Stress your livestock while transporting them and you could end up with unnecessary weight loss, or even contusions or other injuries that could lead to carcass rejections, diseases or even mortality.
Stress during transportation also has a bad impact on meat quality, which will upset your profits over the long run.
According to veterinarians, animals unavoidably lose some weight during transportation since they do not drink or eat during the trip. The main objective, though, is to make sure that they don’t lose weight due to dehydration.
It’s difficult to give a set answer for acceptable weight loss during transportation as you have to take into account the type of animal as well as its condition and age at the start of the journey.
Because they are ruminants, cattle typically have enough food in their stomachs to last two days without eating, according to animal medical professionals.
This is why the regulations are not the same for animals with one stomach, like pigs, which need to have access to fresh water once they have travelled over 50km. Recovery stops will also help to stop intra-cellular dehydration.
In the case of weaners, each stop usually lasts for two weeks, during which the animals are given water, fed, and are vaccinated. The break also lets the rumen adapt to concentrates.
Animals transported over very long distances, like from Namibia or Botswana to South Africa, have to be treated in a different way.
The industry codes specify that sheep and cattle may be transported for no longer than 18 hours, after which they need a break of at least two days before the journey starts again.