When you’re transporting livestock, the first thing that you need to take into consideration is whether or not your livestock is fit for the journey. Animals that are unwell and unable to tolerate an entire journey – from loading to unloading – should not be transported.
The journey should not cause the animals to suffer in any way, and it definitely shouldn’t cause them any injuries. If you’re planning on transporting your livestock, there are several key points that you should be bearing in mind.
Are your animals fit for transport?
Animal health is paramount, it is your responsibility, as the handler of the animals that you’re transporting, to make sure that each animal is well enough to be transported. If your animals are ill or diseased when they’re being transported, it’s not just them who suffer, but any animal the illness spreads to.
Assess their fitness
No matter what, assessing the fitness of your animals should be an ongoing procedure throughout the journey you’re taking them on. You should never just assess your animals at the start of a journey, as they may become ill during it.
Animal health can easily change during transport, and one that was fine when you set out may quickly deteriorate during the journey.
Handlers should take advantage of any opportunity to check on their livestock.
Check with your vet
Whenever you’re doubtful of the fitness of your livestock, animal handlers are strongly advised to obtain the professional opinion of their licensed vet before they travel.
Welfare issues to take into consideration
There are a fair few welfare issues that can also affect animals being transported. When livestock is transported, no matter how smooth you believe the journey is going to be, there is always going to be some mental distress for the animals. This is because of the unusual and potentially frightening elements that come into play during transport; such as smells, movements, noise, and unfamiliar people and animals that your livestock will likely encounter.
If animals aren’t handled correctly and properly prepared for a journey, they also have the potential to sustain injuries, whether that’s due to poor loading or the animal’s own stress.
During particularly warm journeys, heat stress is also an issue, as is hunger and dehydration. If animals are not provided with the needed amount of food and water, alongside plenty of rest breaks, they can quickly succumb to illness from the hotter weather.
Finally, ensure that your animals are well enough on the day of travel and that the compartments they are travelling in meet legal requirements. It’s great getting the opinion of a vet before you travel, but if an animal falls ill the day of travel, and you can’t get a professional out to your premises to check on their condition, it’s best to not let them travel that day. As for the transport vehicle, ensure that it’s suitable for any and all animals that you’re loading into and that animals are properly separated.