Brian Daly interviews RSPCA Australia’s Scientific Officer Dr Sarah Babington and Senior Scientific Officer (Farm Animals) Melina Tensen, to find out more about farm animal transportation in Australia.
Farm animals are transported within Australia every day to other properties, saleyards, feedlots, abattoirs and export ports. Some of these journeys may involve distances of thousands of kilometres over several days. Transport is stressful for farm animals and can cause suffering and deaths.
The RSPCA believes that animals should be transported in a way that avoids injury and minimises suffering or distress. Journey times should be as short as possible, and slaughter of food animals should occur as near to the farm as possible. Particular care is needed during transport of animals who are in poor condition because of drought, and transport of bobby calves. Bobby calves are often transported for slaughter at less than 5 days of age. They are particularly susceptible to stress and injury during transport because of their young age.
The RSPCA was one of two animal welfare organisations involved in the development of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock. As a contributor to the transport standards, the RSPCA pressed for improvements in the transport process for farm animals, especially the way animals are handled, the conditions on board the vehicles, and the extent to which animals are provided with water and rest during the process.
All states and territories except for Western Australia have now incorporated the standards under legislation. The RSPCA would also like to see the standards incorporated into quality assurance programs by the livestock and transport industries.
Improving welfare for farm animals shouldn’t stop at the farm gate, the whole chain needs to be considered and transport is a key area for concern when it comes to animal welfare. Join us in this episode to find out more about the complexities of transportation in Australia, and what we can do in the future to improve outcomes for animals during transport.
· Why farm animals are transported in Australia and how this affects them
· What the animal transport legislation in Australia covers
· How animal welfare can be improved in transport