Cattle Welfare

The Welfare of cattle during transport


‘No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them’


A welfare assessment should be performed on all animals prior to transportation.


Animal transportations can take many forms from short local journeys in standard transport vehicles to long international transportations in specialised vehicles.


Irrespectively, the transporter is responsible for ensuring that animals are fit for transport and that the transportation will not cause ‘injury or undue suffering’. It is therefore essential that transporters are able to recognise animals that are unfit for transport.


Those assessing the fitness of animals for transport will often need to draw on their experience of transporting animals but if there is any doubt as to the fitness of animals, then they should not rely on this experience, but they should contact their private veterinary practitioner for expert advice. 



The basic premises for the transport of livestock are


(a) No animal shall be transported unless it is fit for the intended journey, and all animals shall be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause them injury or unnecessary suffering.


(b) Animals that are injured or that present physiological weaknesses or pathological processes shall not be considered fit for transport.


(c) Transport must not aggravate an animal’s slight illness or injury


(d) If there is any doubt as to whether an animal is suitable for transport; the animal should not be transported until the situation is clarified


(e) Slightly ill or injured animals should only be transported on short journeys, in limited circumstances, where the journey is absolutely necessary


(f) If there is any doubt as to whether the transport will cause unnecessary suffering or ill treatment, then the transport should not proceed, and if veterinary advice is required, then the veterinary surgeon should visit the animal in situ on-farm


(g) Only animals with completely healed wounds from castration, dehorning, tail-docking or other veterinary procedure may be transported. This would exclude fresh, open or bleeding wounds


(h) When animals fall ill or are injured during transport, they shall be separated from the others and receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible. They shall be given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary undergo emergency slaughter or killing in a way, which does not cause them any unnecessary suffering


(i) Sedatives shall not be used on animals to be transported unless strictly necessary to ensure the welfare of the animals and shall only be used under veterinary supervision.


(j) If an animal can only be transported sedated, then expert veterinary advice should be sought, as to the suitability of the transport