AVMA Amends Horse Transport Policy

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has reinforced its opposition to the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses and other equines by approving a new policy on the humane transport of equines.

The policy, which was proposed by the AVMA animal welfare committee and approved by the executive board on April 12, 2008, states that due to animal welfare and safety concerns, the AVMA opposes the use of double-deck trailers to transport equines. The AVMA previously has supported USDA regulations prohibiting the use of such trailers for transport of horses and other equines to slaughter, and submitted written comments to the USDA on this issue earlier this year.  

The new policy also provides some guidelines on assessing the appropriateness of trailers for equine transport.

Considerations include:

  • Affording sufficient headroom so that horses and other equines can stand with their heads extended to their fullest normal postural height,
  • Providing appropriate ventilation,
  • Ensuring there are no protrusions in the trailer that might cause injury,
  • Confirming that doors and ramps are of sufficient size to allow safe loading and unloading,
  • Ensuring that horses and other equines have appropriate footing and enough space to redistribute their weight as needed should the trailer shift during transport, and
  • Allowing for the segregation of stallions and other aggressive equines.

The complete policy can be accessed at AVMA.org.  

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