Better Identification for Box Type Livestock Carrying Vehicles Throughout the EU.

  • by: Mark Johnson
  • recipient: EU Health and Consumers (SANCO) Director General P. TESTORI COGGI

To improve the welfare of live farm animals transported throughout the EU by calling for sealed animal transporters to be identified clearly as such.

Not all animals being transported by road across the EU go in ‘conventional’ livestock trailers which have exterior air vents fitted to each tier, providing air to the animals.  Some trailers are completely sealed as shown in the photograph (this truck has several hundred sheep in its trailer) giving most outside observers the conception that anything other than live animals are being carried within it.  We feel that this should be made much more evident to outside observers and especially emergency services should an accident occur.

Chapter II Para 2.1 of Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations (and amending Directives) simply declares that:

“vehicles in which animals are transported shall be clearly and visibly marked indicating the presence of live animals, except when the animals are transported in containers marked in accordance with paragraph 5.1 – a sign indicating the top of the container”.

Observations taken in the UK by animal welfare campaigners have noted that with sealed ‘Box’ type articulated trailers which are sometimes used for the transportation of livestock such as sheep and calves, there is (very) insufficient exterior identification on these vehicles to identify that livestock is even being transported within them.

This is completely unsatisfactory.  Should any one of these sealed ‘box’ type trailers ever be involved in a road accident anywhere within the EU; there is currently very little possibility that (national) emergency / rescue services personnel would even know that live animals are being transported within the trailer.  From observations in the UK, clear and visible marking declaring ‘live animals carried’ on all parts of the box trailer does not exist !

Without this information that live animals are being carried / transported, the same animals may be left within the enclosed trailer should it become involved in an accident on the highway.  In addition, as the trailers are sealed and only use electrical power for (internal) animal ventilation; should this be cut off as the result of any accident, many animals may be suffocated and die as a result.  Time is of the essence here – emergency services need to be informed that live animals are within the trailer and to be able to gain access to them as soon as possible in order to prevent deaths.

This petition calls on the EU Director General of Health and Consumers (SANCO); who is responsible for ensuring good animal welfare, along with all EU national animal welfare government ministers to undertake the necessary legislation changes to:

        • Ensure that Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport is much updated through formal document legislation to ensure that clearly visible evidence is provided to outside observers that live animals are being transported within these (sealed) ‘box’ type trailers

        • Ensure that emergency services personnel from any EU member state are able to visually identify that the trailer concerned IS carrying live animals – something which is NOT obvious to outside observers with current sealed ‘box’ trailers

        • Ensure that all sealed ‘box’ type trailers carrying live animals are identified as ‘carrying live animals’ by way of:

        • Large, clear WARNING SIGNS showing that live animals are being transported within the trailer(s) in question, and that these warning signs are fitted on:

        • The sides of the trailer – in at least 3 positions

        • The front and rear of the trailer – in at least 2 positions

        • The roof of the trailer – in at least 3 positions

        • The underside of the trailer – in at least 2 positions

All these positions would ensure that in the event of any major accident or overturn, emergency services attending would be clear of the trailer content – live animals.

In addition, a warning sign fitted on both the sides and rear of the trailer must identify to emergency rescue personnel that:

‘in the event of an accident, the air ventilation power system to the sealed trailer may be disrupted; and that animals contained within the trailer should be provided with fresh, externally sourced air as soon as possible to avoid their suffocation’.  Basically; the trailer doors must be opened.

Signage should be in at least two main European languages – English and French and / or German for example.

Vehicles carrying live animals in sealed ‘box’ trailers on the roads of the EU at present are VERY inadequately identified as doing such; they can easily be mistaken for refrigerated trailers rather than those transporting live animals, as can be seen in the photograph associated with this petition.  It is time for this to be rectified with the use of good, clear and adequate signage all exterior faces of the trailer, including – top, bottom, front, rear and both sides.

As an animal welfare organisation within the UK, we immediately call on the Director General of Health and Consumers (SANCO) to ensure that this becomes urgent legislation to ensure that live animals are given better protection during transport by the use of large, clear and easily identifiable signage applied to all sealed ‘box’ trailers.  This update must be applied to Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations which is applicable throughout the EU.

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