Cattle Carriers: Lifeline Of Livestock

Cattle carriers are huge ships that are designed in such a way that they can carry livestock. Cattle are a very important commodity that is transported by the sea. The cattle carriers are basically used to import and export cattle.

Livestock Carrier Ship Design

Livestock Carrier Ship Design

Most of the cattle carriers are built in a special way or they are converted from container ships. The purpose of a cattle carrier is that it should be designed in such a way that it can carry animals. The animals should survive in the cattle carriers and they should survive well.

Sometimes ferries and small boats are used as cattle carriers. However, this is possible only for a short distance. For long distance you will definitely need a well-built cattle carrier. If the cattle carriers are not well designed the livestock in it will catch infection and may also die. This can be a huge loss to the owner. Depending on the requirement the livestock on cattle carriers may have to live for few days to a few months too.

The cattle are imported and exported for various purposes that include medicine, food, wool, etc. The purpose can be any. The business of livestock import and export is certainly a huge one.

We will now discuss the different type of cattle carriers. They can mainly be of two types and they are

  1. open cattle carriers
  2. closed cattle carriers

As the name itself suggests open cattle carriers have pens installed on the deck itself. This is exactly why they are exposed to the weather all the time. This is a good idea as the livestock gets natural ventilation. However, this cannot be used when the ship can meet with bad weather. This can also be a bad idea if the ship is on a long voyage. As due to open deck the livestock may suffer from a storm or a bad weather.

It is true that the livestock will get ventilation in an open cattle carriers but it may happen that due to slow movement in the wind of the sea the supply of air reduces. This may lead to big damage as the cattle will not get enough air supply. This is exactly why some open cattle carriers are also provided with mechanical ventilators.

There are livestock carriers that are also closed. When the cattle carriers are closed the livestock gets a better protection as they are not exposed to the harshness of the weather. The feeding and watering of the animals can be done even in a harsh weather as the environment is more controlled and protected. Well as there are advantages there are disadvantages too.

When the cattle carriers are closed it becomes more challenging to ensure that the cattle get proper ventilation and light. If there is a light failure the cattle cannot be provided proper ventilation as the ventilation in a closed cattle carrier is mechanical. This is exactly why the closed cattle carriers should be given proper backup for ventilation and power supply.

In the cattle carriers mostly domesticated animals are usually traded. However, in some cases fish and other wild animals may be imported and exported too. These are for mostly the use of zoos. The import and export of these special animals need special permits though. You cannot imagine to import and export these special animals without permits. The carriers that transport these animals are not cattle carriers.

The size of the cattle carriers can vary from medium to large. As per the size of the livestock they carry the size of the cattle carrier’s changes. It was Australia, New Zealand and Middle East countries that were more into the cattle trading. However, as of now many more countries have joined the list.

The bigger the cattle carriers the more economical it is as it can carry more livestock and thereby the cost reduces. The lesser the size the cost of carrying the livestock will increase. The livestock can be managed by stockmen who have enough experience in doing this job. It is not something that anyone of us can do. There are specially trained people who know how to manage the livestock on board in a ship.

There should be enough of these stockmen on a ship to ensure that the livestock is carried properly to the destination and on time. The challenge is supplying water because a cattle carrier that is carrying sheep would need about six hundred tons of water every day. The ships have to be designed in such a way that they can generate so much of fresh water.

The sheep and cattle need fodder that is about two per cent of their total body weight. This is exactly why such a huge stock of fodder has to be kept in the ship. They also need to carry a little more for emergencies. Just keeping the fodder is not enough they have to be maintained in such a way that they can survive the voyage.

The animal activists are not in favour of cattle carriers. This is mainly because the cattle carriers don’t have enough facilities to take care of such animals. Most of the cattle carriers are overfilled. The animals cannot speak and as a result suffer in these cattle carriers.

In the last few years thousands of cattle have died in the sea. Either due to bad weather or they have died because of diseases that is very common in cattle carriers. The government and port authorities’ also delay the cases related to cattle carriers as a result the animals suffer more.

These are the various cases of cattle carriers and the different advantage and disadvantage that can be associated with the cattle carriers. We hope this has given you a good idea about what cattle carriers actually are and how can be ensure that the animals are transported to the destination well and within time. We also hope that the government and the concerned authorities will look into the cattle carriers more seriously and try to solve their problems.

Image Courtesy: GCaptain

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