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October 26, 2009

Article Points to Human and Animal Welfare Costs of Long-Distance Farm Animal Transport

The Humane Society of the United States

A chapter in the upcoming book Handbook of Disease Outbreaks: Prevention, Detection and Control implicates the long-distance transport of farm animals in the spread of human and animal diseases.

The chapter, "Disease and transport: a costly ticket around the world," was co-authored by Michael Greger, M.D., Humane Society International's director of public health and animal agriculture, along with Sofia Parente, Michael Appleby and Jennifer Lanier of The World Society for the Protection of Animals. It examines the animal and human health implications of transporting animals over long distances and explores measures to limit long-distance transport of animals for slaughter.

The paper concludes that replacement of long-distance, live farm animal transport with a carcass-only trade is "not only necessary but urgent."

Facts

  • More than 60 billion animals are reared for meat, eggs and milk annually worldwide. Most are transported for slaughter, often over long distances, both within and between countries.
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "[t]ransport of livestock is undoubtedly the most stressful and injurious stage in the chain of operations between farm and slaughterhouse."
  • The FAO describes live animal transport as "ideally suited for spreading disease."
  • Given the associated "serious animal and public health problems," the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe has called for the replacement of the long-distance transportation of live animals for slaughter as much as possible by a carcass-only trade.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org. 

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