ENCOURAGING FINDINGS ABOUT LONGDISTANCE TRANSPORT
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,”