Reduced stocking density and transporting livestock in the cooler hours of the day are some of the strategies transporters can use in hot weather conditions.
Agriculture Victoria livestock welfare compliance program manager Rachael Holmes said transporters should consider a range of factors when planning a journey.
"Transporters should consider their journey route, particularly if having to travel through major cities during times of heavy traffic," Dr Holmes said.
"Any person in charge of an animal during transport, including the consignor, transporter and receiver, must pay particular attention to the time off water to minimise the risk to the welfare of the animals.
"Effective airflow reduces the impact of heat during transport, so transporters should consider the need to stop mid-journey and avoid leaving transport vehicles stationary for extended periods of times."
Dr Holmes said behavioural signs of heat stress in livestock can include increased respiration rate, panting, salivation, listlessness and lethargy.
"If it is necessary to stop, park the vehicle in the shade and at a right angle to the direction of the wind to improve flow between animals," Dr Holmes said.
It is important that transporters familiarise themselves with the signs of heat stress in all species they are transporting and pay particular attention to their behaviour in hot weather.
Producers and transporters should refer to the Australian Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock, to ensure they understand their obligations when presenting livestock for transport or transporting animals.
All people involved in the supply chain have an obligation to ensure livestock in their care are free from pain, suffering or distress.
For further information on heat stress, contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit agriculture.vic.giv.au/transporting-livestock
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