Transport of horses


Ratification Date: 20 Jan 2012


The Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport approved by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) should be uniformly adopted and effectively enforced Australia-wide.


Horses are transported over large distances in Australia in the horse racing and breeding industries, as well as for other equine activities and for slaughter.


Persons in charge of vehicles and transport must have livestock experience.

Forward planning of any journey should be undertaken and the following factors should be considered:

  • Horses must be adequately prepared for long distance transport in terms of feeding and watering to ensure appropriate amounts of roughage prior to departure (to provide a large intestinal reservoir of fluid and electrolytes to help prevent dehydration and assist with thermoregulation);
  • The mode of carriage and suitable ventilation;
  • Consideration must be given to not transporting in extreme climatic conditions (heat and cold)if vehicles are not climate controlled;
  • The length of journey and frequency of rest periods;
  • The state of the horse, including health, age, individual behaviour if known, e.g. a propensity to kick or bite other horses. Consideration should be given to unusually stressedor panicking horses(excessivebalancing and ‘scrambling’ whilst moving);
  • Segregation of stallions or colts, dry, wet and pregnant mares;
  • Loading and unloading facilities;
  • Horses should be habituated to transport by practising
  • horse -friendly loading and unloading procedures;
  • Feral horses should only be transported for the purposes of relocation or rehoming and as part of a government supervised management program; and
  • Prior to transporting horses from disaster areas, appropriate medically assessment must be performed.

Other relevant policies

Control of feral horses and other equidae


Animal Health Australia. Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock. Available at: http://www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/land-transport/. Retrieved 30 January 2012.

Date of ratification by AVA Board: 20 January 2012