Transporting livestock by road: paperwork

22 July 2022

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There are strict rules about the paperwork that needs to be held by those who transport animals as part of a business

Note: although the United Kingdom has left the European Union (EU), certain pieces of legislation (formally known as 'retained EU law') will still apply until such time as they are replaced by new UK legislation; this means that you will still see references to EU regulations in our guidance.

This guidance is for England

It is essential that those transporting animals on journeys of more than 65 km (about 40 miles) as part of an economic activity hold a valid transporter authorisation to do so.

Farmers, transporters and attendants using road vehicles for transporting farm animals, which includes poultry and horses, in connection with an economic activity must have received appropriate training. They must also hold a certificate of competence issued by an independent body nominated by Defra.

An animal transport certificate (ATC) must be completed for every journey unless an exemption is met.

United Kingdom and Great Britain

To fully understand this guidance, it is important to note the difference between the UK and GB:

  • UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • GB: England, Scotland and Wales 

Transporter authorisations

Anyone transporting animals on journeys of more than 65 km as part of an economic activity must hold a valid transporter authorisation to do so.

There are two types of authorisation:

  • type 1. A short journey authorisation for journeys longer than 65 km and up to and including eight hours duration
  • type 2. A long journey authorisation that covers all journeys, including those lasting more than eight hours

Transporters must carry their authorisation certificate, or a copy of it, whenever transporting animals. Animal health and welfare inspectors or trading standards officers may ask to see authorisations.

Authorisation certificates will be issued in GB by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and more information on welfare during transportation is available on the GOV.UK website.

The authorisation will last for five years unless revoked or suspended. It may have conditions imposed upon it at any time within this period if there are infringements of any requirement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations or the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006.

Anyone requiring an authorisation will need to submit an application. Anyone completing the application form should read the notes on the form, which explains what information is required in each section.

It is important to note that authorisations last for five years, unless revoked due to infringements of the legislation. Transporters need to re-apply every five years as there are no automatic renewals.

How to apply

Application forms for both type 1 and type 2 journey authorisations are available on the GOV.UK website or in writing to:

Welfare in Transport Team, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Centre for International Trade, Eden Bridge House, Lowther Street, Carlisle, CA3 8DX, Tel: 03000 200301 (option 4, then option 3, then option 5), email: [email protected].

Certificate of competence / training of drivers and attendants

Farmers, transporters or attendants using road vehicles for transporting farm animals, poultry or horses in connection with an economic activity must have received appropriate training. They must also hold a certificate of competence issued by an independent body nominated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Details of the independent bodies designated by Defra to undertake assessments for competence and award competence certificates are available on the GOV.UK website, which also contains information on training and competence certification.

Animal transport certificates

These are required for journeys of any species of animals over any distance or duration, except journeys involving farm livestock or unregistered domestic equidae (horses) on export journeys lasting more than eight hours, which require a journey log instead (part of which needs to be submitted and approved before the journey can begin).

The purpose of a journey log is to ensure such journeys are properly planned, with the required rest stops along the way, and without exceeding maximum journey times. The first section of the journey log must be submitted to the Welfare in Transport Team (contact details above) and a copy of the completed log must be submitted to the same office within a month of the journey's completion.

An ATC is required to record the following:

  • origin and ownership of animals
  • place of departure and destination
  • date and time of departure and expected duration of journey

However, please note that farmers transporting their own animals, by their own means of transport, on journeys of up to 50 km (about 31 miles) from their holding, are exempt from this requirement.

A template form can be found on the APHA website (see link on the top right of the page).

An animal movement licence form for sheep and goats (LIS-1) and a haulier summary for pigs (using the eAML2 system) may be used as an ATC for those animals, providing all the sections on the form are completed.

Transporting livestock to (or through) the EU

Since 1 January 2021, UK-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence and vehicle approvals are not valid for transporting animals from the UK to Member States of the EU. The EU no longer recognises UK-issued versions of these documents. (See the European Commission statement for more information.)

You need EU-issued documents to transport live animals:

  • direct from the UK to EU Member States
  • through the EU to a non-EU country

You should apply to an EU Member State where you have representation to get a:

  • transporter authorisation
  • certificate of competence
  • vehicle approval certificate

You can use GB-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in Northern Ireland (NI).

You can use NI-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in GB.

To transport live animals from or through GB to the EU, you will need to apply for two journey logs:

  • one issued and approved by whichever EU Member State is the first point of entry into the EU
  • one issued and approved by APHA 

For further information on documents to transport live animals, contact APHA's Welfare in Transport Team, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Centre for International Trade, Eden Bridge House, Lowther Street, Carlisle, CA3 8DX. Tel: 03000 200301 (option 4, then option 3, then option 5), email: [email protected].

Trading standards

For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.

In this update

The Livestock Information Service (LIS) has replaced the Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS) system. Also, new link added to a template animal transport certificate.

Last reviewed / updated: May 2022

Key legislation

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 legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.

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