Cookies on CAB eBooks

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

CAB eBooks

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 8 (Page no: 182)


This account of long-distance transport in Africa covers North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa. The chapter examines the long-distance transport of cattle, goats and sheep throughout Africa and, to a lesser extent, the transport of horses, donkeys and camels. Pigs and chickens are often produced in relatively close proximity to the place of slaughter, and therefore, are less likely to be subject to long-distance transport. The main long-distance transport routes in Southern Africa are from Namibia, via Botswana to South Africa (by road 2-5 days, with distances covered varying from 1000 to 2000 km) and the export of animals by sea from ports in South Africa and Mozambique to Mauritius (by sea 7-10 days). In West Africa, long-distance transport can take several days, with routes from Niger and Mali to Togo, Benin, Ghana and Nigeria the longest, taking, on average, 3-6 days, and covering up to 2000 km. However, the number of days in transit depends on the number of stops at markets, and can take much longer than 6 days. In East Africa, one of the longest routes is in Southern Sudan where the journey can take 3 days from Rumbek to the Uganda border; however, cattle often travel through Uganda from there, another 2-3 days. In North Africa land transport can be 7-9 h. The exception is for sheep imported from Australia. Sheep are shipped directly on vessels from Australia to the Suez port in Egypt and can take about 3 weeks. Egypt imported annually around 50 000-100 000 head of sheep. Trekking is a common means of transporting livestock in Africa, and in East Africa some of the longest treks are recorded - about 75 days. These Southern, West and East African long-distance routes are described further in this chapter. The chapter discusses the cultural, religious and economic factors influencing the livestock trade in Africa; describes transport by trekking, trucking, rail and ship; and the welfare issues associated with each type of transport. Trucking and trekking are the most common means of long-distance transport in Africa. Animal welfare issues common to long-distance transport include poorly developed and degraded infrastructure; lack of enforcement of national legislation, where legislation governing livestock transport exists; and inhumane handling of livestock throughout the production chain. Specific cases of good practices, poor practices and opportunities to impact long-distance transport are presented. A good practice is illustrated by South Africa, where NGOs are having an impact on livestock transport and slaughter - providing oversight of the livestock industry. Poor practices include cruel treatment of animals during loading, unloading, transport and slaughter. Cruel treatment includes gouging out eyes before slaughter, using fire, twisting tails and beating exhausted animals to load and offload animals on to trucks and slaughtering animals with cuts across the throat that are incomplete and slaughtering in front of other animals. Opportunities include the potential for international trade in meat and other livestock products, which, if the importing market demands it, could encourage improved production practices, including more humane transport and slaughter; and the increasing presence and strength of animal welfare NGOs, which can have a positive impact on livestock handling and transport.

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: 4 (Page no: 77) Meat quality. Author(s): María, G. A.
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: 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.