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Transport Certificates

Fitness for transport certificates are a requirement for any animal that is not 100%, should you wish to transport it. This is for any type of transport, not just transport for slaughter.

Over the years the rules around these have become more stringent due to reviews of the Animal Welfare Act and to ensure that we meet the Market Access requirements of many of our customers.

There are several key considerations when deciding if it is feasible to issue a certificate for an animal, these include:

  • Animals need to be sent to the closest meat plant. This rule can be frustrating when you are not a client of the closest works, however this is a key rule that needs to be adhered to. Depending on where you live you may have a few options, but in some areas there is only one option. This needs to be arranged before the certificate is issued. We have had multiple instances where clients have crossed out the meat plant listed and replaced it with another. Please be aware that puts you and your vet at risk of a considerable fine.
  • Cancer eye/ewe growths are a common request for certificates. We can issue certificates for growths up to 1cm diameter. Those 1 to 2cm diameter are at the owner’s risk, those more than 2cm diameter are not allowed. This is because they are most likely to have spread to other parts of the body. We cannot send any cattle who have tear staining, are blinking or holding one eye shut.
  • Animals that are between lameness score one to two may be able to be transported depending on the degree of lameness. This includes animals with functional lameness e.g., from injury. To increase the chance of a lame cow being accepted it can be helpful if it has a cowslip applied (depending on the cause of lameness) and can travel with some herd mates. Personally, I will not send a lame cow alone. As a rough rule the cow needs to weight bear evenly on all four feet 80% of the time. Look how your cow stands, if she stands square, she should be fine, if she stands with a hunched back or feet out behind she is less likely to go. We can no longer send animals that have healed fractures or who sustained other significant injuries when they were young, unless they received veterinary treatment at the time.
  • We cannot send animals within a week of dehorning. Animals cannot have ingrown horns or broken/bleeding or discharging horns. Animals with horns outside of their ears struggle to get up the race and can get trapped in the stun box. Smaller horns are easier to deal with than large horns so if you have horned animals I recommend getting them dehorned prior to a year old.
  • Body condition score is important. Very skinny animals are no longer suitable to be transported unless it is for animal welfare, and they are going to significantly better feed.
  • Other issues such as discharging udders, active mastitis, old eczema lesions that are not 100% healed and other skin lesions are not acceptable.

MPI has developed a very useful app Fit for transport, which outlines what is and isn’t allowed. I recommend downloading it. There are many cases where we cannot decide if the animal will or will not be ok for a certificate. It often comes down the meat plant vet and what they see when the animal gets off the truck. Many of us have received grumpy phone calls and emails from these vets and this can make us a bit gun shy about issuing certs for borderline cases. With that in mind it is now best for both parties (farmer and vet) if we can take a video/or photo and send it to the vet for feedback.This also means that should the animal’s condition considerably on transport there is also proof that it was ok when the certificate was issued. Please be aware there is a seven-day time frame on issued certificates.