UK Animal Transportation Legislation (General)

Taken from the following government website:

Animal welfare during transport

The welfare of animals during transport is protected by retained EU legislation.

You must transport animals in a way that is not likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them.

When you transport animals you must:

  • plan the journey properly and keep it as short as possible
  • check the animals during the journey to make sure you meet their needs for water, feed and rest
  • make sure the animals are fit to travel
  • design, construct and maintain the vehicle and loading and unloading facilities to avoid injury and suffering
  • make sure anyone handling the animals are trained or competent in the task and do not use violence or any methods likely to cause unnecessary fear, injury or suffering
  • give the animals sufficient floor space and height

Legislation on the protection of animals during transport applies to the transport of live vertebrate animals in connection with an economic activity (a business or trade).


Welfare during transport is enforced by local councils. Trading standards officials carry out welfare checks on animals and means of transport. They will take appropriate enforcement action up to and including prosecution.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out enforcement checks at markets, ports, roadside and at supervised loadings of export consignments. They enforce compliance with journey times through checks of journey documentation.

If you are concerned about the treatment of an animal during transport contact the local council (normally the trading standards department) or APHA.

Transporting animals in Great Britain

You must have a GB or NI issued transporter authorisation.

For transport by road you also need:

  • a GB or NI issued certificate of vehicle approval – Only for road vehicles and containers used to transport animals on journeys over 8 hours. These vehicles must be inspected and approved by a certifying body.
  • a GB or NI issued certificate of competence – This only applies to domestic species of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, domestic equidae and poultry.
  • a GB or NI issued animal transport certificate –

Transporter authorisations

You must have a transporter authorisation if you transport animals as part of an economic activity (a business or trade), for a distance over 65km.

You will need a:

  • type 1 transporter authorisation for journeys over 65km and up to 8 hours
  • type 2 transporter authorisation for journeys over 8 hours

Animal transport certificates

For all other journeys you need an animal transport certificate. This includes for journeys of any distance or duration, and for all species of animals.

An animal transport certificate records:

  • origin and ownership of animals
  • place of departure and destination
  • date and time of departure
  • expected duration of journey

The certificate must be retained by transporters for six months after completion of the journey.

Complete training

Drivers and attendants of vertebrate animals must complete training.

Assembly centre staff handling animals must complete training.

Transporting animals into the EU

To transport live animals into the EU, UK transporters must apply to an EU member state for a transporter authorisation.

Taken from the Cambridgeshire County Council website:

Cambridgeshire County Council: Trading standards: Agriculture, animal health and welfare

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards Service is responsible for the enforcement of legislation relating to the keeping of livestock, including:

  • identification, movement and record keeping of animals
  • transportation of animals (including pets)

The work includes visits to farms and abattoirs, checking farm records, reacting to complaints and inspecting livestock vehicles in transit.