New EU regulations covering the transport of fish and other animals come into force next month.
From January 5 2007 anyone transporting vertebrates - including fish - over 40 miles in connection with economic activity needs to hold a transporter authorisation.
Authorisations are issued by the State Veterinary Service upon application and are valid for five years. The authorisations are free if applied for this financial year.
Any previously granted authorisation issued under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 will be invalid from January 5, 2006.
"No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering", says the Regulation.
DEFRA said that under the new EU Regulation "everyone transporting animals must ensure that journey times are kept to a minimum; that the animals are fit to travel; that those handling the animals are trained and competent; that the vehicle and its loading and unloading facilities are designed, constructed and maintained to avoid injury and suffering, and that water, feed and rest are given to animals if needed, and that sufficient floor space and height is allowed."
While containers and transport vehicles used for moving other animals, such as cattle and sheep, need to be inspected, those for transporting fish do not.
The regulations do not apply to:
- Transportation of animals not in connection with economic activity
- Transportation to or from veterinary practices or clinics under veterinary advice
- Journeys where the animal is an individual animal, accompanied by its owner or other responsible person
- Transportation of animals by hobby breeders - where income source does not exceed expenses of hobby
- Journeys where the animals are pet animals accompanied by the owner on a journey
- Farmers transporting their own animals, in their own vehicles, under 50km
For more information contact DEFRA on 020 7904 6581 or the State Veterinary Service on 0845 603 8395.