ASPA Extract: Transport of Laboratory Animals

Section 3: This section contains advice – detailed specifications in this section are not legally mandated.

4.4 Transport of animals

4.4.1 Legislation and responsibilities

Prior to entry to a licensed establishment, an animal’s welfare during transport is governed by applicable international, EU and UK law*. The enforcement authority in England, Wales and Scotland is the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), and in Northern Ireland the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Once an animal enters a licensed establishment and becomes a protected animal under ASPA its welfare during any subsequent transport is additionally regulated under ASPA. Both project licence holders and establishment licence holders have responsibilities relating to transport of protected animals.

The MBR beagles are leaving a licensed establishment, so during transport their welfare is regulated by both, ASPA (this advisory section) and UK law (Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006)

* Animals should be transported in accordance with the principles of the European Convention on the Protection of Animals during International Transport (ETS No. 65 and ETS No. 193), having regard to the Resolution on the acquisition and transport of laboratory animals, adopted by the May 1997 Multilateral Consultation of the Parties to Convention ETS No. 123 and, to EU Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, implemented in England by The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and by parallel legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Under ASPA, the person legally accountable for the transport of the animals is the sending establishment licence holder, regardless of whether duties are subcontracted or delegated to other parties during transport.

The sending establishment licence holder should check that all necessary arrangements are in place to fulfil standard condition 4(6) of their establishment licence – namely that the conditions under which a protected animal is transported are appropriate for the animal’s health and well-being.

The person in charge of the welfare of the animals has direct physical responsibility for the care of the animals during transport. Such a person may be the attendant or the driver of a vehicle if fulfilling the same role. It is considered good practice for the person in charge of the welfare of animals being transported to be aware of the special needs of the animals in their care.

  • Journey planning

The following principles should apply to all animal movements.

It is ADVISABLE that containers for travel:

a. confine the animals in comfortable hygienic conditions with minimal stress for the duration of the journey;

b. contain sufficient food and water or moisture in a suitable form;

c. contain sufficient bedding so that animals remain comfortable and in conditions close to their thermo-neutral zone;

d. be of such a design and finish that an animal will not damage itself during loading, transport and whilst being removed from the container;

e. be escape-proof, leak-proof and capable of being handled without the animals posing a risk to handlers;

f. be designed to prevent or limit the entry of micro-organisms, where appropriate;

g. be designed so that they can be thoroughly disinfected between shipments, if intended to be reusable;

h. allow sufficient ventilation;

i. allow visual inspection of the animals without compromising their microbiological status (where appropriate);

j. be clearly labelled.