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Handling drought-affected livestock during transport

It is important to handle livestock as quietly as possible throughout the transportation process to minimise impact on the animals.

Loading

  • Segregate livestock into groups of similar age, sex and strength. With weak, lactating breeders, you may segregate the calves.
  • During the loading process, the transport operator and the owner or agent should make sure livestock are fit for the intended journey.
  • Minimise stress and injury by allowing sufficient time for the animals to load quietly.
  • Adjust loading densities to suit the class of livestock.
  • Where possible, the strongest animals should be loaded on the top deck of double-deck crates.

In transit

The responsibility for the care of animals during transport lies with the transport driver. Weakened or very young livestock must be carefully monitored en route.

  • Before transportation, allow adequate spelling time, and give animals access to fodder and water.
  • Complete the transportation as quickly as possible.
  • Regularly monitor the condition of the animals.
  • Treat or assist animals experiencing difficulties.
  • Unload livestock that are not travelling well.
  • Consider additional spelling or euthanasia for seriously distressed animals.

Unloading

Take extra care when unloading animals at the end of a journey, as they may be tired and distressed, which increases the risk of injury. At this stage, the responsibility for the animals' welfare changes from the driver to the person receiving the animals.

  • Ensure that the facilities taking delivery of the livestock are suitable. This may include providing access to shelter, fodder and water.
  • Confirm that the person in charge of the facility has ensured that it is prepared and meets the animals' needs.
  • Ensure the person taking delivery of the animals is aware of any issues relating to the health and wellbeing of the animals (as noted by the driver or owner).
  • Allow livestock to unload at their own pace. Downer stock should not be dragged off the transport. If they are unable to walk off, they should be euthanased on the vehicle (where possible).
  • Ensure that experienced staff are available to assist with the unloading.
  • Ensure animals are well fed before releasing them into situations where they could be exposed to potentially toxic plants.

You must treat sick, stressed or injured animals quickly and ensure that the humane destruction of animals is performed when required.

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