European Union - EFSA assesses welfare risks to animals during transport

Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare was asked to deliver a Scientific Opinion on the welfare of animals during transport. An ad hoc expert working group was established in response to the request which made use of the information provided by stakeholders during the Technical Meeting held on 13 October 2010. The scientific opinion on the welfare of animals during transport was adopted by the AHAW Panel on 2nd December 2010.
Thursday 13 January 2011 (7 years 11 months ago)
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Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare was asked to deliver a Scientific Opinion on the welfare of animals during transport. An ad hoc expert working group was established in response to the request which made use of the information provided by stakeholders during the Technical Meeting held on 13 October 2010. The scientific opinion on the welfare of animals during transport was adopted by the AHAW Panel on 2nd December 2010.

In order to supplement the two previous reports on the welfare of animals during transport (SCAHAW; 2002 and EFSA, 2004), the working group collected the most recent scientific information concerning the main farm species (horses, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, poultry and rabbits).

New research confirms that pigs have difficulties in adapting to stressful situations. When grouped for transport, pigs kept in stable groups and without the presence of unfamiliar animals, have a reduced level of stress. Recent scientific studies indicate a higher risk of mortality when pigs are fed before transport, and highlight the need for water to be always available at the farm, and assembly points.

In the case of the means of transport , pigs should be fasted before transport and water should always be available at the farm, assembly point and lairage. During long transports (over 8 h) water should be provided at rest stops but it is unnecessary to provide water continuously while the vehicle is in motion. In relation to the transport practices it is recommended that wherever possible, animals should be kept in stable social groups. Pigs should be loaded onto vehicles in groups no greater than six. Sows and boars should be handled separately and transported in separate compartments. In pigs, for journeys exceeding 24 hours, feed should be available every 24 hours at staging points followed by 6 hours rest. On the space allowance, conclusions and recommendations are focused on the way of calculation of the spaces depending on the animal type.

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/s1966.pdf

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