Transport of Casualty Farm Animals (PB1381)

Advice to the Haulier


Many businesses provide an important service to farmers by offering to collect casualty animals. In the past, however, the transport of casualty animals has led to some welfare abuses, partly because of a wide interpretation of the legal provision which allowed a road vehicle to be used as an ambulance in an emergency. This ambulance' provision has now been removed from the legislation.


Under The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 (see paragraph 12) you are prohibited from transporting any animal in a way which causes or is likely to cause it unnecessary suffering. You may only transport an unfit animal for veterinary treatment or for slaughter. It is illegal to drag or push, or lift by a mechanical device, any unfit animal which is being transported for slaughter.


When you take charge of any animals, you have a responsibility in law for their welfare. The emphasis must be on handling and transporting animals in a humane way. This applies in all cases, but extra care will always be needed in dealing with casualty animals.


Vehicles used to transport casualty animals should be properly prepared and equipped for the job and comply with the legislation on transport of animals, particularly in relation to cleaning, ventilation, penning and the use of partitions.


The driver should be fully aware of his or her responsibilities for the welfare of the animal. Animals may only be entrusted to persons who possess the knowledge necessary to administer appropriate care during loading, unloading and transport.


It is strongly recommended that the arrangements for transporting a casualty animal be discussed with the farmer before you supply the vehicle. You should ensure that suitable provisions for penning or bedding the animal are available. If the animal is to be transported for slaughter, ensure that arrangements have been made at the destination to receive it.


Before an animal is loaded for a journey to a slaughterhouse, you are strongly recommended to ask to see the owner's declaration which must accompany the casualty animal to a slaughterhouse (paragraph 10). The slaughterhouse operator will require the owner's declaration as it is an offence to admit a casualty animal into a slaughterhouse without such a declaration (unless the animal is injured during the journey). You should also discuss with the farmer what special conditions, including any specified by the veterinary surgeon, are needed to safeguard the welfare of the animal during loading and transport.


Any animal which cannot bear any weight on one or more limbs (for instance due to a fracture, dislocation or other severe injury) should not be transported. An animal should not be forced up the ramp. Where an animal is incapable of rising, it should not be moved without consulting a veterinary surgeon (see paragraph 51).


For transporting a casualty animal it will normally be necessary to prepare a deep bed of straw or other suitable material on the vehicle, and care should be taken to protect it from banging against the sides of the lorry or partitions during the journey. In the vehicle, a casualty animal should be separated from other animals, unless to do so would cause distress.


The vehicle should be driven with great care because it is difficult even for fit and healthy animals to cope with sudden movements of the vehicle caused by abrupt changes in speed and direction.


Remember that you have a legal obligation to refuse to carry a casualty animal unless you are satisfied that the animal can be transported without unnecessary suffering.

ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
© University of Hertfordshire, 2011