What you need to know about the transportation of livestock

Animals are reared and valued by people for different reasons, they are a source of food, fiber, companionship and can be used as a sport, recreation, scientific studies or companionship. With these in mind, the need for transporting animals from one point to the other becomes needful.

Animals are moved for a number of reasons including marketing, slaughter, re-stocking, for grazing and change in ownership. The methods used to move animals either by trekking on their hoof by road, rail, ship or by air.

Consequently, there’s a growing concern about the welfare of animals during transportation and the concerns keep growing, a lot of people are asking the question of whether animals have rights and this is because of the hazard and stress associated with the transportation of animals.

In Nigeria, Livestock is basically moved on foot, but with the increase in urbanization and the commercialization of livestock production, livestock is now being transported by road.

Transportation of livestock is undoubtedly the most stressful and injurious stage in the chain of operations between the farm and slaughterhouse and contributes significantly to the welfare and production of the animals.

Effects of Transportation
As earlier stated, poor transportation can have a serious effect on the welfare of the animal and consequently lead to loss of quality and production.
Below is a list of challenges that occurs during the transportation of animals -

  1. Stress.
  2. Bruising –This leads to a significant loss in the production of meat.
  3. Trampling – This occurs when animals go slip on slippery surfaces.
  4. Overcrowding.
  5. Suffocation – This usually follows after the trampling of the animals.
  6. Bloat - This occurs when animals are restrained or when their feet’s are tied so that they are not able to turn.
  7. Poisoning – Animals can die from poisonous plants as a result of trekking on their hoofs.
  8. Dehydration – Animals subjected to long distances during traveling without proper watering will suffer weight loss and may die.
  9. Improper Handling
  10. Extreme Weather Conditions.

Before Transporting Animals :- A veterinary professional will be invited before loading the animals that will conduct an evaluation on the animals, after the evaluation, the veterinary doctor will issue a loading permit, this permit is granted by the department of veterinary service according to the animal disease control act of 1988 ( For more details on how to get a veterinary doctor to evaluate your animals, contact us for more information)
  1. Clean and disinfect trailers to prevent the spread of diseases.
  2. Make sure there is no sharp metal inside the trailer.
  3. Floors should be safe with no slippery surfaces – apply materials such as wood shavings to prevent livestock animals from slippering.
  4. Avoid using trailers with wooden floors as they can create a dangerous surface for the livestock.
  5. Follow proper animal handling practices at all times.
  6. Ensure that you do not overload the livestock in the trailer. Do not exceed 12,000kg per trailer to avoid overcrowding.
  7. Once the trailer is loaded up, keep moving to avoid extra stress and heat flare up.
  8. Once you have arrived at your destination, don’t delay in offloading the animals. ( Remember, that when you get to your destination you will also need to get an offloading permit before you can offload, don’t forget to contact us if you need more information on how to go about this)

Note:- One major factor to consider when transporting livestock is the weather. In hot weather conditions, haul animals in the cool part of the day i.e mornings and evenings.
Keep ventilation holes open for air exchange.
Make sure animals are given feed and water before leaving and be sure they have water available when they arrive.
Extreme cold weather conditions can lead to the loss of the livestock, as such don’t transport animals on frigid days except when absolutely necessary.
During extreme weather conditions, block some of the trailer air holes and use hay to keep the animals warm.

In conclusion, before transporting livestock think about COWS.
C – Cleanliness
O – Overcrowding
W – Weather
S – Slippery surfaces.

Cleanliness – Is the trailer clean and free of sharp objects.
Overcrowding – Have you limited the number of animals in the trailer to avoid overcrowding?
Weather – Have you checked the weather and taken the necessary precautions?
Slippery – Have you provided adequate traction on the floor?