Cat being transported in a transport bag

Animal transport

How is animal transport regulated within the EU?


Animal transport is the movement of animals by one or more means (air, road, rail, or sea transport) and it includes all related operations, including loading, unloading, transfer and rest, until the unloading of the animals at the place of destination is completed.

State of play

Current EU regulatory framework is limited to little provisions within Regulation (EU) 1/2005 on cats and dogs and a few basic elements regarding their transportation, namely the age, fitness for transport, and watering and feeding requirements. There are no further species-specific requirements that address all aspects of an animal’s health and welfare when moved, notably for commercial purposes, nor has a relevant EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) opinion on the matter been issued. The legal gap has led to the creation of various standards, but the transport of companion animals keeps taking place in often sub-optimal conditions, depending mostly on the Member State. Due to the lack of detailed, species-specific rules, current regulations cannot guarantee the health and welfare of dogs and cats during transportation. The legal requirements regarding feed and drink, space allowances, temperature, humidity range and journey length are inadequate.

dog in transport box

CARO’s position

CARO promotes harmonized legislation across the EU for animal transport that considers the species-specific needs of dogs and cats and protects their health and welfare. Specific attention must be given to elements such as the watering, feeding, and space allowances. The requirements for the temperature, humidity and journey length are also of importance to secure optimal welfare for the animals. Further, we believe that personnel involved in loading, handling, and transporting companion animals must receive better, standardized training to ensure they are skilled to care for the transported animals.