chicken in truck


Working towards a ban on live animal transport

Every year, billions of animals are transported over thousands of kilometres - by air, sea or land - to be slaughtered or fattened for slaughter. During these journeys, they suffer tremendously due to stress, exhaustion, over-heating and injuries. Even unweaned calves are transported from the age of 14 days on long journeys, suffering hunger, thirst and thermal stress which heavily impacts their weak immune system. Nor is any special care given to pregnant animals, who sometimes end up giving birth in terrible conditions on board vehicles or ships.

FOUR PAWS is working intensively to change existing legislation to put an end to cruel long-distance live animal transports to third countries.

Why and how do animals suffer during transport?

  • The maximum loading density is exceeded, which does not allow animals to rest in normal position
  • Insufficient height inside vehicles, especially for cattle in double-decker trucks
  • Maximum permitted transport time is often exceeded and mandatory resting stops do not take place
  • Temperature limits inside the vehicle are exceeded (>30°C and <5°C)
  • Unsuitable loading ramps, often too steep and slippery
  • Lack of suitable equipment for feed and water, particularly during transport of young, unweaned animals
  • Transport of animals that are unfit for travel due to sickness and/or broken limbs
  • Transport of heavily pregnant animals
  • On-vehicle fights between animals originating from different stables
  • Rough handling of animals during loading and unloading, leading to intense stress, fear and serious physical injuries
  • Poorly trained staff and badly paid drivers, leading to reckless driving
  • Missing control posts and resting stations in third countries


What are we doing about this?

  • Together with other animal welfare organisations we are lobbying at European level for a revision of EU Transport Regulation 1/2005 to put an end to long-distance transport of live animals
  • We are calling for full compliance of existing regulations and consequential sanctions when infringements are obvious as first steps until live animal transport is effectively banned
  • We continuously present our science-based demands and recommendations for animal welfare improvement in live animal transport to the European Parliament and Commission 

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 EU policy on live animal transport

A timeline of how FOUR PAWS is making a difference 

April 2024

FOUR PAWS submits its feedback to the European Commission

Following the European Commission's call for feedback on its proposed revision of the Live Animal Transport Regulation, FOUR PAWS has compiled and sent comprehensive feedback. 

Despite some improvements, such as limitation to journey times, increased space allowances, slightly higher requirements for the minimum age of unweaned animals, the attempt to favour measures aiming at replacing live transport with transport of carcasses and meat, and specific requisites for the transport of dogs and cats, the European Commission’s proposal of 7 December 2023 is inadequate and does not address the core problems from which animals suffer during transport.

December 2023

Disappointment in lack of ambition of the proposed revision of Live Animal Transport regulation

After much anticipation, the long-awaited proposal for changes to the laws governing the transportation of animals across and out of Europe has finally surfaced from the European Commission. Years of unwavering campaigning and lobbying have compelled the EU Commission to acknowledge the severe animal welfare issues prevalent during live animal transport within and outside Europe. These include areas such as excessively long transport hours being a norm, the transportation of the most vulnerable, including pregnant females and unweaned calves as young as 2 weeks old and animals endure harsh temperatures on these journeys from extreme cold to scorching heat. While it's pleasing that crucial issues are gaining recognition, this proposal lacks the bold ambition needed to address the significant pitfalls in animal welfare! Notably, the proposal completely omits a ban on live exports from the EU – a practice subjecting animals to excruciatingly torturous journeys, often ending in a cruel and painful slaughter upon arrival. This proposal, the lone revision affecting farmed animals out of four promised, is now up for amendments by the other EU Institutions.

January 2023

Debate at AGRIFISH Council meeting on live transport. Member States divided over real reform.

Following the publication of a paper presented by Portugal calling for a continuation of live animal exports, a discussion at the AGRIFISH Council meeting on the 30th of January saw the positioning of EU Member States on a potential ban on long-distance transport and export of live animals to third countries. The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides closed the exchange with a powerful, forthright and optimistic reaction, stating that animal transport is a key part of the revision process and high priority for the Commission.

january 2022

Petition to ban cruel live transports submitted to the European Parliament

A petition calling for an EU ban on the live export to third countries of farmed animals with 900,000 signatures is submitted to the European Parliament by global animal welfare organisations FOUR PAWS, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), WeMove Europe and Animals International. The joint petition calls on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to strengthen the recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during transport (ANIT) to also support a transport ban of unweaned animals and a maximum journey time on long-distance transports of eight hours for adult bovine, swine and ovine animals and four hours for poultry and rabbits.

december 2021

ANIT Committee adopts report and recommendations on live animal transport

The Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport (ANIT) in the European Parliament votes and adopts on a report on the systemic problems with live animal transport within and outside the European Union and on draft recommendations for the revision of the applicable legislation (EU Regulation 1/2005).

january 2021

Time to change the rules: White paper guides the way for revising the legislation on live animal transports 

With our contribution, Eurogroup for Animals publishes a white paper presenting our joint demands on the revision of Council regulation 1/2005. The paper comes as a response to the European Commission’s stated aims in revising the Transport Regulation: “to align it with the latest scientific evidence, broaden its scope, make it easier to enforce and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare” (EC, 2020)

june 2020

Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport  (ANIT) is created

An EU committee of inquiry on animal transports is created in June and meets regularly from September 2020. The committee of inquiry takes a close look at the failures of the European Commission and the EU Member States in implementing and enforcing the animal protection requirements on live animal transports. The systemic and recurrent abuses that animals endure every day are brought up for discussion on the highest political level of the European Union. 

FOUR PAWS Position Paper on Live Transport Proposal

FOUR PAWS Position Paper on Live Transport Proposal

Read our feedback to the European Commission's proposal

FOUR PAWS Key Demands Paper on Live Animal Transport

FOUR PAWS Key Demands Paper on Live Animal Transport

Read our key demands on the revision of Council Regulation 1/2005

FOUR PAWS Position Paper on Animal Transports via Road and Ship

FOUR PAWS Position Paper on Animal Transports via Road and Ship

Read our position and recommendations for animal welfare improvement of animals during live transport

cow on ship

help us end cruel live animal transport


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