Are regulations addressing farm animal welfare issues during live transportation fit for purpose? A multi-country jurisdictional check

Format of work:

Journal Article

Event presented at / Journal Name:

Royal Society Open Science

Speaker / Contact Author's Name:

Benjamin Lecorps

Speaker / Contact Author's E-mail Address:

  • Research aim:

    Using the recent peer-reviewed literature, we identified four major risk factors associated with live animal transportation (fitness for transport, journey duration, climatic conditions and space allowances) and explored how regulations were structured to prevent animal welfare issues in five English-speaking Western jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the EU and the USA).

  • Background:

    Growing animal welfare concerns have pushed some jurisdictions to strengthen regulations addressing live farm animal transportation, but whether they provide satisfactory levels of protection for animals remains to be shown.

  • Approach:

    All legally binding federal regulations were systematically reviewed and compared. Whether these rules were fit for purpose was assessed using the relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature.

  • Key finding:

    Our findings indicate the majority of regulations in most jurisdictions are often insufficient or too vague to be deemed fit for purpose. All five jurisdictions fall short in guaranteeing adequate protection and even the most precise regulations are often out of touch with recent scientific evidence.

  • Industry or policy relevance:

    Our results have strong policy relevance as they highlight the gaps in the current regulations and how to address them. For instance, our comparative analysis showed that fitness for transport is a common issue and that Canada has by far the most comprehensive piece of legislation on this point that could be used by other countries to improve their own. Our paper provide a set of key policy recommendations that would improve significantly the welfare of farm animals being transported.

  • Route for practical application:

    We explore key policy changes that could provide strengthened protection to farm animals being transported. These include: - Clearly defining what makes an animal unfit for transport - Include a 'vulnerable' category for animals who would benefit from stricter rules when transported (e.g. transported for shorter journeys) - Define absolute maximum journey durations - Banning live animal export - Setting up clear and species-specific minimum and maximum temperature/humidity thresholds - Setting up clear and species-specific space allowances

  • Confidence in findings and next steps towards realising impact:



Part of this work was funded by the Humane Slaughter Association.

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Cite this article:Duval E, Lecorps B, vonKeyserlingk MAG. 2024 Are regulationsaddressing farm animal welfare issues during livetransportation fit for purpose? A multi-countryjurisdictional check.R. Soc. Open Sci.11: 231072.