Evaluating short (under 8 h) transport journeys of sheep in the UK in terms of welfare plus environmental and economic consequences

CA Weeks, P Statham, SN Brown, SL Lambton, A Angus, TG Knowles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

Abstract

The UK has approximately 33 million sheep and has evolved a unique system of production which makes efficient use of pasture on highland, upland and lowland. This results in a complex supply chain with numerous, predominantly short (under 8 hour), journeys between different types of pasture and to slaughter. The journeys vary considerably, from a simple movement of a single group of animals from one point to another, to a trip involving multiple pick-ups and a stop at a market or collection point before arrival at the final destination. The aim of this study is to quantify the number and different types of short journeys which sheep may undergo during marketing in the UK. It will not only measure the impact of these differing types of journey and marketing system on the welfare of the sheep, but will also concurrently evaluate the environmental and economic consequences of different short journey types for sheep. Results are not yet available, but the approaches are outlined below. 1) to measure welfare, data will be collected on the behaviour and physiology of 1500 sheep finishing their 150 journeys at slaughterhouses. Analysis will indicate the relative effects of journey variables such as live auction markets, multiple pick-ups, journey duration, weather, age, sex, breed, etc. on the welfare outcomes. 2) The frequency with which the different journey types occur will be determined from records of all sheep movements held in the Animal Movement Licensing System (AMLS2). With supplementary information, this will produce a summary of the movements occurring in the UK to place the welfare measurements into context. 3) A conceptual framework of sheep transport and market systems will be developed which identifies: • the stakeholders in the transport process • the different purposes of movements • points where financial costs are incurred, • the resulting environmental emissions and • the resources that are consumed. Using this, together with data from AMLS2 and follow up interviews with hauliers and auctioneers to establish additional costs, it should be possible to determine the costs of transporting sheep over different journey lengths and with different vehicle types. Finally the information will be combined to allow the costs and benefits to animal welfare of the differing parts of supply chains to be compared with the environmental and economic costs and benefits. Acknowledgement This study is supported by Defra (AW0943)
Translated title of the contributionEvaluating short (under 8 h) transport journeys of sheep in the UK in terms of welfare plus environmental and economic consequences
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Advances in the Welfare of Livestock at Slaughter. HSA Centenary International Symposium, Portsmouth, UK
PublisherHumane Slaughter Association
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Name and Venue of Event: HSA Centenary International Symposium, Portsmouth, UK
Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Recent Advances in the Welfare of Livestock at Slaughter
Conference Organiser: Humane Slaughter Association

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