Improving horse welfare at transport: definition of good practices through a Delphi procedure

S. Messori, W. Ouweltjes, Kathalijne Visser, P. Dalla Villa, H.A.M. Spoolder, W.H.M. Baltussen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Slaughter horse transportation is a reality involving thousands of animals every year, and it might have detrimental effects on horse health and welfare. Despite the existence of overarching rules governing animal welfare during transport (i.e. EC Regulation 1/2005), issues with the direct enforcement of the Regulation
still exist. In this scenario, the importance of the application of Good Practices (GP) is paramount. Although GP exist, these are often not shared with the community and consensus about them is lacking, making their implementation sparse. In order to obtain GP being agreed by all operators in the sector, a Delphi study was carried out, involving stakeholders (e.g. transporters, NGOs, abattoir, vets) from different countries. The procedure aimed to identify those transport aspects that, if not well managed, would have a major impact on horse welfare, and to define GP that would improve such activities. During Phase 1, participants ranked (on a 1-10 scale) a list of 38 main transport aspects, and drafted a first list of GP that would improve each one of them. Four email rounds followed to reach an agreement on the proposed practices. Scores assigned to transport aspects were weighted to obtain a standardised index score, on the basis of which three main aspects to be targeted were identified: fitness to travel, transport vehicle design and maintenance, and appropriate training.
Overall, 23 GP were pre-selected to undergo the Delphi. Experts were asked to score each practice’s impact on animal welfare, working conditions of people and profit. The GP selected through this holistic approach will be presented. This EU-funded study represents the first complete guidance to the most challenging phases of horse transportation achieved through a science-based approach. The reached agreement will favour the in-field implementation of these GP, enhancing horse protection during transport.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of abstracts of te 67th annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868308
ISBN (Print)9789086862849
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventEAAP - 67th Annual Meeting 2016: 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - The Waterfront Conference and Exhibition Centre , Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 20162 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameBook of abstracts EAAP
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISSN (Print)1382-6077


ConferenceEAAP - 67th Annual Meeting 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving horse welfare at transport: definition of good practices through a Delphi procedure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this