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Animal welfare Requirements

This page covers regulations and requirements surrounding animal welfare. 

Welfare rules vary depending on whether the horses you are transporting are unregistered or registered.  The majority of horses that are transported in the UK by grooms are 'registered'. 

A ‘registered’ horse is not simply one that has a passport. To be ‘registered’ a horse must be on the stud book of a recognised breed society or registered with an international organisation that manages equestrian competitions.

Registered horses are exempt from some welfare regulations such as maximum journey times, rest periods and Journey Logs. Unregistered horses are not exempt from any welfare regulations.


It is most likely that as a groom travelling horses, even if you are not in fact driving,  you will need your Certificate of Competence qualification. 


How journey length affects requirements 
Vehicle inspections and requirements
Transporter authorisation 
Documentation for transporting unregistered horses
General welfare when transporting


 

How Journey Length Affects Animal Welfare Requirements

Requirements for animal welfare vary depending on the length of the journey.

These can be categorised into transporter authorisation, training in animal welfare, and documentation.

For some journeys, there is a requirement for satellite tracking and temperature and ventilation monitoring. 

For journeys less than 65 Kms

  • You require an Animal Transport Certificate unless you are transporting registered horses, or your own animals on a journey less than 50km.
  • You do not require either Type 1 or Type 2 Authorisation.
  • You do not need a formal qualification in animal welfare, but you should be able to prove that you have had relevant training.

For journeys over 65 Kms and under 8 hours

  • An Animal Transport Certificate is required if transporting unregistered horses.
  • You require Type 1 Authorisation.
  • You must be able to provide valid certificates of competence in animal welfare for both drivers and handlers.

For journeys over eight hours

  • If it is a journey within a country, an Animal Transport Certificate is required.
  • You require Type 2 Authorisation.
  • You must be able to provide valid certificates of competence in animal welfare for both drivers and handlers.
  • If it is an export journey, a Journey Log is required.
  • The vehicle must be inspected and approved for transporting unregistered horses on journeys over eight hours.
  • The vehicle must be inspected and approved for transporting registered horses either on journeys over eight hours that pass through or deliver to an EU country that require valid approval certificates or on any journey that exceeds twelve hours.
  • Satellite navigation and tracking systems are required on vehicles that transport unregistered horses on export journeys that exceed eight hours or any journeys that exceed twelve hours.
  • Ventilation and temperature monitoring is required for export journeys over eight hours or any journey over twelve hours.

For more information see here

 

 

Vehicle Inspections & requirements

To ensure that you are adhering to the regulations surrounding animal welfare while transporting horses, your vehicle may need to be inspected.

Following the inspection, you will then be granted 'authorisation' (either type 1 or 2) and be given a Certificate. 

Getting A vehicle inspected?

As explained above, it depends on the length of your journey as to whether you need to have your vehicle inspected. 

  • Transporting unregistered horses on journeys over eight hours.
  • Transporting registered horses either on journeys over eight hours that pass through or deliver to an EU country that require valid approval certificates or on any journey that exceeds twelve hours.

More information can be found here

 

What will be inspected?

Inspections will check the general construction of the vehicle as well as the equipment for loading and unloading. They will also cover additional requirements (if needed) such as roof height, partitions, provision of food and water, and ventilation and satellite navigation systems.

After inspection, if your vehicle is approved, you will be given a certificate. Although it is valid for five years, you must ensure that your vehicle is up to standard on every journey. If your vehicle is inspected at a later date and is found to have fallen below standard, your certificate may be revoked and other enforcement action may be taken against you.

After five years your certificate becomes void. This is also true if significant alterations are made to the vehicle that would make it fall below the standard required of EU regulations explained above.

ventilation and temperature monitoring

Good ventilation allows for the regulation of temperature within the vehicle. This is important as keeping the inside of your vehicle a regulated, safe temperature ensures the welfare of the horses you are transporting. On certain journeys, ventilation and temperature monitoring systems are required so that inspectors can check that the vehicle has been kept a safe temperature for the duration of the journey.

When does this regulation apply?

