New animal transport guidance following Defra consultation

New guidance is available for livestock and poultry farmers as part of industry efforts to ensure high animal welfare during transport.

The guidance follows Defra’s recent response to its welfare in transport consultation, which closed in January.

Live animal exports for slaughter are to be banned, journey times in England and Wales shortened and stricter rules on temperature and headroom in lorries introduced, a joint statement from Defra and the Welsh government confirmed in August.

See also: Live export ban and shorter journeys for livestock confirmed

The new guidance from the NFU covers cattle, sheep and poultry, with advice for farmers and hauliers.

This includes assessing the types of journeys made, the animal’s fitness to travel, loading and unloading animals properly and driver training.

NFU livestock board chairman Richard Findlay said animal welfare was a priority for the union.

“We will continue to work with Defra to find evidence-based solutions that deliver practical and meaningful welfare improvements,” Mr Findlay said.

Thomas Wornham, NFU poultry board chairman, added: “As poultry farmers, our main priority is the health and welfare of our birds, and the poultry sector has invested heavily in improving bird welfare at all stages throughout the supply chain.

“We’ve always maintained that it is the overall quality of the journey that determines animal welfare during transport, and this guidance highlights the important role farmers play in maintaining our high welfare standards.”

The guidance also provides more information on how to deal with issues such as transporting injured and sick animals, transporting casualty animals and emergency slaughter on farm.

NFU members can also download fitness to travel posters.

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said: “I am always extremely proud of our industry’s proactive approach in ensuring we remain at the forefront of animal welfare standards.

“This straightforward guidance, in particular the new sector-specific posters, offer real clarity in outlining the expectations of best practice for all involved in transporting livestock.”