Search icon

News Section Icon Published 20/02/2023

On Friday, the European Commission adopted new rules to improve the transport of live animals by sea (see delegated and implementing acts), yet the proposed changes to the current law are very weak and they are unlikely to solve the horrors that farmed animals face when transported by sea.

sheep during transport

Minor tweaks

“The European Commission is proposing minor tweaks to the EU law regulating the transport of animals by sea," said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. "Unfortunately, the Commission is up against a wall, as most EU Member States prefer to continue with business-as-usual, as evident in the most recent ministerial meeting in Brussels a few weeks ago." 

The new rules are very weak and would still allow, for example, animals to be carried on ships that were not built specifically for this purpose. This is a big risk to take as it can result in disasters like the 14,000 sheep drowned in the Black Sea a few years ago when carried on a ship originally built as a car transport vessel.

There are also no requirements for vets to be present until the animals are unloaded in the port of destination, nor will it be mandatory to provide proper rest infrastructure in ports where animals can be unloaded, fed and given water.

"We have repeated many times that the only solution to the problems that animals encounter when shipped to non-EU countries is to ban this cruel trade once and for all," Olga added.  "To address citizens’ concerns, the European Commission should demonstrate its will for an ambitious legislative proposal, due later this year, when we all expect a meaningful overhaul of EU animal welfare laws.”

Untitled (940 × 750Px)

The state of play

The Commission adopted the new rules on Friday as a delegated and an implementing regulation, as well as an annex. The Parliament and the Council generally have two months to formulate any objections to delegated acts and if they do not, the delegated act enters into force. With regards to the implementing act, the Parliament and the Council can object to the proposed act if it exceeds the Commission's powers defined in the initial act.

For more information, please email


You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).