College


Piltown, Co. Kilkenny
Zerlina Pratt
051 644527

Please book into the college early and pay your application fee to ensure your place, however if you have already completed this course please ignore the above re training.

The Racing Academy Centre of Education (RACE) will provide training and examinations in accordance with the Council Regulation for the transport of horses.


RACE (Racing Academy & Centre of Education)

Tel. 045-522468



Gills Driving School, Church Road, Ballina, Co Mayo
Tel. 096-73030


The above courses will run subject to sufficient numbers applying.

To apply for a course, please download the application form - Racing Academy Centre of Education Transport Course Application Form. (pdf 601Kb)              

When completed the application form should be returned to the Racing Academy Centre of Education, Curragh House, Dublin Road, Kildare.

Horse Sport Ireland, Beech House, Millennium Park, Oberstown, Naas, Co. Kildare (Phone No 045 850800) also run training courses for horses. Please contact them directly for information on course dates and an application form.

Vehicle Requirements

The design of a vehicle used to transport live animals must be to a standard that it provides for the safety of the animal during loading, transit and unloading and protect animals from unnecessary suffering, injury and from the weather.

The vehicle must be escape-proof and sufficiently strong to bear the weight of the species it is to carry. The walls, partitions, floors and side protection gates must be free of any sharp edges, protrusions, gaps, holes and spaces that are likely to cause injury. Slippery conditions on floors must be avoided. There must be access, with sufficient lighting, to the animals in the vehicle to allow them to be inspected and cared for.

In addition, sufficient space should be provided inside the animals' compartment and at each of its levels, to ensure that there is adequate ventilation above the animals when they standing in a naturally standing position, without on any account hindering their natural movement.

Vehicles in which animals are transported must be clearly and visibly marked indicating the presence of live animals.

Approval of Vehicles used on long journeys (over 8 hours in duration)

Vehicles used for the transport of animals on long journeys must be inspected and approved by the Department of Agriculture and Food. Guidelines on the specifications required for vehicles to be approved can be downloaded at links below:

Please click on the following link for important information from the UK authorities re travelling to or via the UK in relation to revised procedures for vehicle checks.

Arrangements for presenting a vehicle for an inspection can be made by contacting the Transport Section at Tel:  01-6072143

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Welfare Division 4C
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2


Journey Logs

The Council Regulation requires any person who transports cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or unregistered horses on journeys over 8 hours (from Ireland) in connection with an economic activity to complete a Updated Journey Log (pdf 244Kb)               (formerly known as a Route Plan).

The Journey Log will need to be approved by the appropriate District Veterinary Office (DVO). For more information please refer to Journey Log Guidelines. (pdf 40Kb)   

Public Awareness

The Department has produced the following leaflets and poster on the Council Regulation:

Best Practice for the Welfare of Animals during Transport

The Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) has produced a booklet on best practice for the welfare of animals during transport. The Department has also drafted Guidelines for the welfare of animals during transport. The FAWAC booklet and the Guidelines for the welfare of animals during transport can be downloaded from the links below: