Enforcement of the new EU transport ruleshas been delayed from 5 January to 30 April 2008 to help the industry cope with outbreaks of foot-and-mouth, avian flu and Bluetongue.

However, according to DEFRA this extension applies to the UK only and to avoid enforcement when transporting poultry in Europe, producers should ideally have obtained competence certificates before 5 January 2008.

Does it apply to every poultry producer?

The certificate of competence applies for the transport of poultry on journeys made by road that are regarded as an “economic activity.” This means anybody or any company involved in transport as part of a business or commercial activity with financial gain.

As a rough guide, an owner or a transporter carrying birds to be sold as part of a business needs to be covered by the regulation.

There are two types of certificate of competence:

  • If you are travelling over 65km (40 miles) and for up to eight hours, you will need a short journey certificate (A Type 1).
  • If you are travelling over 65km (40 miles) and for more than eight hours you will need to obtain a long journey certificate (A type 2).

Why do I need it?

The new rules aim to improve the welfare of animals during transport by raising standards as part of an EU directive.

Will there be any exemptions?

Producers transporting animals in journeys under 65km (40 miles) from the place of departure to the destination will not require a certificate of competence.

Pet animals taken to or from a specialist show or competition, where the primary purpose is for pleasure or competition and not business will not be included in the rules. Or pet animals accompanied by their owner on a private journey.

As a guide DEFRA does not expect the transport of pet animals by their owners to and from events such as shows, even when they win minor cash prizes, to be covered.

What does the test involve?

The short journey assessment is a theory test. And the long journey is a theory test with additional practical assessments of animal handling and driving skills. Those assessed as competent will be awarded a certificate.

Assessments are based around 19 competences drawn from regulation and candidates will be required to demonstrate knowledge of these competences in order to pass.

DEFRA advises that candidates need to be assessed in each of the species that they transport. So if you usually only transport poultry, but occasionally transport pigs, you will need to be assessed against both species.

The price of the tests start from £17 per species, which includes certification and ID card, but costs vary depending on the organisation arranging the test.

On successful completion of the test, producers will be issued with a certificate and ID card which should be carried at all times when transporting poultry. And both the short and long journey certificates are valid for the lifetime of the legislation.

Do I need anything else?

In addition to the certificate of competence you will also need a transporter authorisation and animal transport certificate, which you may already be using.

Where can I take the test?

DEFRA has nominated industry bodies to carry out the training programmes and tests can be taken at organised assessment centres across the UK.

The National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC), advises candidates to register through an NPTC approved assessment centre for this qualification prior to assessment.

The NFU is offering its members a certificate of competence session for the short test only. It’s provided by Lantra and includes a one hour workshop and one hour test workshop. Costing £30 plus vat and can be arranged at your regional office. The workshop aims to provide advice on animal welfare during transport and also provide preparation for the test.

Alternatively Lantra Awards is offering two assessments to cover the new rules for short and long journeys.

Training company Animal-I has produced a self learning DVD to help guide producers through the legislation and prepare for the test. RRP is normally £19.99 but it’s available at a special offer price of £14.99 for all Poultry World readers for orders placed before the end of April. Order online at www.animal-i.com.

What are the penalties?

Enforcement of the new transport rules will be carried out by Local Authorities with on the spot checks carried out by Trading Standards officials.

As enforcement of the regulation has already been delayed until 30 April due to disease outbreaks, producers without a certificate of competence will have to prove hardship in order to escape penalties.

However, there is still time for producers and haulers to obtain a certificate of competence for transporting poultry and avoid a hefty fine or six months in prison

TRANSPORT RULES

  • Certificate of competence required by 30 April
  • Assessments required
  • Failure to comply can lead to £5000 fine or six month imprisonment

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