All animals in New Zealand that are transported must be fit to do so. This means the animal must be free from injury and lameness, have no signs of disease, have no abnormal behaviour or physical abnormalities and be a suitable body condition score. This is to ensure that animal welfare would not be compromised during the journey.
However, in some cases an exception to the above criteria can be allowed if a vet has certified the animal fit for transport.
If a vet declares an animal fit for transport, despite the abnormalities found on examination, they may need to impose some conditions on its travel in order for it to arrive at the works safely.
Common conditions include:
Direct to slaughter premises, reduced pen density, lower deck only, herd mates, last on and first off and other conditions the vet sees fit to ensure that the animal arrives at the slaughter premises in a state that was similar to when viewed on farm. If a vet has issued you certification for an animal make sure you pass these conditions on when booking the truck.
Other things to note are a vet certification will only last 7 days from the time of its issue and the animal must be sent to the nearest slaughter premises unless the vet has arranged otherwise.
Reasons animals are unable to be transported include:
- Ingrown horns
- Horns that protrude past the ears or are likely to injure other animals during transport
- Animals that have been dehorned or had any painful husbandry procedure performed within the last 7 days
- Any injury or wound that is bleeding or discharging i.e. photosensitivity with active bleeding or infection
- Active clinical mastitis cows
- Cows with retained membranes, prolapsed rectum or uterus
- Cancer eyes >2cm diameter OR that isn’t confined to the eye
- Grade 3 lameness
- Cows with a BCS less than 2.5
- Cows heavily pregnant that are likely to calve during transport
If the animal is unable to be transported options include;
- Vet treatment (i.e. enucleation of a cancer eye, dehorning animals with ingrown horns etc)
- Home kill
- Pet food
If you have any doubts regarding if an animal is fit for transport give the clinic a call to discuss with a vet or arrange a visit.