Animal Health & Welfare

Livestock transport vehicles


In the guide

Vehicles used to transport animals must meet certain requirements to protect the animals in transit

This guidance is for Wales

Vehicles that transport animals are required to be designed, constructed, maintained and operated to avoid injury, suffering and ensure the safety of the animals transported in them. These requirements apply to the transport of animals by road, rail, sea and air.

The legislation applies to persons who transport live vertebrate animals - which includes farm livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and horses) - in connection with an economic activity (in other words a business or trade).

Principal requirements

The welfare of animals during transport is protected by EU Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations. This is brought into law in Wales by the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Wales) Order 2007. The law requires that vehicles and loading / unloading facilities must be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to:

  • avoid injury and suffering, and to ensure the safety of the animals
  • protect the animals from inclement weather, extreme temperatures and adverse changes in climate conditions
  • allow cleansing and disinfection
  • prevent the animals escaping or falling out and to be able to withstand the stresses of movements
  • provide barriers to prevent animals falling when loading or unloading
  • ensure that air quality and quantity appropriate to the species transported can be maintained
  • provide access to the animals to allow them to be inspected and cared for
  • present a flooring surface that is anti-slip
  • present a flooring surface that minimise the leakage of urine or faeces
  • provide a means of lighting sufficient for inspection and care of the animals during transport and during loading / unloading

Sufficient space must be provided inside the animals' compartment and at each of its levels; this is to ensure that there is adequate ventilation above the animals when they are in a naturally standing position, without on any account hindering their natural movement.

Sufficient ventilation must be provided to ensure that the needs of the animals are fully met.

Partitions must be used where necessary to provide support, or to prevent excessive movement of animals during transit, and when used must be positioned to prevent injury or unnecessary suffering. Partitions should be of rigid construction and strong enough to withstand the weight of the animals being transported. They should also be constructed and positioned so as not to interfere with ventilation and have fittings designed for quick and easy operation.

Vehicles used to transport livestock must be clearly and visibly marked with signs indicating the presence of live animals.

Vehicles must carry suitable equipment for loading and unloading.

Ramps must not be steeper than an angle of 20 degrees (36,4% to the horizontal) for pigs, calves and horses; and an angle of 26 degrees (50% to the horizontal) for sheep and cattle other than calves.

Where the slope is steeper than 10 degrees (17,6% to the horizontal) ramps must be fitted with a system, such as foot battens, which ensure that the animals climb or go down without risks or difficulties.

Lifting platforms and upper floors must have safety barriers so as to prevent animals falling or escaping during loading and unloading operations.

Suitable provision must be made so that animals may be tied to the interior of the vehicle during transit; however, animals must not be tied by the horns, antlers, legs or nose rings. Ropes or other attachments must be sufficiently strong not to break and designed to eliminate danger of strangulation or injury; they must also be long enough to allow the animal to lie down and to eat and drink, if necessary. Fittings should be quick release.

Additional requirements apply to vehicles transporting livestock for over eight hours. Such vehicles must also be inspected and approved by a body approved by the competent authority (a list of certifying bodies is available on the Welsh government website).

Further, construction requirements also apply to the transport of animals by air, sea and rail. More information on welfare during transportation in relation to these requirements is available on the GOV.UK website.


Any person who contravenes the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Wales) Order 2007 commits an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981. The maximum penalty is a fine and six months' imprisonment.

Key legislation

Last reviewed / updated: April 2018

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.

© 2018 itsa Ltd.

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