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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 9 (Page no: 218)

North America.

Transportation is one of the most stressful events in a farmed animal's life. Because nearly all of the billions of farmed animals raised in North America are subjected to transportation at some point during their lives, transportation is also one of the most important welfare issues affecting farmed animals. This chapter reviews the available information on farmed animal transport in North America with particular reference to road transport of animals destined for slaughter. Because animal welfare generally declines with increasing journey length the chapter will emphasize problems associated with long-distance transport. While 'long-distance transport' has not been concretely defined or agreed upon in the scientific literature or by advocacy groups, for the purpose of this chapter journeys exceeding 8-12 h of non-stop travel are generally regarded as 'long-distance'. This characterization is consistent with the recommendations for travel and rest periods for horses, pigs, sheep and cattle, set forth by the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare. Deprivation of food and water, overcrowding, lack of opportunities for rest and prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold are commonly cited welfare concerns associated with long-distance transport. Poor and abusive handling of animals during loading and unloading and at auctions also increases animal stress and suffering during the transport process. Despite this, animals may be transported across multiple states, regions or provinces and across national borders for fattening and slaughter. Some may even be moved across national borders for slaughter only for the meat then to be shipped back to their countries of origin for consumption. The exact number of animals affected by long-distance transport and the distances commonly travelled are difficult to determine because data on livestock movements in the USA, Canada and Mexico are highly fragmented and limited in scope. The primary reason for this is lack of accurate record keeping at the state, province and country level. The transport of livestock in North America is influenced by many factors. The economic costs of transporting animals (which tend to be lower than transporting feed) and geographical differences in feed and forage availability and prices, as well as the development and location of feedlots and slaughterhouses largely determine where animals will be transported and at what stage of production. Live animal movements across the national boundaries between the USA and Canada and the USA and Mexico is normal practice as animals move to pastures, feedlots or to more available slaughter facilities. The setting of travel time limits, rest periods and provisioning of food and water for livestock during road transport seems to be fundamental in addressing animal welfare concerns. While Canada, the USA and Mexico each have varying laws, codes and regulations governing the transport of farmed animals, there are significant shortcomings in scope and enforcement which present significant challenges for ensuring animal welfare in each of these countries. Because animal protection legislation stems largely from civil society pressure, public education and advocacy will be fundamental in effecting lasting change for transported farmed animals in North America.

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: 8 (Page no: 182) Africa. Author(s): Menczer, K.
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
  • Animal Protection Institute, 1122 S Street, Sacramento, California, USA.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2008
  • ISBN
  • 9781845934033
  • Record Number
  • 20083128999