  • On export journeys over eight hours.
  • On any journeys over twelve hours.

What does a ventilation and temperature monitoring system do?

  • Monitor and record temperature in the horse area of the vehicle.
  • Warns the driver if the temperature is too high or too low.
  • Ensures that the vehicle is well-ventilated.

Why do you need it?

You must be able to prove that you are adhering to welfare regulations by keeping your vehicle at a reasonable temperature. The system should be able to maintain the temperature between 5°C and 30°C. Specifically relating to horses, regulations stipulate that the temperature of the area containing the horses should not drop below 0°C during a journey of more than eight hours.

Note: regardless of whether ventilation and temperature monitoring is required by welfare regulations on a certain journey, we recommend that you should consider the temperature of your horses at all times.

For more information about vehicle ventilation, see here

 

 


Transporter Authorisation

There are two types of Authorisation that may be required when transporting horses for economic gain: Type 1 and Type 2 Authorisation.

This is given following the Vehicle Inspection in the means of a Certificate. 

You must always carry your Authorisation Certificate (or a copy) when transporting horses.

This is a requirement for the owner of the vehicle and more information can be found on the Defra website 

Economic Gain

Important to consider that most grooms that are driving horses will be doing so in the line of duty of their job and therefore 'economic gain'. 

 

Type 1 authorisation

A Type 1 transporter authorisation is required for journeys over 65 kilometres and under eight hours.

What do you need to obtain this?

You will need to demonstrate that you have everything in place to fulfil animal welfare legislation. This includes appropriate staff training, correct equipment, and suitable procedures to ensure animal welfare during transport.

You should have valid certificates of competence for drivers and handlers if required.

You must be able to prove that you have no animal welfare convictions in the three years leading up to your application and you must be part of an established business in the United Kingdom.

How long will it last? 

Type 1 authorisation will be valid for a maximum of five years.

Apply here 

Type 2 authorisation

Type 2 Authorisation is required for journeys that exceed eight hours.

What do you need to obtain this?

You must fulfil the requirements for Type 2 authorisation and provide:

  • Valid vehicle approval certificates if required.
  • Evidence that you can track your vehicles and correctly record this information.
  • Contact details for your drivers and appropriate contingency plans in the case of emergencies.

How long will it last? 

Type 2 authorisation will be valid for a maximum of five years.

Apply here

Consequences of not having it


James was an event groom travelling horses in his riders lorry to France to compete. When arriving at Dover to make the crossing, he was stopped by DEFRA and asked to show the Vehicle Approval Certificate.

James did not have this document, and he called his rider who said that he was unaware of this requirement. DEFRA would not allow the vehicle to travel any further. 

 

 

Documentation for transporting unregistered horses

Animal Transport Certificates and Journey Logs are documents that are required when transporting unregistered horses. These documents are used to record your journeys so that they are available in case of inspection. 

Animal Transport Certificates must be completed for every journey when transporting unregistered horses for financial gain. The only exception to this is when transporting unregistered horses on export journeys over eight hours, in which case a Journey Log is required.

Animal transportation certificates

Animal Transport Certificates must include the following information:

  • The place of departure and the intended destination of the journey.
  • The time and date of departure and the expected duration of the journey.
  • The origin and ownership of the horses.

These must be kept for six months after the journey is complete.

Journey logs

These are required for unregistered horses, but registered horses are exempt. They are used to demonstrate that you have planned the journey with suitable rest stops and without surpassing maximum journey length allowances.

Journey Logs are split into parts and the first part of it must be submitted to the AHVLA and approved before the journey can begin. You should copy the completed log and submit it to the same office within a month of the completion of the journey.



 

 

General Welfare when Transporting Horses

There are some general rules that apply to the transporting of horses, regardless of whether they are registered or unregistered.

Most importantly, horses should not be transported if that transportation is likely to do them harm.

When transporting horses, every effort should be made to ensure their health and comfort. If this is not undertaken, legal action can be taken against you, and you may be declined transporter authorisation in the future.

This would prevent you transporting horses as an economic activity in the future. It may also jeopardise your ability to care for animals in the future.

