With the high demand of farm meat in countries such as Kenya, many people have found it a lucrative business to venture in. Unfortunately, farm animals such as chicken, pigs and cows are on the receiving end of insensitive practices such as poor live transportation.
Lack of awareness
Most farmers are unaware of existing laws that address this aspect of their work that causes stress to animals hence affecting productivity. On Kenyan roads, you’ll mostly find ‘the probox’, a 5-seater hatchback vehicle, common for transporting goods and people carrying out this discouraging act.
Long distance transportation of live animals across regions is an exercise that must be done within the laid-out laws and regulations to cub animal suffering and a legal measure to prevent the spread of diseases.
The legal requirements for live transportation
In Kenya, the law requires that you obtain a transport permit from a veterinary unit and a ‘no objection’ letter from the designated destination. However, this is not the reality on the ground.
Before receiving a movement permit, the veterinary unit must inspect the vessel to be used for transportation and ensure it meets the safety standards. Sometimes vaccination of the animal is necessary especially if it is being moved from a region where a certain disease is rampant or an area that has had an outbreak of a certain disease.
Animals welfare according to the Kenyan law
Animal welfare is stipulated in our Kenyan constitution in CAP 360 which allows for serious disciplinary actions in a court of law against inhumane handling of animals during transportation. It also states that the owner of the animal being transported should ensure that it is adequately fed and watered at suitable intervals during transport including the period between loading and offloading.
In addition, it highlights that the vessels used for transportation should not be too confined and that transportation of unfit animals i.e. pregnant or sick animals is highly punishable.
‘’A person who transports an animal by sea, air, road or rail, or who causes or permits an animal to be so transported, in a way likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal, shall be guilty of an offence,’’ states the Kenyan constitution.
The other day, I witnessed a live mother pig being transported on a boda boda (Motorbike) and clearly, the animal was very uncomfortable, considering its weight, its surface area and even that of the boda boda seat. This shows that Kenyans are still lagging behind in compliance to animal welfare laws.
World Animal Protection’s Position on transportation of live animals
World animal protection has developed new guidelines on transportation of live animals;
- Long distance transportation of animals for slaughter beyond the nearest slaughter house should not occur but this has not been adhered to in Kenya..
- Live animals should not be transported for more than eight hours as it subjects them to problems such as; chronic stress, exhaustion, excess heat/cold, injury or even death, pain, hunger and thirst and sometimes inadequate ventilation.
- World Animal Protection believes that the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter, or further fattening, should be replaced by a meat/ skin only trade.
- Farmers should consider shorter distances in the case of transportation of live animals
- Suitable transportation vehicles should be used during transportation
- Humane handling methods should be adopted during transportation