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AVMA Policy on the Humane Transport of Equine

Studies published in peer-reviewed journals and the professional experience of veterinarians indicate that more equine are injured during transport in double-decked (“pot belly”) trailers than in straightdecked trailers. The AVMA supports the use of best practices when transporting animals and therefore opposes the use of double-decked trailers to transport equine. In addition, the AVMA encourages state and federal agencies that govern the transport of equine to adopt rules, regulations, and enforcement provisions that ensure equine are transported humanely.

In general, the AVMA believes conveyances used to transport equines must:

  • Be designed, constructed and maintained to protect the health and welfare of the equine being transported at all times;

  • Accommodate segregation of stallions and aggressive equines so that no stallion or aggressive equine can come into contact with other equine on the conveyance;

  • Have sufficient interior height to allow each equine on the conveyance to stand with its head extended to its fullest normal postural height;

  • Not comprise animal cargo space that is divided into two or more stacked levels (conveyances with collapsible floors may be configured to transport equine on one level only, so long as the collapsed configuration meets the height requirements previously specified).

  • Provide adequate ventilation;

  • Contain no sharp protrusions that can injure horses;

  • Be equipped with doors and ramps of sufficient size and location to allow safe loading and unloading;

  • Be loaded so that each equine is provided with sufficient space to shift its weight as needed, and is not crowded in a way that is likely to cause injury or discomfort;

  • Afford secure footing for equine during loading, offloading, and transport.

​​​​​​​Reproduced by permission from the American Veterinary Medical Association.