Transport guidelines - INTRODUCTION


At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Berne, Switzerland, in November 1976, it was resolved that guidelines on the care and shipment of live specimens of species listed under the Convention should be prepared. Subsequently, at the meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 1977, the special working session of the Conference of the Parties recommended that these guidelines should apply to all animals and plants, not just those currently listed under the Convention. They furthermore recommended that the guidelines should cover all forms of transport, that they should be practical, and should be directed to the use of persons actually handling the consignments and also the enforcement authorities. The special working session also resolved that the guidelines should be broadly based upon the "Live Animals Regulations" of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and that the expert resources of the Survival Service Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and other appropriate bodies should be sought. In addition, Australia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America offered to draft guidelines for the carriage of plant specimens. However, at the third meeting of the Parties, it was resolved that the guidelines should only apply to wild animals and that domesticated species should be excluded.

The attached guidelines, as far as transport of animals is concerned, have been produced under the auspices of the TRAFFIC Group of the SSC of IUCN as part of a consultancy for the CITES Secretariat, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). They were edited and translated by the CITES Secretariat, taking into account, wherever practicable, the IATA Live Animals Regulations and the detailed instructions laid down by the Parties at the special working session in document Conf. S.S 1.1. On the basis of Doc. 2.20 Annex 2, they were endorsed by the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties held at San José, Costa Rica, in March 1979 [Plen. 2.6 (Rev.)]. With regard to transport of plants, revised guidelines (Doc. 2.20.1) were adopted by the Conference [Plen. 2.12 (Rev.)]. Following the request of the meeting, subsequent comments received by the TRAFFIC Group and by the Secretariat were taken into account for the final version.

The following are guidelines only and, for their enforcement, require national legislation. So far as we can ascertain, these guidelines do not conflict with existing legislative regulations and international agreements. They are intended to incorporate basic standards for the humane transport of live animals, in a form adaptable to local legislative requirements.

The guidelines for transport of animals comprise two parts. The first is intended for shipping agents, airline staff, ship's personnel, railway staff and any others who may be involved in the handling and checking of live animal consignments. It consists of a three part advice to carriers, covering various aspects of the animals' welfare, transport arrangements and the design and construction of containers.

The second section is intended for such person or persons who are directly responsible for providing the containers and for making the advance arrangements for the transport of wild animals. This section consists of 18 packer's guidelines covering the following grouping of animals:

  Mm/1 Terrestrial mammals except elephants and ungulates
  Mm/2 Terrestrial mammals – Elephants and ungulates
  Mm/3 Sloths, bats, flying lemurs
  Mm/4 Marine mammals – Whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, manatees
  Mm/5 Marine mammals – Seals
  Mm/6 Mice, rats, cavies and other small mammals
  Av/1 Water birds and large birds of non-perching habit
  Av/2 Parrots, pigeons, passerines, near-passerines
  Av/3 Birds of prey and owls
  Rp/1 Freshwater terrapins and turtles, marine turtles
  Rp/2 Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gavials
  Rp/3 Tortoises and land turtles, snakes, lizards
  Aph/1 Amphibians, aquatic forms
  Aph/2 Amphibians, terrestrial forms
  Ps/1 Fishes, except those species that cannot be contained in polythene bags
  Ps/2 Fishes that would damage polythene bags
  Inv/1 Aquatic invertebrates
  Inv/2 Terrestrial invertebrates

In accordance with the Resolutions of the Parties referred to above, these packers' guidelines have been designed to obviate the inclusion of any dimensions or specifications as to the precise materials that should be used in the construction of the containers. Scope is thus given for the use of suitable local materials and latitude is given to the person or persons responsible for the provisions of the containers to design these in such a manner that they are suitable for the size and number of animals to be housed. The sketches incorporated in these guidelines have been designed so as to give a clear indication of the relative size of the containers to the animals to be housed.

The draft guidelines for the transport of animals were prepared under the direction of Bill Jordan, Chief Wildlife Officer of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, by Charles Harley, with the assistance of Tony Sillars of the RSPCA, Tim Inskipp and John A. Burton of TRAFFIC. The drawings are by Vivienne Lawton. The following have been consulted, many of them extensively, and their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged; their inclusion does not imply any endorsement of the guidelines:

  • David Ball, Curator of Reptiles, Zoological Society of London
  • Jon Barzdo, Chairman of the Information Sub-Committee, The Association of British Wild Animal Keepers
  • Colin P. Booty, Wildlife Officer, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Headquarters
  • L.A. Carter, International Society for the Protection of Animals
  • Gerald Clough, Environment Physiologist, Medical Research Council, Laboratory Animals Centre, Carshalton, Surrey
  • John E. Cooper, BVSc, The Hawk Trust, Hungerford, Berkshire
  • Martin Corbett, Pet Trade Association, Importer of Tropical and Cold Water Fish
  • Don D. Farst, Director, Gladyz Porter Zoo, Brownsville, Texas
  • John Griffin, Director, Xenopus Ltd., Biological Suppliers – Amphibians
  • Clyde A. Hill, Curator of Conservation, Zoological Society of San Diego
  • Rene E. Honegger, Curator of Herpetology, Zürich Zoo
  • Oliphant F. Jackson, Comparative Biology Unit, Royal London Free Hospital
  • David Jones, Chief Veterinary Officer, Zoological Society of London
  • William J. Jordan, Chief Wildlife Officer, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Headquarters
  • Graham E. Joss, Veterinary Consultant to British Airways
  • Michael F. Keat, Manager of Cargo Department, Overseas Containers Ltd., London
  • Victor J.A. Manton, Curator, Zoological Society of London
  • Colin Platt, Field Director, International Society for the Protection of Animals, London
  • Stephen Pollock, Education Department, The Association of British Wild Animal Keepers
  • Nicholas Polunin, The Zoological Laboratory, University of Cambridge
  • R.J. Roberts, Unit of Aquatic Pathobiology, University of Stirling
  • Richard Straton, Chairman, The Association of British Wild Animal Keepers
  • William Timmis, North of England Zoological Society
  • Simon Townson, British Herpetological Society
  • Wilhelm H. Dudok van Heel, Dolfinarium Harderwijk
  • Paul H. Vodden, Assistant Wildlife Officer, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Headquarters
  • Neville Whittaker, Manager, RSPCA Airport Hostel for Animals, London Airport
  • David B. Wilkins, Headquarters Veterinary Officer, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Headquarters.

In addition to the foregoing, several CITES Management Authorities and certain individuals were consulted, also subsequent to the second meeting of the Parties in connection with the packers' guidelines.

Financial support for the preparation of the guidelines was provided by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Facilities for their preparation were provided by TRAFFIC and the RSPCA. Final editing, translation, typing and reproduction work was carried out by the CITES Secretariat. Publication was sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, in the context of a consultancy for the CITES Secretariat, funded under UNEP/IUCN Project FP/11O4 01 76.