October 26, 2009
A chapter in the upcoming book Handbook of Disease Outbreaks: Prevention, Detection and Control implicates the long-distance transport of farm animals in the spread of human and animal diseases.
The chapter, "Disease and transport: a costly ticket around the world," was co-authored by Michael Greger, M.D., Humane Society International's director of public health and animal agriculture, along with Sofia Parente, Michael Appleby and Jennifer Lanier of The World Society for the Protection of Animals. It examines the animal and human health implications of transporting animals over long distances and explores measures to limit long-distance transport of animals for slaughter.
The paper concludes that replacement of long-distance, live farm animal transport with a carcass-only trade is "not only necessary but urgent."
- More than 60 billion animals are reared for meat, eggs and milk annually worldwide. Most are transported for slaughter, often over long distances, both within and between countries.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "[t]ransport of livestock is undoubtedly the most stressful and injurious stage in the chain of operations between farm and slaughterhouse."
- The FAO describes live animal transport as "ideally suited for spreading disease."
- Given the associated "serious animal and public health problems," the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe has called for the replacement of the long-distance transportation of live animals for slaughter as much as possible by a carcass-only trade.
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