Livestock hauliers have been reminded to take extra care when transporting animals during warm weather to avoid causing unnecessary suffering.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland said there are a number of steps hauliers should follow to avoid distressing livestock, including:
- handling livestock as little as possible;
- inspecting animals frequently for signs of heat stress;
- making sure all animals have access to enough fresh water or electrolyte solutions;
- reducing loading density by 30%, especially in warmer parts of the vehicle such as the front or upper decks;
- increasing internal height above the animals to maximise air movement;
- using lightly-coloured trailers;
- spraying the vehicle with water to cool it down, and parking in the shade with the fan ventilation on;
- considering transporting animals at night or avoiding the warmest part of the day.
It also encouraged operators to plan their journeys carefully to avoid delays such as road works, traffic jams, diversions and border crossings.
It said exposure to high temperatures and humidity is a major threat to animal welfare and is especially serious during the summer months.