Animal Transport: A Shared Responsibility

The Second OIE Animal Welfare Global Forum was held 11-12 April 2019 in Paris where the IPC was represented by Timothy Burnside, global manager welfare and compliance, Aviagen Group.
With the theme, “Animal Transport: A Shared Responsibility,” the forum provided a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge on the welfare of animals during transport by land, sea or air. 
OIE established the forums to further its global animal welfare strategy (GAWS), which includes four pillars:  

  • Development of animal welfare standards
  • Capacity building and education
  • Communication with governments, organizations, Veterinary Services, educational institutions and the public
  • Implementation of animal welfare standards and policies
The forums bring together members of the animal welfare research community, the global animal welfare movement and the global animal-source food sector to provide transparent debate to support the development and implementation of animal welfare standards.
Among the April forum’s presentations was an overview of the EU Animal Transport Guides project by Nancy De Briyne, deputy director, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE). She emphasized the wide range of countries involved in the project and the roadshows being used to disseminate information to end users on animal welfare during transport.
Thousands of animals, including poultry, are transported daily within Europe and to third countries for slaughter, fattening and breeding. A consortium of 16 partners has developed Guides to Good and Best Practice as a European Commission, DG Sante pilot project.
Julia Havenstein of Animals’ Angels represented the International Coalition for Animal Welfare to talk about the role of animal welfare protection organizations in improving animal welfare in transport operations. It was interesting to note that in her presentation she stated that her organization advocates a ban on transport by road for journeys starting inside the EU but finishing outside the EU.
Coen van Wagenberg, senior scientist, Wageningen Economic Research, presented information based on intercountry movements within the EU recorded in the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), the European Commission's multilingual online management tool for all sanitary requirements on intra-EU trade and importation of animals, semen and embryo, food, feed and plants.
He reported that 90 percent of all the animals moved were poultry – mostly day-old chicks and mature birds being transported to the processor. He explained that the cost of moving tends to be related to the value of the animal at the end location (e.g. value of spent hen in Poland compared to Netherlands).
Three working groups met and brought separate reports to the general session on the transport of animals by sea, land and air. Their discussions were guided by questions aimed at developing a common understanding of how the supply chain works in live animal transport and identifying animal welfare issues and opportunities throughout the whole supply chain.
Burnside participated in a working group focused on the transport of animals by air. It was clear that there are more “actors” in the process compared to the other methods of transport, with the majority of them operating within the airport. Additionally that this route of transport is used for animals with greatest value whether that is financial (e.g. racehorses) or sentimental (e.g. pets).
All three groups came back with similar responses to the questions posed to them; in terms of the need for good communication, training, planning and an understandable framework to work with. On the topic of training there were common themes for the requirement at all levels of both the individuals handling/transporting the animals and the regulatory authorities. It was also suggested that there was a job for the OIE to make it clearer the scope of animal welfare within its remit since it is not in the name of the organization.
It is worth noting that the ISO Standard for Animal Welfare Management (ISO/TS 34700:2016) was mentioned by the OIE only during the introduction and the summing up at the end. It was not mentioned by any of the other presenters throughout the day. Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment systems were only referenced during a presentation by Renee Willis describing on-ship assessments of cattle.