EU plan to limit transportation of pets
By NICK MAYS, Chief Reporter Continued from page 1
A NEW EU directive designed to protect the welfare of animals during transport is set to come into effect in the UK from January next year. However, reading of the document indicates that the freedom of movement of animals that have been bred by hobbyists – including cat breeders and exhibitors – will be severely curtailed.
The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a consultation document to all interested parties (‘stakeholders’ in Governmental parlance), but all submissions on this far-reaching and wide-ranging subject close at the end of July. Worryingly, however, cat fanciers are only just becoming aware of this new regulation and the impact it could have on their activities, depending on how the regulation is interpreted by individual officials.
The consultation paper states: ‘EU Regulation 1/20051 on the welfare of animals during transport comes into force on 5 January 2007, with requirements for competence certificates coming into force on 5 January 2008…. While the Regulation is directly applicable, national legislation is needed to provide for enforcement and penalty provisions, proposed derogations from the rules and potential charges for authorisations.
The Regulation aims to improve animal welfare through raising transportation standards. In particular, it provides significant improvements in enforcement capability in respect of all species. The new rules are generally supported by farming industry and welfare groups.’
However, DEFRA – on behalf of the Government – recognize that in itself, the directive’s requirements are ‘…potentially burdensome on farmers and commercial transporters’ and ‘…in recognition of this, we intend that implementation should strike a balance between animal welfare benefits, cost and ease of compliance/ enforcement - particularly where the burdens fall on small businesses’.
The document goes on to state that in order to help stakeholders determine if this consultation affects them or their members, the following is a list (although this is not necessarily exclusive) of those businesses or individuals that DEFRA think are affected by the new rules:
• Those organising journeys or transporting vertebrate animals “in connection with an economic activity”. At a minimum this will include farmers, livestock hauliers, those who move horses in connection with professional riding, livery, stabling, those involved in pet breeding or racing (e.g. cats and dogs, pigeons), or those moving animals used in films, zoos and leisure parks. It does not apply to the transport of non-vertebrates such as insects, worms, crustaceans (e.g. crab, lobster), cephalopods (e.g. octopus, squid), and molluscs (e.g. shellfish, snail). However, current national welfare provisions relating to these species will be retained.
DEFRA state that there will be no changes to the current rules on maximum journey times - although there will be new restrictions on moving young animals, which could include kittens - feeding, watering and rest periods during a journey and space allowances.
However a number of new provisions are scheduled to come into force from January 5th 2007 as follows:-
• Those transporting animals for commercial purposes (in connection with an “economic activity”) on journeys over 65km (approx 40 miles) will need to have a specific authorisation
• Stricter vehicle standards apply
• Those transporting animals over 8 hours will need a vehicle approval
• Those handling or transporting animals over 65km must be competent
The DEFRA document clearly says that the UK Government can do nothing about the EU regulation itself: “Stakeholders should be aware that we cannot change the requirements of the EU Regulation itself. Therefore where the text of the Regulation is referred to this is not an issue for consultation. The rules are directly applicable throughout the EU. We have summarized… the main issues that are not subject to consultation and any comments on these issues will not be taken into consideration in this consultation.”
According to the EU document, any transport of animals undertaken as part of a business or commercial activity, which ‘aims at achieving financial gain, whether direct or indirect, for any person or company involved with the transport’, will be covered by the regulations.
This would include:
• Pet animals where the movements are related to economic activity e.g. pet breeders, dog racing, those taking part in filming e.g. advertisements which involve financial gain
• Those where animals are transported in order to be sold
This clearly points to breeders being affected, particularly if they transport animals to buyers. One obvious positive point is that puppy farmers and some commercial cat breeders may find it increasingly difficult to ply their trade. However, hobby breeders look set to be snared in the same net.
DEFRA add: ‘As a rough rule of thumb we would expect an owner or transporter carrying his or another person’s animals for profit, or as part of a business, to be covered by the Regulation.’
However, cat fanciers and other animal exhibitors can take some comfort in the fact that DEFRA do not see the regulations as applying to animals transported to pet shows.
DEFRA state: ‘We would not expect the transport of pet animals by their owners to and from events such as shows, even where they win minor cash or other prizes, to be covered. The presence of gambling at an event would not in itself make the transport of animals to it an economic activity.
‘We consider the following kinds of journeys are not connected with an economic activity. Those:
• Consisting of a single animal accompanied by a person who has responsibility for its welfare (or two animals accompanied by two people)
• Pet animals accompanied by their owner on a private journey
• Pet animals taken to and from a specialist show or competition, where the primary purpose is for pleasure or competition, not as part of a business, e.g. pet breeders
Breeders and Catteries
However, as with many pieces of legislation that affect the individual fancier, the devil is in the detail. In Appendix 6 (section 5.30) of the lengthy document, DEFRA suggest the following businesses and people will be affected by the regulations:
Dog Breeders: 4,900
Boarding Kennels and Boarding Catteries: 5,000
It is not specified whether these figures are UK-wide. However, under separate listings for the Welsh and Scottish Assembly versions of the EU directive, different figures appear. The Welsh Assembly Document suggests that 5,500 dog breeders will be affected, whilst 5,500 Boarding Kennels and Boarding Catteries will be affected.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive suggests that 900 Dog Breeders and 1,000 Boarding Kennels and Boarding Catteries will be affected.
It is totally unclear whether the Scottish, Welsh and Westminster administrations have shared information, which begs the question whether only 900 dog breeders UK-wide will be affected or whether that figure is 5,500 or 4,900 or there are, in fact, 11,300 breeders. No figure for cat breeders has been given in any listing – indeed, it is doubtful that DEFRA even considered hobby cat breeders as being part of the equation, even though the legislation will directly affect them.
