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16 February 2014

Heat stress: A major contributor to poor animal welfare associated with long-haul live export voyages

Recent investigations by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry into high mortalities on live export voyages from Australia to the Middle East during the Northern hemisphere summer suggest that animal welfare may be compromised by heat stress. The live export industry has generated a computer model that aims to assess the risk of heat stress and to contain mortality levels on live export ships below certain arbitrary limits. Although the model must be complied with under Australian law, it is not currently available for independent scientific scrutiny, and there is concern that model and the mandated space allowances are inadequate. This review appraises the relevant literature on heat stress in sheep and cattle, including laboratory studies aimed at mimicking the ambient temperatures and humidity levels likely to be encountered on live export voyages. Animal welfare is likely to be very poor as a result of heat stress in some shipments. The Veterinary Journal Volume 199, Issue 2, February 2014, Pages 223–228
Author/Organization: Caulfield M.P, Cambridge H, Foster S.F., McGreevy P.D
Year: 2013
Where: Australia
Topics: animal welfare/general concepts