The EU regulation to which the Deputy refers has yet to be formally adopted by member states. Political agreement was reached by the Council of Ministers on 22 November and the regulation is scheduled for formal adoption on 21 December 2004. Farmers transporting their own animals for a distance of less than 50 km from their holding will be required to ensure animals are fit for the intended journey and are transported in a way that is not likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them. This condition includes minimising journey length where possible, providing suitable vehicles with sufficient floor area and height, offering water, feed and rest appropriate to animal species and size and ensuring that those handling the animals are competent for this purpose. The remainder of the regulation does not apply to such transport. A proportion of this transport will be subject to checks by the competent authority.
The proposed regulation will introduce a number of requirements vis-à-vis animal welfare during transport. However, it provides that persons transporting live animals up to a maximum of 65 kilometres will be exempted from the requirements to be authorised as transporters, to complete training and for drivers and attendants to have certificates of competence. Overall, this proposal is designed to improve the conditions under which animals are transported within Ireland and throughout the European Union.