Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals-Regulatory Amendment – Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties
13.0 Overcrowding and Space Requirements
Health of Animals Regulations 147 (1)–(3), 148 (1)-(2)
13.2 Required Outcomes
Every animal is transported in a container or conveyance that provides adequate headroom to permit a full range of normal head movement and sufficient floor space for the animal to maintain its preferred position and to adjust its position in order to protect it from being harmed by other animals and from exposure to excessive heat or cold or other potential harms.
Every animal transported by air, floor space requirements are as per the International Air Transport Association Live Animal Regulations are followed.
Every horse transported by land is loaded and transported in a conveyance with only one deck.
13.3 Guidance to Regulated Parties
Persons involved directly or indirectly in and responsible for the transportation of animals, are required to ensure that animals are able to maintain or adjust their body positions at all times during the entire journey in order to protect them from injury, suffering or death.
Insufficient space during transport can negatively affect animal well-being. Overcrowding predisposes the animal to losing its balance, involuntarily falling and not being able to get up resulting in the animal being trapped underfoot and trampled, causing injury and possibly death. When an animal falls down it may destabilize the others in the group who are then also at risk of falling and injuring themselves.
Additionally, overcrowding may prevent the cooling of the animal's body by restricting air circulation resulting in heat stress and even death, may squeeze animals against the wall of the conveyance that may result in injury to the animal or exposure to extremes of heat or cold, and may limit the animals' ability to reposition themselves in the load during the transportation. Overcrowding may directly cause discomfort due to lateral pressure on the animal by the tightly surrounding animals.
Recommended loading densities and charts are provided in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals: TransportationFootnote 5 for several species (Appendix 2 – Density Charts), and are mentioned in some of the species specific Codes of Practice and in the case of air transport, in the IATA Live Animals Regulations.
The effect of animal size, physical alterations, condition and health status on loading densities:
Physical features of animals, such as horns or wool, can also affect loading densities. In these cases, the recommended loading densities may need to be adjusted to account for the space requirements of animals with horns or wool. Additionally, taller, long and thin animals require more space per animal for a given weight than shorter heavily conditioned animals of the same species.
Note - regarding compromised animals: Loading densities provided in the Transport Code apply to fit, healthy animals in good condition. Unfit animals must not be loaded and compromised animals may require more space.
The effect of temperature on loading densities:
During hot and cold weather, loading densities need to be reduced, i.e. more space should be provided. In hot, humid weather, more space is needed as animals require more ventilation during transport to prevent dangerous levels of heat buildup that may cause suffering, heat stroke and death. In cold weather, animals need more space to be able to move away from cold areas to prevent suffering due to exposure to cold air, frostbite or freezing. Note that heat and condensation buildup can also be a problem during the winter when the trailers are boarded or tarped to protect the animals from the cold. The regulated party is responsible for ensuring proper ventilation during the whole transportation in all weather conditions.
In order to ensure animal welfare during transport, each animal must have sufficient space above its head – including all parts of its head such as ears, horns, antlers – when standing with the head elevated, for a full range of head movement without coming into contact with the container, conveyance roof or cover. In addition, all animals should have sufficient room to stand or lie down during transport without being on top of each other. These conditions allow for adequate ventilation, space requirements and loading density and provide a reasonable level of comfort to the animals in transit.
Exception for poultry; given that poultry squat during transport they are not required to have sufficient room to stand while in the container, however, they must have sufficient headroom to be able to squat.
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