Conditions for horses being transported inside the European Union, including those on their way to slaughter for human consumption, look set to improve under proposed changes to present EU legislation.

The changes are likely to include individual partitioning for horses, a reduction in the duration of journeys inside the EU from the current maximum of 24 hours and a mandatory rest period on entry into the EU.

Jo White of the ILPH, which took part in discussions with European Commission officials in Brussels recently, says: “One of the most positive aspects is the news that the commission is committed to single stalls or partitions for travelling equines. This will be a significant welfare measure that should help to reduce injuries suffered in transport.”

Although the EC is against the 8hr journey limit proposed by the ILPH, the issue of journey times is key to the new directive, and a reduction from the current maximum transport period looks likely.

Many horses travel without rest for days before entering the EU and the ILPH is recommending setting a compulsory 24hr off-vehicle rest period on entry to the EU.

New commission cabinet official Martin Territt says a 24hr rest period for slaughter horses entering the EU is still “very much on the table”, and that the EC is sympathetic to the case for better conditions during the journey and for meaningful rest periods.

He also says the EU wants to improve the standards at watering and feeding stations, establish improved bio-security, and develop staff training and journey plans.

Draft proposals for changes in EU legislation for transportation of horses (the Animal Transportation Directive) are expected to be published in the next month or so following the meeting, which was attended by East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer, Martin Territt, Andrea Gavinelli, author of the report on the Review of Live Animal Transportation, and the ILPH.

  • Click here to read the ILPH’s 10-point plan to improve conditions for horses on route to slaughter for human consumption within Europe.

    To find out more about the ILPH’s work on slaughter horse transportation and to request an ILPH transport information pack (tel: 0870 366 6928) or visit

    Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (6 March 2003), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.