Passports

When transporting horses, you must always carry their passport in the vehicle. 

Fitness For travel 

The horses should be fit to travel.

This means that they should be healthy, not heavily pregnant (unless being transported for veterinary treatment), and their transportation must not cause them harm or injury.

Horses younger than four months old should not be transported on long journeys (over eight hours) unless accompanied by their dam. Unbroken horses and ponies must not be transported on journeys over eight hours.

Halters

Unlike other animals, horses must wear halters during transit.

Those that are younger than eight months or horses that are unbroken are exempt from this rule.

Competency of handlers

Anyone handling the horses should be competent.

For journeys over 65 kilometres, handlers (drivers and or attendants) must be able to prove their competency with a qualification - The the Certificate of Competence in the Welfare of Transporting Horses

For journeys less than 65 kilometres, handlers (drivers and or attendants) must still be competent and have received appropriate training, but do not need to present evidence of their training. 

Water, feed and opportunities to rest

Horses should be fed, watered, and given opportunities to rest on long journeys. Horses should be offered water during breaks and their water intake carefully monitored. On long journeys, horses should be offered opportunities to rest.

Journey times

Journeys should be planned to keep the duration as short as possible.

Horses should not be transported for longer than 24 hours in total and must be given breaks for food (if necessary) and water every eight hours. Unweaned foals should be given an hour of rest after 9 hours of travel before another 9 hours of travel.

Registered horses are exempt from this regulation, but we recommend considering minimising journey times and taking breaks for the horses’ comfort.

Certain regulations (such as transporter authorisation and the use of Animal Transport Certificates) vary depending on the length and duration of a given journey. 

Ramp angles

Ramps should not be steeper than 20 degrees. This should be checked ahead of time during a professional check of the vehicle.

Temperature

The regulations state that the temperature must not fall below 0°C during a journey of more than eight hours.

Multi-deck vehicles

If horses are being transported in multi-deck vehicles, they must be held in the lowest deck without any animals above them. The compartment must be at least 75 centimetres higher than the withers of the tallest horse.

Multi-deck Vehicles 

If horses are being transported in multi-deck vehicles, they must be held in the lowest deck without any animals above them. The compartment must be at least 75 centimetres higher than the withers of the tallest horse.

Stalls

Horses must be separated by partitions apart from mares travelling with their foals. Partitions must be strong enough to withstand the weight of a horse and you should be able to adjust and release them quickly and easily. This is especially important in case of an emergency, where you may have to evacuate horses quickly.

The horses must have enough space – this is specified by Defra to be a minimum of 1.75m2. There is not a maximum requirement. Young horses and foals should have enough space to lie down on long journeys.

Separation

Horses and ponies should be handled and transported separately from other species of animal and from other horses and ponies of significantly different sizes or ages unless they are used to each other and would be distressed to be separated.

Stallions should be kept apart from each other and from females.

Horses that dislike each other should be kept apart.

unbroken horses

Unbroken horses and ponies must not be transported in groups of more than four at a time.


The above information only relates to regulations about animal welfare. For more information on general welfare regulations visit, DEFRA 

 

Some examples

I work on a livery yard and often the clients’ horses lifts to shows in exchange for payment to my employer. The length of journey is never over 8 hours in total.

It would appear that this journey is an economic activity. As the journey in this case is under 8 hours in total, a transporter authorisation (Type 1) would be needed.

 

I work on a livery yard and often the clients’ horses lifts to shows in exchange for payment to my employer. The length of journey is often over 8 hours in total.

It would appear that this journey is an economic activity. As the journey in this case is over 8 hours in total, a transporter authorisation (Type 2) would be needed, as well as vehicle inspection and approval.

 

I am a freelance groom and horse transporter and I want to take 4 horses to a show which is 6 hours away. I will stay for over 48 hours and then travel home.

It would appear that this journey is an economic activity. As the journey is broken up by a 48 hour rest period the journey times are taken as two separate 6 hour journeys and not combined. Therefore, the journey time in this case is under 8 hours in total and a transporter authorisation (Type 1) would be needed.

 
 

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