Transport of live animals

Part of: Animal disease diagnostic services

Area of Expertise:

Procedures for the transportation of live animals

The Welfare of Animals during Transport Order (Northern Ireland) 1994

Relating to the transport of casualty farm animals (cattle, goats, sheep & pigs), also applies to the transport of diseased animals to laboratories. 

An unfit animal may only be transported if this does not cause unnecessary suffering. The severity of the animal’s condition and the risk of transportation causing further pain or unnecessary suffering will determine whether or not the animal is fit to travel. The animal’s welfare must always be paramount when deciding whether or not it should be transported. The following guidelines should be borne in mind:

  1. An animal which is incapable of rising and which requires lifting onto a vehicle should be euthanased before transportation.
  2. An animal which cannot bear weight on one or more limbs (for instance, due to a fracture, dislocation or other severe injury) should not be transported.
  3. It is important to assess whether or not an animal which, on departure, appears fit to travel will arrive at the laboratory in a similar state. If in doubt, euthanase prior to transportation.
  4. If, in exceptional circumstances, a live animal is required to make a diagnosis, please discuss with the duty pathologist at VSD prior to transportation.
  5. Please remember that in providing a letter of submission, veterinary surgeons may be certifying that a live animal is fit to be transported.
  6. Information booklets produced by the British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation, providing guidelines on the welfare of casualty sheep and pigs, are available from VSD on request.
  7. Live animals can only be accepted Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:00pm.