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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Improving Loading Facilities and Methods to Minimize Stress on Animals during Transport from Farm to Abattoir

Gebresenbet, Girma; Bosona, Techane Gari; Feleke, Mulualem; Bobobee, Emmanuel


Transport and handlings of slaughter animals are associated with series of stressful activities which compromise thewelfare of animals. The main objective of this study was to improve loading methods and facilities to minimize the prevailingadverse effects on animal welfare during transport. The study was conducted using cattle from animal farms in Uppsala, Sweden.Data were gathered through field measurements. The inclination of loading ramp was measured using inclinometer while floorquality was evaluated using Skid Resistance Tester. The effect of using loading dock was studied. Continuous measurements of heartrate were made on 349 animals using POLAR Vantage equipment, before transport, during transport and unloading. Vocalization,refusal to leave original place, defecation, urination, refusal to move forward towards a gate, slipping, running away and falling werealso observed and recorded as indicators of behavioural alterations during loading activities. The size of observed ramp angles in thefarms ranged from 5° to 29°. The heart rate measurement result indicated that loading, unloading and confinement in the stunningbox were the most stressful activities. During loading, heart rate elevated by about 42.5% when the animals were forced to leave theiroriginal place and turn 180 °C, by about 39% when animals were forced to move to the loading gate and by about 75% when animalswere forced to climb the ramp. The result showed that heart rate increased significantly (P ≤ 0.007) with an increase of ramp angle.During loading, when loading dock was used, ramp angle was about zero degree and the increase in heart rate was marginal (rangingfrom 10% to 23%), while the figure was about 75% without loading dock. About 72% of loose animals and 89% of tied animalsstrongly refused to climb the ramp and enter the vehicle. Regarding floor quality, the rubber mat had the highest friction coefficientof 0.72 ± 0.024 BPN (British Pendulum Number) and concrete slates had the lowest friction coefficient (0.39 ± 0.028 BPN).Incidence of slippery was observed more in tied animals than in loose animals. About 5.7% of observed animals (280 animals) hadelongated and curled hooves.


Sweden, animal transport, animal welfare, heart rate, loading

Published in

Journal of agricultural science and technology. A
2012, Volume: 2, number: 6A, pages: 784-799