Effects of inadequate transport conditions on the product

29 May 2020

Since Meatco’s world-class products fetch a significant premium in carefully chosen markets globally, the company has a responsibility to minimise injuries and producer risks in terms of insurance claims, while maximising producer returns. 

To prevent the delivery of injured animals to the abattoir, Meatco urges producers and transporters to adhere to the following requirements when transporting animals on double-deck trucks and trailers:

  • Fix grids to the floor of the loading compartment of double-deck trucks and trailers to prevent animals from slipping; and fix removable grids to the floor using at least U-bolts. It should be noted that loose grids can cause serious injuries.
  • Ensure the slope between the top and bottom compartment is not steep and slippery to prevent injuries should animals jump, slip or fall on top of each other.
  • Inspect the floors, grids, sides, gates and the loading ramps per compartment on double-deck trucks and trailers prior to loading animals.
  • Ensure there are no sharp, protruding objects or holes on the floors and sides of double-deck trucks and trailers that can injure animals.
  • Consider the number of animals loaded per compartment. There must be enough space for the animals to turn around and move during off-loading.
  • Ensure the compartment is high enough for animals to stand freely in a normal position.
  • Ensure that the openings between different compartments (in double deck trucks) are of an appropriate/sufficient height to allow animals to enter or leave without injuring themselves.
  • Do not load wild animals in the same compartment with domesticated animals, and use dividers within double-deck trucks and trailers.
  • Do not chain or tie animals to truck or trailer rails as this causes discomfort and unnecessary injuries. This is against animal health and welfare protocols.
  • Transporters, monitor animals at regular intervals during transportation to avoid animals trampling on each other, causing potentially serious injuries.

Many animals sustain bruises, injuries and some even die before arriving at the abattoir. This downgrades the meat and hinders Meatco from obtaining quality meat that meets required standards to export to our premium markets.

For producers to deliver top quality animals, they spend much time, money and expertise preparing suitable slaughter cattle for the market. Therefore, it is Meatco’s duty to sensitise producers on how to minimise financial losses before slaughter.

Apart from adhering to these requirements, it is crucial that producers ensure animal welfare on the farm and throughout the journey to the abattoir.

In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, producers need to take into account the following aspects during loading and transportation of animals to Meatco’s export abattoir:

  • Load animals from the same establishment together to minimise infighting and to reduce unnecessary injuries.
  • Producers, avoid delivering weak or lean animals to the export abattoir to avoid them being destroyed.

Meatco thanks producers and transporters for their cooperation and understanding regarding animal health and welfare protocols, European Union requirements and transportation regulations. Furthermore, to protect Meatco’s export status, adherence to these requirements remains paramount.