When transporting livestock, you are responsible for the ensuring the welfare of animals throughout the journey, from loading to unloading.
Ensuring your livestock are fit to load not only helps you meet your legal obligations but also supports a thriving livestock industry with huge consumer demand. We love our animals, they are our life, our passion and our livelihoods. Being extra vigilant about the health and welfare of our animals before transporting are important, not just for that individual animal, but our whole industry.
Are your animals fit to load?
One of the ways we achieve this is by having standards of animal welfare for the transport of livestock. This means everyone involved along the supply chain has a role in ensuring good animal welfare. This responsibility is equally applicable to every person involved along the way. This includes the farmer and farm workers, the truck driver, agent, saleyard or abattoir staff and anyone else involved in the transport of livestock.
Understand your responsibilities when transporting stock
- Be able to bear weight on all four legs
- Show no signs of injury or distress
- Be strong enough for travel (not dehydrated or weak and skinny)
- Not be blind in both eyes
- Not be heavily pregnant or too young to travel
- Meets the maximum time off water standards.
A glove box guide is also available for producers to understand biosecurity, emergency animal diseases and preparing livestock for transport.
Proper planning and preparation are key
People involved in the transport of livestock should ensure the livestock are adequately prepared for the trip and that the trip is planned to minimise the cumulative effects of stress on the animals.
Preparation and planning prior to transporting stock include:
- avoiding extreme weather conditions
- minimising stressful management prior to transport
- ensuring yards and loading ramps are adequate
- using low stress handling techniques
- ensuring the correct times for withholding feed and water are followed for that age and status of the livestock
- recording times off feed and water
- ensuring livestock are spelled when required for the correct times
- ensure animals are fit to load
- ensure animals are segregated appropriately for transport
- ensure the correct livestock density is followed
- ensure all animals are tagged and that the correct paperwork is completed and signed.
Strategies for livestock unfit to load
Sometimes animals just need time to recover from minor illnesses and injuries without undue handling or interference. If it is safe, humane and available, the space and time should be provided for the animal to rest and recover before rescheduling the transport.
Download our factsheet on livestock unfit to load PDF, 1575.29 KB for more advice.
Adapted from content by District Vet Linda Searle.
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