Select Committee on European Scrutiny First Report


COM(01) 197

Report from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament on the application of the different ventilation systems for animal transport vehicles for road journeys exceeding eight hours.

Draft Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No. 411/98 as regards ventilation in road vehicles carrying livestock on long journeys.

Legal base: (b) Article 37 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
Documents originated: 9 April 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 9 April 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 2 May 2001
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Basis of consideration: EM of 28 June 2001
Previous Committee Report: None; but see (22004) 14650/00: HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 16 (28 February 2001)
To be discussed in Council: No date set
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Not cleared; further information requested


14.1  Community measures for the protection of animals during transport contain a number of detailed provisions, but in essence they prohibit the transport of an animal unless it is fit, the vehicle used complies with certain requirements and is accompanied by a trained attendant, and those transporting animals are registered by a competent Member State authority. Special provisions — notably those in Council Regulation (EC) No. 411/98[23] — apply to journeys exceeding eight hours, covering such matters as access and partitioning, bedding, feed and water supply, and ventilation.

14.2  As our predecessors noted in their Report of 28 February 2001, the Commission produced towards the end of last year a report to the Council on the way in which the various provisions had been implemented. This highlighted a number of areas of concern on which the Commission indicated that it intended to present proposals "in the near future". One of those concerned the adequacy of the ventilation of vehicles used to transport animals on long journeys, on which the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare had previously adopted an opinion. The Commission has now produced both a Report to the Council (document (a)) based on the Scientific Committee's opinion, and a draft Council Regulation (document (b)) which would give effect to the Scientific Committee's recommendations.

The current documents

14.3  In its Report, the Commission notes the Scientific Committee's view that thermal stress is recognised as one of the major reasons for reduced welfare of transported animals, due to their passing (usually from northern to southern Europe) through various climatic zones within a relatively short time span, and to the changes in temperature, humidity and atmosphere arising from their being in a closed container. It also notes that each type of animal has a specific range of acceptable temperatures, and the importance placed by the Scientific Committee on adaptable ventilation systems being capable of maintaining such a range, independently of the vehicle engine. The Scientific Committee also recommended that all vehicles should have a monitoring and warning system for temperature and humidity as well as a means of recording these parameters, allowing the driver to take appropriate remedies and for compliance to be verified by the competent authorities.

14.4  In its accompanying proposal for a draft Council Regulation, the Commission suggests that vehicles used to transport animals must be equipped with a ventilation system adequate to ensure that their welfare is "permanently guaranteed", taking into account the planned journey and its duration, the design of the vehicle, the atmospheric conditions which may occur during the journey, the needs of the species concerned and the space available to them. In particular, the system must be capable of maintaining the temperature in the vehicle (adjusted for humidity) within the maximum and minimum levels set out in Annex A below. Other requirements include monitoring and warning systems, and a means of recording the necessary data on conditions within the vehicle.

The Government's view

14.5  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 28 June 2001, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Commons) at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Elliot Morley) says that the UK is committed to higher standards for animal welfare, but that, in common with some other Member States, it is not convinced that the proposal as drafted is practical, or offers the desired level of improvement in standards. In particular, it is concerned that the proposal lacks clear parameters, such as the type and timing of a regime of temperature and humidity monitoring, and the means of recording data and transmitting it to competent authorities. Data for determining the most effective positions for the placing of temperature and humidity sensors is also needed.

14.6  The Minister also says that a Regulatory Impact Assessment will be prepared and submitted once the consultation exercise initiated by the Government has been completed.


14.7  Since the Minister has said that he will be providing a Regulatory Impact Assessment, we will in any case await that before taking a view on this proposal. However, when that Assessment is made available, we would find it helpful if the Government could spell out more clearly the shortcomings of the proposal in the areas indicated in paragraph 14.5 above, as well as the sort of improvements it would like to see.

23   OJ No. L 52, 21.2.98, p.8. Back

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