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Doctoral thesis, 2015

Effects of handling on animals welfare during transport and marketing

Bulitta, Sorri Fufa


Animals can be transported either by trekking or by vehicle, during which they are subjected to different types and levels of stressor. Some key factors affecting animal welfare during handling and transport are mixing of unfamiliar animals, handling procedures, driving methods, stocking density, journey length, vehicle design, animal standing orientation, loading and unloading facilities and transport by walking. Much important research has been done on animal transport and welfare, but many questions remained to be addressed, particularly regarding the effects of transport time and length, vibration, climate conditions and handling during transport and marketing. This thesis investigated the effects of handling on animal welfare during transport and marketing. The main methods employed were comprehensive field measurements to collect data, observations, video filming for behavioural studies, interviews with animal handlers and heart rate modelling. The results showed that during loading for transport, animal heart rate rose exponentially from its mean resting value to a peak value and declined during a recovery period. Driving speed, road conditions and the standing orientation of animals had an effect on levels of vibration. The three most common resonance frequencies identified were 1.3, 5.1 and 12.6 Hz, with a second peak at 23 Hz in the vertical direction on a tarmac road at a driving speed of 85 km/h. In pig and cattle transport, blood cortisol level was elevated during short transport time. Concentrations of lactate and Creatine kinase and animal behaviour were positively correlated with transport time. During transport of animals by trekking from farm to feeder market and on to regional market in Ethiopia, the number of animals that died, were injured and were stolen was 7.6%, 6.9% and 2.8%, respectively. The overall conclusion from the thesis, based on transport conditions, vibration levels, animal behaviour, stress hormones and pH24 values, was that handling and transport had a negative effect on animal welfare.


animal welfare; transport time; stress parameters

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2015, number: 2015:117
ISBN: 978-91-576-8432-5, eISBN: 978-91-576-8433-2
Publisher: Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Transport Systems and Logistics
    Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

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