Introduction

pensAn essential part of all livestock systems is the effective, safe and humane handling of animals. 

These guidance notes concentrate on the handling of animals in markets, during loading and unloading for transport and up to the point of slaughter. However, the same principles are also applicable to on-farm movements. During transport, at markets and slaughter, animals are handled by unfamiliar stockmen in unfamiliar environments. Under these circumstances even normally calm animals can become stressed and agitated, making them more difficult to handle than usual. This guide focuses mainly on cattle, sheep and pigs but can also be applied to other commonly farmed animals.

This guide explains the methods available for moving various species, how facilities should be set up and maintained, and highlights the associated animal welfare and operator safety implications. In addition to reading these notes, it is recommended that instruction and training is sought from qualified and experienced livestock handlers. It is also recommended that newly-trained operators work under experienced supervision.

Everyone involved with the handling of livestock has a responsibility for the wellbeing of the animals in their care. All livestock handlers should be familiar with legislation and codes of practice applicable in markets, during transport and up to the point of slaughter.

 

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