Transport and animal welfare

Transport of horses from non-EU countries

Transport of horses from non-EU countries means transport of horses by road, rail, sea and air from non-EU countries (= third countries) to Finland, including transit from a third country via Finland to another third country. Owing to Finland’s geographical location, the most common route in practice is from Russia via Vaalimaa veterinary border inspection post to Finland.

The Animal Transport Regulation / Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97] regulates the transport of horses for commercial purposes (link to Regulation in the margin).

The Animal Transport Regulation only applies to the commercial transport of horses. This is taken to mean movements of horses with a direct financial benefit to the animal transporter or which are part of business or commercial activity which directly or indirectly involves or aims at financial gain.

As a rule, commercial transport of this type is limited to movements of horses by professional transporters or companies performing the service for payment.

Transporting your own exercising horses is not considered commercial, nor is the transport of horses owned by somebody else as long as the transport is not for financial gain. As a rule, movements of horses in trailers do not constitute commercial transport of horses unless the transport is undertaken for financial gain.

Documents required at the border inspection post for commercial transport of horses from non-EU countries

The transporter must present the following documents to the border veterinarian at the veterinary border inspection post:

  1. A copy of the long journeys transporter authorisation (which may be held jointly by several persons), which allows the carriage of livestock on journeys of over eight hours (document conforming with annex III, chapter II of the Animal Transport Regulation, link in the margin)
  2. A certificate of competence (for road transport, document conforming to Chapter II of Annex III of the Animal Transport Regulation)
  3. A road vehicle certificate of approval (document conforming to Chapter IV of Annex III of the Animal Transport Regulation)
  4. A route plan - required only for horses, which are not registered ( not required for registered horses -consists of parts 1-5 of the appendix of the Animal Transport Regulation, joined together)
  5. A transport document, containing the following information:
  • origin and owner of the animals
  • place of departure
  • day and time of departure
  • intended destination
  • anticipated duration of journey.

The documents mentioned in points 1-3 are issued in Russian at least in Estonia, (, e-mail: vet, tel. +372 605 1710)

Checks and records at the border inspection post

When animals arrive at the border inspection post, the border veterinarian checks, in addition to the above documents being presented, that the animals are being transported in accordance with the provisions of the Animal Transport Regulation, and in particular that the animals are fit to continue their journey, and that the intended vehicle for the onward movement of the animals conforms with Chapter II and, where appropriate, Chapter VI of Annex I of the Animal Transport Regulation. The border veterinarian must perform the checks listed in part 3 of the route plan in Annex II: “Destination” and keep records of these and the other Article 21 checks. These records are to be kept at the border inspection post (form in intranet for veterinary border inspection).

If the animals are not fit for onward transport to their final destination, they must be unloaded and given water, food and rest.

If the border control veterinarian finds out, that the provisions of the Animal Transport Regulation have not been fulfilled, he/she  informs the competent authority of the place of origin (municipal or provincial veterinarian) by attaching part 5 and copy of part 1 of the route plan, and all the other documents involved.

The quidance for animal welfare can be found on the right margin  "Animal welfare and transport".


Related links