The European Convention for the protection of animals during international transport (1968; ETS 65) lays down the general conditions for the international transport of animals from their preparation to loading to their unloading, such as design of transport means, fitness to transport of the animals, veterinary controls, handling of animals, certificates, etc. and sets out special conditions for the transport of animals by road, air, sea and rail.
Detailed recommendations on the transport of respectively horses, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, and poultry have been adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. To each of these Recommendations is appended a very detailed Code of Conduct.
The Parties to Convention ETS 65 meet regularly for Multilateral Consultations. These consultations aim at monitoring the implementation of the provisions of the Convention and, if appropriate, proposing the revision or the extension of some of them depending on the evolution of the field concerned.
The multilateral consultations are prepared by a working party. Representatives of professional fields concerned as well as of animal protection associations are participating in the work as observers.
In 1988 and 1989, two Multilateral Consultations were dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the European Convention for the protection of animals during international transport. Following the conclusions of these Multilateral Consultations, the Committee of Ministers adopted, in addition to a first Recommendation concerning the transport of horses adopted in 1987, four other Recommendations to member States, concerning the transport of pigs, cattle, sheep and goats and poultry.
Recommendation No. 1289 (1996) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on animal welfare and livestock transport, where the Assembly expressed its concern towards the ill treatment of animals during international transport, and the reply adopted by the Committee of Ministers at its 607th meeting, on 30 October 1997, gave new impetus to the process of revision of the Convention ETS 65, and a Working Party was instructed to prepare a new Multilateral Consultation, which was held in Strasbourg on 18-20 June 2002 and brought about the approval of a revised Convention. The revised Convention was adopted by the Ministers' Deputies on 11 June 2003 and opened for signature in Chişinau, on 6 November 2003, on the occasion of the 113th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It entered into force on 14 March 2006.
Pursuant to the revised Convention, the Working Party will now proceed to the drafting of the technical protocols concerning space allowances (Article 17) and water, feed and rest (Article 20).
Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers
Codes of conduct addressing the transport of animals not by species but by transport means (road, sea, air and rail) are currently being elaborated. They aim at replacing the existing recommendations on the transport of different species of animals.