ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Sponsor message

Choose consistent, reliable, and safe heat for farrowing and nursery pigs with Stanfield heat mats.

Animal transport: a shared responsibility

The OIE presents their latest discussion from the 2nd OIE Animal Welfare Global Forum which focused on livestock transport.

1 May 2019, at 11:13am

The Forum is a key activity of the OIE Global Animal Welfare Strategy which was adopted at the 85th OIE General Session in 2017. The theme of this year’s Forum focused on ‘Animal transport: a shared responsibility’ with the objective to provide a platform for the open and transparent exchange of ideas, experiences and specific knowledge on the welfare of animals during transport by land, sea or air and development of proposals to improve the implementation of relevant OIE international Standards. Forty participants representing OIE Members, international organisations, industry, NGOs and civil society attended this forum.

The importance of discussing the welfare of animals during transport

Transport is an integral part of the life of animals – whether they are being transported for food, sports, research or leisure. Thousands of animals are transported every year throughout the world bringing about important challenges related to their health and welfare. An understanding of behaviour patterns of animals and appropriate handling techniques are some of the guiding principles for transport to ensure minimal adverse effects.

The welfare of animals during transport is of paramount importance and is the joint responsibility of all the actors involved, including animal owners and business agents, transport operators, drivers, pilots, captains of vessels, transport regulators and national Veterinary Services. In her opening remarks, OIE Director General, Dr Monique Eloit, highlighted the importance of stakeholder participation and observance of the OIE Standards in the transport of animals. This was followed by a keynote speech from Professor Clive Phillips on the welfare of sheep during sea transport in which Professor Phillips stressed that the quality and the success of transport is in the hands of all those who participate in it.

Two plenary sessions covered topics related to the implementation of the OIE Standards on animal welfare standards during transport such as the challenges, the involvement of national veterinary services, and the role of civil society and the industry in raising awareness of its importance. The role of OIE partners, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in providing mechanism to facilitate standards implementation was also highlighted. After the plenary sessions, participants were divided into Working Groups to consider the three means of transport addressed in the OIE Codes: sea, land and air transport and to discuss current challenges and areas for improvement.

OIE Deputy Director General Dr Matthew Stone summarised the key points raised during the working group sessions which included:

  • the need to clearly identify the overall responsible entity along the transportation chain;
  • the role of effective communication and coordination among those responsible to reduce the risk of animal welfare failures;
  • the need for support to develop regulatory frameworks focusing on “Good regulatory practices” to avoid difficulties in the implementation; and
  • the importance of having a multidisciplinary approach, when developing animal welfare policies, which complement the use of animal welfare science.

Dr Eloit thanked participants for their contribution to the discussions during the Forum and highlighted that the next steps for the OIE would be to take the outcomes of the Forum and start a process of internal discussion with the view to develop a plan to update the chapters on the welfare of animals during transport in line with the latest scientific developments.

Background of OIE standards on animal welfare during transport

In 1982, the OIE adopted recommendations in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code for animal welfare during transport by air. This was followed by chapters on transport by land and sea in 1998. The latest revisions were made in 2008 for the chapter on transport by land, and in 2011 for the chapters on transport by air and sea. The OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code also includes a chapter on the transport of farmed fish, which covers all three means of transport. This chapter was first adopted in 2009 and last amended in 2012.

Know more about OIE international Standards for transport of animals