Welfare in Animal Transport Order (2006)

The Welfare in Animal Transport legislation came into force on 5th January 2007.

Many people now need a vehicle/trailer certificate and State Veterinary Service (SVS) authorisation to transport horses for up to eight hours and from January 2008 a WATO Certificate of Competence.

BHDTA members who transport horses may fall into the scope of the legislation.

You WILL DEFINITELY need a Certificate of Competence if you are:

  • transporting horses for hire or reward on journeys of over 65km or up to 8 hours
  • transporting someone else's horses for payment
  • transporting horses for sale or to an abattoir for slaughter
  • transporting horses as part of their business

You WILL NOT need a Certificate of Competence if you are:

  • transporting horses not in connection with an economic activity
  • farmers moving their own horses in their own vehicles for seasonal migration between pastures for a distance of less than 50km from their holding
  • transporting horses directly to or from veterinary practices or clinics under the advice of a vet.
  • An individual transporting their own horse in their own vehicle for a non-economic activity on a journey of less than 65km or under 8 hours
  • A "hobby breeder", where the income from the hobby does not significantly exceed the expenditure
  • A person transporting their own horse in their own vehicle to a show or other event for the purpose of pleasure or recreation - the winning of minor prize money DOES NOT constitute an "economic activity".
  • A person transporting another person's horse in their vehicle for "petrol money", providing no profit is involved.

Owners of Registered horses (those registered in studbooks or with organisations managing competitions) being transported to competition and meets are exempt from keeping journey logs, on watering, feeding, rest intervals and journey times. However transporters will still need the WATO Certificates of Competence if the journey is in connection with an economic activity.

Equines with DEFRA passports are Registered horses.


Welfare of Animals During Transport Regulations - Equine related case studies

CLICK HERE to read answers to specific questions regarding the new regulations

Documents and Information   (Note: these files are in PDF format).

For more information to help you decide whether or not you fall into the scope of the legislation, please read:

Animal welfare transport legislation - does it affect you ?

Information from DEFRA:

Visit DEFRA's website


Certificate of Competence

This information is published courtesy of the British Driving Society, who are a DEFRA approved awarding body for the Certificate of Competence.

The BDS is currently one of only four DEFRA approved awarding bodies for the Certificates of Competence and you can get further information on how to apply from the BDS office or on the BDS website at The syllabus of the WATO Certificate of Competence and a test application form can be downloaded below.


Syllabus for Driver's / Attendant's Certificate

Application Form - WATO Attendant / Driver Competence Test

Note: these files are in PDF format.



DEFRA - Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs