About this Research Topic
During recent years, modern livestock production is characterized by increasing herd sizes and changes in the slaughter industry towards fewer and larger units. As a consequence, the needed transport distances from farm to slaughter are increasing. In addition, the use of multisite production, where animals are not kept on the same site from birth/hatching until slaughter, is becoming standard across the livestock animal species. These changes have led to a marked increase in animal transport – nationally as well as internationally. However, within animal transport and related management, research and development in central aspects such as biosecurity, animal health and welfare, consumer opinion and education of the involved professional groups have not received comparable attention.
This Research Topic covers all livestock species and types of animals and all types of transport (road, ferry, air, train and short/long distance). However, so far the vast majority of research has been directed at market weight animal categories, whereas more vulnerable groups such as cull animals or juveniles have received much less attention. Regardless of the purpose of the journey – export as breeding animals, fattening at another site or slaughter - the typical pre-arrival logistic chain consists of a series of consecutive potential stressors experienced by the animals, why numerous aspects underlie this research topic, some more technical (e.g. related to the need for sufficient ventilation), some more related to housing (such as design of partitions and drinkers), but also aspects related to human-animal interactions (such as training, handling and management). Importantly, even though the term transport covers only the time spent in the vehicle, several elements of the pre-arrival logistic chain are crucial for the health and welfare of the animals during and after transport – such as on-farm handling, mixing with conspecifics, a stay in pick –up facilities (for reasons of biosecurity), lairage etc. All these are included in the Research Topic as well.
This Research Topic aims to collect original research and review articles, as well as opinions and perspectives. Potential authors are welcome to submit articles on uni- as well as interdisciplinary aspects of the research topic including applied ethics and legal matters. We welcome contributions providing evidence to support legislators. The contributions in this Research Topic will increase our understanding of consequences of farm animal transport and the related management and aim to pave the way for new development within this area.
Image courtesy K. Dahl-Pedersen, Aarhus University
Keywords: Animal Welfare, Livestock, Pre-slaughter logistic chain, Stress
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