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Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Long distance transport and welfare of farm animals.

Book cover for Long distance transport and welfare of farm animals.


The book is a compilation of articles on the effect of animal transport on the food safety and quality, health and welfare of livestock animals for agricultural and processing industry. The implication of long distance transport of animals for slaughter is highlighted. Topics discussed are: science of animal welfare; economics; physiology of diseases; legislation; meat quality; enforcement of tran...


Chapter 4 (Page no: 77)

Meat quality.

The stress undergone by domestic animals as they are transported to the abattoir is one of the most severe they suffer during the process of meat production. Transport of live domestic animals is also very visible to the consumer, so the industry should consider ways to improve it and the ethical quality of the final product. There is a wide range of potential markets available for meat producers, each with defined specifications for animals and pricing criteria. Injury or damage to carcasses due to poor transportation practices, including long-distance transport, will downgrade the meat. In order to meet market requirements, animals should be transported in such a way as to avoid downgraded carcasses. Transport is stressful for animals, even under optimal conditions, and - as with any other negative or damaging stressor - should be minimized. Journey time is the main variable to control, to reduce the biological cost of transport stress. The physical condition of the animal before transport, and food and water deprivation, play an important role in the way that animals should be managed during the transport process. Domestic species will vary in their reaction to transport stress. Handling, loading, transport conditions and unloading are critical points that should be performed properly. The quality of driving, road conditions and weather constraints vary widely and transport limits and recommendations should be adapted to those variable situations. The meat industry and the authorities in charge of enforcing the legislation should inform personnel involved in the transport/slaughter chain that improvements can be made - by investing in training and by improving the design of facilities. It is important to improve training and education on methods of animal handling and transport to minimize the risk to welfare and to avoid animal suffering. A payment system should be implemented in terms of transport quality. That payment should be directly related to welfare. Journey time limits and rest periods must be enforced. Journey time should be short enough to avoid the requirement to unload the animals for resting. There need to be strict controls at the loading point to prevent poor transport practice and logistics and minimize stress to the animals. Along those lines, an approved route plan should be compulsory based on a proper decision support system. Research results should be used to help propose modifications to improve animal welfare. Meat quality indicators can reveal major animal welfare problems during transport, but otherwise have limited usefulness in assessing welfare. A very strong stress is required to have a visible effect on meat quality. When there are even small effects on the meat, it is clear that the animals have suffered, because other welfare criteria such as behavioural changes, physiological constants or plasmatic indicators are normally greatly affected. An absence of an effect on meat quality is not a clear sign of absence of suffering due to poor welfare. We need to evaluate animal welfare from a multiple perspective approach to have a clear idea about the real extent of suffering of animals during transport (see Chapter 1, this volume). Transportation represents a combination of several stressors, which can have additive and deleterious effects on the animal. All attempts to decrease the amount of stress that livestock undergo should consider the complexity of stressors involved in the process.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Science of animal welfare. Author(s): Appleby, M. C.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 18) Economic aspects. Author(s): Appleby, M. C. Cussen, V. Garcés, L. Lambert, L. A. Turner, J.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 69) Physiology and disease. Author(s): Manteca, X.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 113) Enforcement of transport regulations: the EU as case study. Author(s): Cussen, V. A.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 137) The welfare of livestock during sea transport. Author(s): Phillips, C. J. C.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 157) The welfare of livestock during road transport. Author(s): Broom, D. M.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 182) Africa. Author(s): Menczer, K.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 218) North America. Author(s): Engebretson, M.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 261) South America. Author(s): Gallo, C. B. Tadich, T. A.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 288) Asia. Author(s): Li, P. J. Rahman, A. Brooke, P. D. B. Collins, L. M.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 324) Australia and New Zealand. Author(s): Fisher, M. W. Jones, B. S.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 355) Europe. Author(s): Corson, S. Anderson, L.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 387) Middle East. Author(s): Rahman, S. A.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2008
  • ISBN
  • 9781845934033
  • Record Number
  • 20083128994