In 2014, 418 commercial animal transports were inspected, and non-compliance was discovered in about 12 per cent of these. The number of animal transports inspected was somewhat higher than the previous year. The proportion of non-compliance was lower than the previous year. As in previous years, a considerable number of the non-compliances were due to a lack of statutory documentation.
In 2014, inspections of 418 animal transports carrying a total of 882 500 animals were undertaken. The largest group of the inspected animals were poultry (over 856 100 birds). The number of inspections had increased slightly from the previous year, when 384 transports were inspected. Most of the inspections were carried out by official veterinarians in conjunction with the unloading of the animals at the abattoirs. Regional veterinary officers also inspected transports, for example on the road and at the point of departure. Most of the inspections were targeted at cattle, poultry and pig transports. A total of 33 transports lasting over eight hours were inspected. The average duration of the transports was a little under 4 hours and the longest transport lasted for 28 hours.
Non-compliance with the animal transport regulations were observed in 50 animal transports in total, which is about 12 % of the inspected vehicles. The number of non-compliances had dropped compared to the previous year (20 % in 2013). All in all, there were a total of 81 non-compliances in 2014, as several breaches were observed during the same inspection of some of the transports.
Over half of the non-compliances were due to inadequate documentation
The most common non-compliances were mainly the same as in previous years. Most of the individual breaches were related to the requirements for transporter authorisation, the driver’s certificate of competence and transport documentation (46 in total).The second most common non-compliances were related to the condition and safety of the vehicle and the additional requirements for long-distance transports (16 in total). The third most common non-compliances were related to transport practices and space requirements for the animals (13 in total). Non-compliances related to the animals being fit for travel and the ability to put down injured animals were discovered in six transports. No breaches were found as to the requirements for water and feeding, travelling and resting times.
Horse and reindeer transports and animals being transferred for rearing on another farm were also inspected
A total of 25 horse transports were inspected. Shortcomings were detected in about 36 % of these transports. All of the breaches were due to a lack of permits, certificates of competence and/or transport documents. The proportion of non-compliances with respect to horse transports was clearly lower than the previous year (74 % in 2013).
The reindeer transports were inspected at the point of departure, which is where the animals are initially loaded into the vehicle, and at the abattoirs. A total of 17 transports were inspected. Non-compliances were discovered in about 29 % of these inspections. In three cases the vehicles were not marked to indicate that they carried animals. In one case it was not possible to put down reindeer without unnecessary delay should they be injured during transport. During one inspection it was noted that the loading ramp was not safe. The proportion of non-compliances for reindeer transports was slightly higher than the previous year (23 % in 2013).
Non-compliances were found in three (23 %) of the 13 inspected transports of animals being transferred for rearing on a different farm. In all three cases the transporter authorisation was not carried in the vehicle. In one case the certificate of approval was not available either, and in another the treatment of the animals was not appropriate. The proportion of non-compliances noted in transports of animals between farms was slightly lower than the previous year (25 % in 2013).
The supervisory authorities have to intervene in cases of non-compliance
If the supervisory authority discovers non-compliances when inspecting the transport, the authority has to take the measures required by the legislation on animal transports. Most commonly, the supervisory authority orders the transporter of the animals to correct the non-compliances within a set timeframe. In addition, the authority has to inform the Regional State Administrative Agency that issued the transporter authorisation or the certificate of approval and in certain cases it also has to inform the Regional State Administrative Agency that issued the certificate of competence to the driver. The authorities took action on 12 transports, which is about 24 % of the inspections where breaches had been noted.
Animal transports are inspected annually
The legislation on animal transports was revised in early 2007. The Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations stipulates that the member state must monitor the compliance with the animal welfare requirements set for animal transports by inspecting a sufficient number of transports each year. The Finnish Food Authority collates an annual summary of inspection results and reports them to the European Commission.
The goal is to inspect at least 2 % of the commercial animal transports in order to achieve a sufficient number of inspections. This means at least 760 inspections of transports. The goal has not been reached, and only about 1 % of the commercial animal transports have been inspected annually.
Commercial animal transports have been subject to animal welfare inspections in Finland since 1997. During 2000–2014 the animal welfare authorities inspected more than 5400 animal transports, and breaches were noted with on average 21 % of the inspections.