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Archivos de Zootecnia

versão impressa ISSN 0004-0592


AVEROS, X. et al. Transport of cattle in Spain: Technical, administrative and welfare aspects according to the destination. Arch. zootec. [online]. 2011, vol.60, n.230, pp.163-173. ISSN 0004-0592.

To obtain a thorough description of how are cattle transported in spain with respect to the journey destination a survey was performed in 2004 and 2005. Information was obtained by means of a 119-parameters questionnaire, and 44 transport operators representative of the sector (27 slaughterhouses, 10 traders, and 7 cattle markets) were interviewed. Over 80% of journeys transported growing-finishing/finished animals, and about 3% of journeys transported both growing-finishing/finished and reproductive animals. With respect to farm transports, slaughter transports loaded in fewer farms (1.2 vs. 1.4 farms; p<0.05) and in most cases animals were not fasted (92.9 vs. 24.3%; p<0.001). slaughter transports were short, 125 km and 2.5 h on average, with farm transport duration being double (p<0.001), although 21% of slaughter transports lasted more than 8 hours, and 1.7% lasted more than 29 hours. Farm journeys transported more animals and stocking densities were higher (p<0.001), although most of drivers affirmed that it was possible to transport more animals in a suitably manner. Only 2.3% of slaughter transports were carried out using 2 drivers, and 80% of slaughter transports made no stops, substantially differing with what was observed in farm transports (p<0.001). The driver participated in the loading and unloading of animals, normally assisted by another person except for the unloading at slaughterhouses (40%). Average loading and unloading times in farm transports were about 60 and 30 minutes respectively, double than slaughter transports (p<0.001), although average loading and unloading time/animal were slightly higher in slaughter transports (3.1 and 1.4 minutes/animal respectively). Transport showed a limited effect on physical integrity of cattle, although a trend towards higher number of deaths and lesions was observed in slaughter transports. Transports were mainly carried out by specialized hauliers under request (60%), with vehicle being owned by the trader in 30.5% of farm transports, and by the farmer in 27% of slaughter transports (p<0.001). Drivers had an average experience of 17 years. Independently form destination; transport companies did not make research activities, with few of them performing training courses (8%). The compliance with a quality scheme was mainly declared by hauliers bound to a slaughterhouse, while load insurance was mainly contracted by traders. A high percentage of drivers declared to know animal welfare legislation, which this is not totally obeyed, and that laws should be closer to real circumstances. Almost half of slaughter transport drivers showed no interest in proposing improvements in current legislation, with proposals mainly being the need to being more informed and a better knowledge on the basis of the transport stops aspect.

Palavras-chave : Mortality; Lesions; Slaughter.

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