Livestock Transport. How Does It Work?4 min read


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What is livestock transport?

You may wonder what the term livestock transportation means. Well, livestock transport is the movement of farm animals via sea, road, rail or air. The term livestock itself is used as a combination for farm animals such as for cows, sheep, goats, pigs and horses. The purpose of transporting cattle can be for beef and other food products, dairy, breeding or simply relocation. The international livestock industry is large in numbers. As a matter of fact, the amount of livestock within Europe is over 100 million with the biggest exporters of live cattle in Europe being France, The Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

What are the livestock transport regulations?

There is much controversy around the topic of livestock transport as critics claim the livestock haulage conditions are not animal-friendly. To make the journey as pleasant for animals as possible, livestock transportation is subject to strict requirements in the European Union. All animals moving between EU Member States must carry a health certificate validated by an official veterinarian that confirms the animal fulfils the basic animal health requirements.

For animal transport, there are strict regulations that refuses the majority of animal species for transport. Transport companies can relocate livestock under certain circumstances. The international livestock transportation laws are strict to support the safety and well-being of the animals. As a result, not all logistics service providers but freight forwarders generally organize the transportation of livestock. Freight forwarders arranges shipments on the behalf of individuals or companies. These livestock transportation companies specialize in the transport of animals.

As per EU regulations, the animals must have enough food, water and bedding to cover the whole journey. It is very important for livestock transportation companies to follow these livestock transport regulations. The vehicle should be large enough to fit all animals and the inside temperature should be below 30˚C. As for the driver, he must know where to stop to feed the animals and let them rest. It is also the driver’s responsibility to drive smoothly, check the livestock on a regular basis and give the animals enough water, food and rest.

Livestock transport by truck, train, plane or boat?

All of the above- livestock haulage is possible via truck, train, boat and airplane. Within Europe, logistics service providers generally ship cattle via truck. The most appropriate modes for animal transport are via road or rail. In the old days, farmers would relocate cattle via droving or herding. Nowadays, transportation companies use specialized trucks for more efficient transport. Using vehicles also makes it possible to go much longer distances.

Livestock transport in process

What are the livestock transport rates?

To calculate the costs of livestock transportation is rather complicated as it depends on a number of factors. The price varies based on the type of animal and the distance. On average, the cattle transport rates are €1.00-2.50 per km. As cattle transportation requires more care than shipping general goods, logistics service providers set the prices accordingly.

What are the special requirements?

As per the international livestock transport regulations, it is very important that the animals are in good condition. As mentioned earlier about the livestock transportation laws, all animals have to own a health certificate during transit. Shipping livestock can be an intense and stressful experience for animals. This means that without proper care, it can severely affect the well-being of the animals. Therefore, the shipper should check the animals before transport but it is the driver’s responsibility to look after the animals during transit.

New technologies have improved the conditions for animals, especially in terms of the transport vehicles. Animal transportation naturally requires a vehicle adjusted to serve relocation of animals. Therefore, the transportation trucks are equipped with special features like higher roofs and drinking systems. Today’s vehicles also comply with stricter safety rules. For example, it is important that the truck has no sharp edges on which the animals can cut themselves and the truck should never be fully closed. To comply with environmental regulations, the vehicles should also have leak-proof floors so that no waste can drip from the truck.


Eurosender and its network of logistics service providers currently do not offer the service to ship livestock. However, shipping live animals is one of the unusual shipping requests we have received in the past. Eurosender does offer a wide variety of other services like shipping of packages, suitcases, pallets, sport equipment, music instruments, etc. Check what we can transport for you on our website.

Last modified: August 3, 2018

2 Responses to " Livestock Transport. How Does It Work? "

  1. Thanks a lot for the blog post. Really looking forward to reading more.

    • Monika Kelesovska says:

      Dear Carrie, we are happy to hear this! Keep following our posts, as our team works hard on really interesting topics!

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