The transport of horses for pleasure and commerce occurs frequently in New Zealand. In contrast to commercial livestock transport, most are transported by nonprofessional drivers in vehicles accommodating 2-3 animals; these do not have design standards that specifically address livestock welfare. The study identified if vehicle type and other factors were associated with transport related behavioural problems (TRBPs) during loading and in-transit. An online survey addressing transport practices and TRBPs was distributed throughout the New Zealand horse industry. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified risk factors for TRBPs (P<0.2) during loading and in-transit. Use of a whip or food during loading, feeding en route, travel frequency, and transport vehicle type were risk factors for TRBPs during loading (P<0.02). The ability to assess horse distress, feeding en route, the use of a whip for loading and vehicle type were risk factors for TRBPs in-transit (P<0.03). Commercial transport and transport in large trucks were associated with TRBPs during loading and in-transit respectively. Findings support other published evidence that adverse welfare outcomes for horses may be associated with vehicle types and other factors. Further study is required to differentiate the role of vehicle design or type from horse loading and transport practices in New Zealand.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 78, Lincoln, 92-95, 2018
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