One particular area of concern relates to entire animals are clearly referred to in the document and many show cats are, of course, un-neutered, which would make them susceptible to the ‘one person per animal per journey’ element of the directive and that the correct paperwork would be required in order for an entire cat or cats to undertake a journey. Neuters, however, would apparently be unaffected.
Similarly, an anomaly exists regarding the transportation of kittens. If a person visit a breeder and buys a pair of kittens, then they may drive home with them unhindered. However, if the breeder were to deliver the kittens to the new owner, they would need to abide by the directive and be licensed for their journey.
GCCF Taking Action
OUR CATS sought clarification on the directive and how it affected cat enthusiasts from the GCCF. Vice Chairman Julia May was quick to assure cat fanciers that the Governing Council was treating the matter seriously.
“This is a very muddled document which causes great concern,” said Ms May. “It is impossible to draw any firm conclusions from it. The GCCF is drawing up a rather long document, pointing out all the anomalies and points of concern, which we will be sending to DEFRA before the consultation deadline expires.”
OUR CATS will continue to monitor this regulation and how it may affect cat enthusiasts in coming issues.
Lack of Concern
Dr Raymond Wigley, who is Secretary of the Singapura Cat Club and the Singapura Breed Advisory Committee, has investigated the matter fully and is very concerned at the lack of apparent concern by both the Kennel Club and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, neither of whom appear to have consulted with breeders and exhibitors within each Fancy.
Dr Wigley discussed the finer points of the directive with Andy Patnelli, Operations Manager at DEFRA for animal transportation.
If you are a BREEDER and the cat or dog is ENTIRE then:
1. Transportation of SINGLE ANIMALS any distance in cars is exempt from the regulations. It does not matter on what pretext the movement is being made, cat show or to stud.
2. Transportation of two animals with two occupants is also exempt, as is transportation of three animals with three occupants. Essentially, if each animal has an individual ‘carer or attendant’, the journey is exempt.
3. Transportation of more than one animal with only one occupant will fall within the regulations IF:
• The journey is over 65 kms, you need a short journey authorisation.
• The journey is over 8 hours, you need a long journey authorisation AND the vehicle needs to comply with the regulations.
So if you have sold kittens or puppies and you want them delivered to their new homes over 65 kms away, suggest the new owners pick them up from you.
• If you need to take ONLY ONE animal to stud you are exempt.
Being a BREEDER and transporting more than the ratio of car occupants to entire cats of 1:1 is construed as ‘ECONOMIC ACTIVITY’. You will therefore need authorisation. And there is a cost to be borne by this request. You can apply for derogation that is exempted from the regulations but that has to be done
on an individual basis, NO BLOCK requests by organisations (i.e. clubs) acting on behalf of their members.
• Your claim will centre upon the Section 5.3 of the regulations whereby you say the cost of applying for the authority is disproportionate to the number and type of journeys undertaken. Essentially you only intend to transport more than two unaccompanied animals to shows on say, twenty journeys per year. A lesser number may attract a more favourable response.
* Dr Wigley has produced a standard letter that breeders and exhibitors of cats can adapt and send to DEFRA, the KC or GCCF and their MPs to express their concern.
If you would like a copy of this letter and further details of the legislation, please contact Dr Wigley by e-mail at: email@example.com
And YOU Said…
A number of Cat Fanciers have commented to OUR CATS on the new regulations:
Peter and Barbara Bailey, Capricciosa Siamese and Orientals, said:
“Since all our GCCF show cats are already registered with our official organisation, and because we are all supposed to adhere to all the cat show rules and cat club regulations as well - why on earth the EU and DEFRA needs to do this is absolutely beyond belief! As for transportation of animals, that’s fine for the farming fraternity - but most of us with ‘moggies’ and our marvellous show cats are so accustomed to caring for them. Also, the cats are used to cat carriers and coming out to cat shows around the country several times per summer - it seems so silly to think that the ‘political powers-that-be’ bother us to add another pile of paperwork to what is supposed to be a pleasurable and peaceful hobby!
“What will ‘they’ want to do? Will the ‘Cat show caribiniere’ a.k.a. the ‘Pussycat Police Patrol’ be lurking in the car parks at the next Supreme (November 2007) and be able to book us all and fine us and our felines?
“This is unworkable anyway - Defra cannot do the current countryside projects like farm supplement payments in good time, therefore cannot be trusted to chase up our proposed paperwork. And would this EU directive (another dippy idea from Brussels by the way!) therefore negate the Pet Passports Scheme - it doesn’t seem fair if Fido can ferry to France for a fortnight and our show felines suffer some silly travel restrictions within the UK, does it?”
Sandra Woodley, Honpuss Burmese & Asian Cats, said:
“I think that it’s awful that this bill would have gone through without any of us knowing about it. As far as I can see it’s a way for the government to make money. To charge pet owners and breeders a fee to transport their animals (unless they comply to unworkable requirements) is outrageous.
“The Cat Fancy is already suffering from lower and lower show entries and this can only make things worse. I have written to the GCCF and my local MP and have had no response so far.”
Chrissy Russell, Ayshazan Burmese and Tonkinese, said:
“I can feel a back door tax coming on. You have to ask where they dream up these ridiculous ideas! Will this apply to taking kittens to the vets for vaccinations unless the vet SPECIFICALLY tells us that we have to. Where does it stop?
“As for showing, how many of us share cars to go to cat shows? We would be breaking the law. We need exemption, we are NOT businesses travelling for commercial gain. How many responsible cat breeders out there actually make money? I know I am down by thousands!”
If you would like to air your views on this matter, write to Viewpoint at the usual address.