Load characteristics and the behaviour of beef cattle unloaded for feed, water and rest during long distance transportation in Canada




Flint, Hannah

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University of Guelph


This thesis is an investigation of the characteristics and behaviour of loads of cattle that are unloaded for feed, water and rest at a rest station in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Truck drivers were surveyed as they arrived at the rest station and the cattle were observed as they were unloaded and reloaded to score animal handling (n=129). Behavioural observations were conducted on an additional 53 loads (87 pens) using counts of the number of animals lying, feeding and drinking. A majority of the loads (60.94%) were feeder calves (300-550kg). On average drivers were in transit for 28.2±5.0 hours before stopping and rested for 11.2±2.8 hours. These values are within the maximum and minimum allowed in the current Canadian regulations. Behaviour was not found to be associated with time in transit, but was instead found to be strongly associated with whether the entire truckload was grouped in a single pen.



beef cattle, behaviour, long distance transportation, animal welfare, animal handling