Criteria and potential reasons for maximum journey ...

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Title Criteria and potential reasons for maximum journey times for farm animals destined for slaughter
Author(s) M. S. Cockram
Journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Date 2007
Volume 106
Issue 4
Start page 234
End page 243
Abstract It is the view of many organisations that, whenever possible, it is more appropriate to slaughter animals close to their source of production and transport the carcass rather than transport sentient live animals for slaughter, when long journeys may put their welfare at risk. However, more evidence is required on the effects on the welfare of farmed animals of long distance transport in order to provide a basis for specifying maximum journey times. A rationale for restricting journey time could be made on the basis that: aspects of welfare are adversely affected after a specific journey duration and, thus, stopping a journey before this occurs would help to minimise any adverse effects; transportation is a continuous, aversive experience for animals and restricting journey time would minimise the duration of this experience; there are many risk factors associated with transportation that have the potential to adversely affect aspects of welfare and the longer the journey, the greater the risk; and if animals were sub-clinically infected, limiting journeys would slow down the distribution of the infectious disease. There is an alternative argument that too much emphasis has been placed on journey times and that greater focus should be placed on the quality of the journey. If care is taken only to select animals fit for transport, the environmental conditions (including driving style, road conditions, vehicle design and operation, space allowance, thermal conditions and ventilation), and the pre- and post-transport handling of the animals are optimal, it may be possible to transport certain types of animals over long distances without major welfare problems. However, if there is widespread non-compliance with regulations or industry standards and inadequate enforcement or supervision to provide optimal conditions, the argument for limiting journey times is strengthened. The evidence to support these approaches is discussed by considering the factors affecting the welfare of farmed animals during road transport, and by using examples of the behavioural and physiological responses of sheep to journey length and duration of feed and water restriction.

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