Is she fit for transport?

Is she fit for transport?
Jenetta Forsyth, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Ngatea & Gordonton

To be considered ‘fit for transport’ a cow must be healthy and able to reach her destination in the same condition as she has started in. A cow showing any signs of disease, unable to bear weight evenly on all four feet, low body condition or showing any abnormal behaviour is not suitable.

In some cases, a vet can write a certificate to allow transport while acknowledging her condition and specifying restrictions to minimise compromise to her welfare on the journey. She must be transported to the nearest works and the vet is likely to specify; reduced pen density, lower deck, last on/first off, straight to slaughter, with herd mates, alone in the pen. The certificate is valid for a maximum of 7 days.

A vet certificate is not a solve-all solution and a vet cannot certify an animal for transport where their welfare is likely to be severely compromised. Conditions unable to be certified include
  • Acute mastitis or other illness
  • Any wound, tumour or injury that is infected or bleeding
  • Ingrown or recently removed horns
  • Cancer eye where the lesion is larger than 2cm, bleeding or infected
  • Lameness where weight can not be held evenly on all four limbs
  • BCS under 3
  • Heavily pregnant cows
If you have any concerns about an animal about to be transported it is best to get a vet to look at them at least a few days in advance so there is no time pressure. In some situations, the vet may need to contact the works to discuss the case or the transport company may need to be notified of (and agree to) the special travel conditions.

Date Added: Thursday, 29th April 2021