EN­COUR­AG­ING FIND­INGS ABOUT LONGDIS­TANCE TRANS­PORT

EQUUS - - Medicalfro­nt -

trans­ported in higher den­sity, and of­ten th­ese horses are not tamed and have no travel ex­pe­ri­ence.”

To gather data more re­flec­tive of sport and plea­sure horses, Padalino and fel­low re­searchers re­viewed the records of a com­mer­cial trans­porta­tion com­pany that reg­u­larly moves horses be­tween the east and west coasts of Aus­tralia. In­for­ma­tion was pro­vided on all 1,650 horses the com­pany trans­ported along the same route from April 2013 to April 2015.

“The trip con­sisted of four stages,” says Padalino. “Syd­ney to Mel­bourne [10 hours], Mel­bourne to Ade­laide [eight and a half hours], Ade­laide to Kal­go­or­lie [24 hours] and Kal­go­or­lie to Perth [six hours]. Af­ter each stage, horses were given a 12-hour rest pe­riod. The to­tal du­ra­tion of travel was ap­prox­i­mately 85 hours with ap­prox­i­mately 49 hours in tran­sit and 36 hours for rest stops.”

At the col­lec­tion sta­ble and rest points, horses were in­di­vid­u­ally housed in walk­out rubber-lined sta­bles and/ or pad­docks that were used only for horses in tran­sit. Padalino adds that the trans­porta­tion com­pany was well­re­spected and well-run, fol­low­ing guide­lines pro­vided by the Aus­tralian code of live­stock trans­porta­tion.

The data showed that 97.2 per­cent of the horses ar­rived at their desti­na­tion with no signs of dis­ease or in­jury. Among the few horses who did have prob­lems, the most com­mon were res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness (27 per­cent), gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues (27 per­cent), fever (19 per­cent) and in­juries (15 per­cent). There were four trans­porta­tion-re­lated deaths, mak­ing the over­all death rate .24 per­cent.

Horses were more likely to hurt them­selves in the early hours of the trip. “In­juries are of­ten as­so­ci­ated with mis­be­hav­iors, such as re­fus­ing to load or kick­ing in the truck,”

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