Critical points in the transport of commercial rabbits to slaughter in Spain that could compromise animals' welfare.
The welfare of commercial rabbits depends on the attitudes and handling procedures used by farmers, hauliers and abattoir personnel, as well as the transport logistics. Many studies have been performed on commercial rabbit production but less attention has been paid to identifying critical points during the whole transport procedure. In this study, a survey of rabbit transport was performed in Spanish abattoirs to determine the parts of the process that most compromise the animal?s welfare. Data were collected for the methods for loading, unloading, transporting, holding and slaughter. Handling procedures differ widely among farms, especially regarding cage size (ranging from 1430 cm² to 10000 cm²). Loading facilities were adequate and transport time was short. Only a few hauliers had received specific training courses. The average time before the unloading was short (4.5±13.8 min) but holding time before slaughter was usually longer than one hour and varied widely between abattoirs (ranging from 0 min to 420 min).
rabbit; welfare; transport; slaughter; critical points; Spain
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