Under transport legislation livestock must be fit for an intended journey before the journey starts and the livestock must also remain ‘sufficiently fit’ throughout the journey.
This means the animal should be healthy enough to tolerate the entire journey (including loading, unloading and any journey breaks) with no or very little adverse effect on it, the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) advises.
Further, it has said that the journey should not cause the animal any suffering or injury. If you are planning on transporting livestock, the LMC has outlined four things to keep in mind:
1. Fit for transport
If you transport animals it is your responsibility to ensure that they are fit for transport, even though other competent and responsible people (e.g. the animal’s owner) may be involved in assessing the fitness of an animal for transport.
2. Assessment of fitness
This is an ongoing procedure that should be repeated throughout a journey, and not something that should only be undertaken before the start of it.
The condition of an animal can change rapidly during a journey, and an animal that was initially fit at the outset, may – for several reasons – become unfit later in the journey.
Transporters/herd or flock keepers should take the opportunities presented by rest, toilet and other breaks in the journey to re-check their animals.
3. Obtain veterinary opinion
Whenever the fitness of an animal or group of animals is in doubt, or disputed, transporters/ herd or flock keepers are advised strongly before undertaking transport to obtain the professional opinion of a veterinary surgeon and consider and follow any advice given.
The transporter/herd or flock keeper may wish to obtain a written opinion from the veterinarian.
4.Better transport conditions
Where animals that are slightly ill or injured are judged to be sufficiently fit for transport, it will often be necessary to provide better transport conditions during the journey.