As the summer months approach, many horse owners will be hitting the road for some type of equine related activity. There are several things that owners can do to ensure that their horses remain safe during all aspects of the journey.
One of the most important things that horse owners can do to ensure that their horse remains healthy is to keep them current on all vaccinations and keep them on a regular de-worming program. It is very important to give vaccines early enough so that they will be able to induce the proper immune response before the trip. Giving a vaccine just a few days before the journey will not give the vaccine enough time to properly work on the immune system and the horse will still be susceptible to the disease that the vaccine is designed to prevent.
During the trip, it is important to make sure that the horse is comfortable inside the trailer. Most horse owners will bed the trailer with shavings and give their horse a good supply of hay to eat on the journey. It is also important to offer the horse water frequently during the trip.
Once you have arrived at the final destination, it is important to carefully inspect the stall or pen in which the horse will be kept. It is important to look for loose metal, nails and other materials that could possibly harm the horse. If possible, it is a good idea to sweep the stall and remove any feces that may be on the ground or stuck to the stall panels. This will keep the horse safe and hopefully prevent the horse from contracting any illnesses that the previous horse might have had. It is also important to use your own buckets and feed so prevent the spreading of illnesses and to make the horse feel more comfortable.
After returning home from the journey, it is important to keep the horse separated from any other horses on the property for a few days, ideally two weeks. This will prevent the horses that live on the property from contracting any diseases or illnesses that the traveling horse may have carried home. It is also a good idea to take the traveling horses temperature twice a day to determine if they are becoming ill because fever is often the first sign of an illness.
Livestock is one of the most difficult types of item to transport. Unlike other types of cargo, each different species of livestock will have their own special requirements that must be met to insure that each animal arrives at it destination in pristine condition. One thing that the shipping industry is doing to make sure that all of the standards are met is to have training seminars for livestock transporters.
January 25, 2008 was the second time that Alberta Farm Animal Care hosted a training course for livestock transporters. This second training course was held due to the high response from people in the livestock transportation industry. There were many companies that were not able to attend the first training session that was held May 18, 2008.
According to a statement from Alberta Farm Animal Care, the Certified Livestock Transporter (CLT) course is a comprehensive course that focuses on many different aspects of the livestock transporting industry. One of the main focuses of the training program is to focus on animal safety. The program is able to offer advice to anyone who will be in contact with the animals during the shipping process including truckers, receivers and shippers.
One of the great things about the training course is that there are breakout sessions that will focus on each individual species and the different factors that are involved with transporting each individual species. Each of the breakout sessions will focus on either cattle, horses, hogs, sheep or poultry. The great thing about having individual sessions for each species is that haulers and transporters who only deal with one species of animal will not have to spend several hours listening to information that does not pertain to their business.
It is estimated that on any given day, there are about 480 trucks hauling pigs, sheep, bison, elk, cattle, horses and poultry in Canada. One can only assume that these numbers are even higher in other parts of the world. By providing training and certification classes, Alberta Farm Animal Care is helping to create a higher standard that is sure to be seen not only in Canada, but in other areas of the world as well. By providing the necessary training to every sector of the Canadian livestock industry, the CLT program will be helping to ensure that everyone involved in the livestock industry has the necessary skills to safely transport animals.
The process of loading livestock can be a very stressful one on the animals because they are going to be exposed to many unfamiliar sounds and surroundings. Many of the animals will never have seen these things before and will be very frightened. Planning the loading procedure well in advance will allow adequate time for the livestock to be loaded quietly and with care. This will allow the animals to be loaded in a way that will reduce their stress level and it will not cause them any injury. One thing to remember is that if you are loading the animals at night, you should use some source of artificial lighting to illuminate the surroundings and the loading ramp. This will allow you to see better and make loading the animals much easier.
There are several methods that are currently used to assist in loading livestock and they include:
- Making use of the behavioral and group characteristics of the particular species.
- Electric prods. These types of devices should be approved for use and should only be powered by batteries or dynamo. Their use should be restricted to the minimum that is necessary to complete loading. They should never be used on young animals or horses.
- A length of cane with a short strap of leather or canvas attached (called flappers) or metallic rattles are ideal because they encourage the livestock to move in response to sound.
- Well trained dogs are also useful to assist in loading livestock. You should muzzle dogs that are known to bite and only use the number of dogs that are needed to complete the task.
When you are loading, it is important to make sure that the doors to the transport vehicle are properly aligned with the loading ramp to ensure the smooth movement of livestock. This will ensure that there are no injuries to the animals and it will also minimize bruising.
It is also important to remember that different species of animals should be separated from one another during transport. For example, sheep and goats should not be permitted to travel together.
All loading procedures should be supervised by experienced stockmen and supervisors to ensure that spectators do not interfere with the smooth loading of the animals. The driver who will be transporting the animals should also be provided with the name and phone number of the owner or stock agent in case of delays or injuries that would require emergency actions.