Appendix II – GUIDELINES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF GREYHOUNDS
Note: These guidelines may be amended as a consequence of any changes to UK legislation relating to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and/or The Welfare of Animals in Transport regulations, and/or at the discretion of the GRB.
i) Introduction: The Transport of Greyhounds is an intrinsic element of the Greyhound Racing industry; dogs rarely live and Race at a single location. Furthermore, the frequency of transport is likely to be greater than for most other dogs and takes place when the animal is likely to be subject to significant physiological stress resulting from Racing or Trialling. It is therefore important that transport conditions are optimal. In addition, Greyhounds are one of the few non-farmed species where there is significant national and international trade. This results in some long distance transport when it is also important that adequate conditions are provided for the dogs.
ii) These guidelines are intended to assist persons transporting Greyhounds to provide those conditions. They are not prescriptive except in a small number of areas such as cage sizes, air conditioning and temperatures during transit.
iii) Legislation: The main section of these guidelines is intended to provide information to people transporting healthy Greyhounds. In most instances in the Racing industry it is likely that the law will regard such transport as ‘commercial’ and consequently subject to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, otherwise known as WATO and also to EU legislation number 1/2005 The conditions suggested in these guidelines should help transporters comply with WATO and 1/2005 but the full document can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk
iv) All trainers that transport more than two greyhounds on journeys in excess of 65km (40 miles) should complete and return an Animal Transporter Authorisation form. Copies can be obtained directly from DEFRA.
v) Of course all other animal welfare legislation is also applicable. The Animal Welfare Act imposes a general ‘duty of care’ on all Owners and Trainers (the term ‘keeper’ is used in the Act to provide good conditions for their dogs at all times. (Enacted 6.4.07)
vi) General Conditions: During any transport by road the driver must be conscious of the fact that he or she is transporting sentient animals and has a duty of care to ensure that the standard of driving and care is commensurate with their comfort (i.e. drive sensibly). Keepers of Greyhounds should ensure that drivers have been trained and shown themselves to be competent in the care of the dogs.
vii) The expected journey time from Trainer’s Kennels to the attached Racecourse for Racing should be less than 8 hours.
viii) Greyhounds should not be loaded for transport for at least 15-30 minutes after Racing or trialling to allow them to cool.
ix) Planning: Habituation is vital to reduce transport stress. This should be achieved before 14 weeks of age if possible so that the Greyhound is used to being transported. It will also help to introduce a sapling to the wider world at the same age and well before initial Trials at about 11 months of age.
ix) The conditions provided should partly be related to the length of the journey. All journeys should be properly planned and this should include planning in the event that the expected journey time is exceeded as well as locations of stops for watering, feeding or emptying.
xi) Other factors to be taken into account are the mode of travel e.g. car, sea, or air and the opportunity for rest.
xii) No segment of a journey should exceed 24 hours and there must be a 12 hour rest period before any subsequent journey. If any part of the journey includes a sea passage this must be included in the journey time.
xiii) If greyhounds are transported in the back of a car, a dog guard should be used and all greyhounds should be muzzled. Government has not specified a limit to the number of greyhounds that can be carried loose in a car but trainers/drivers are responsible for ensuring that the greyhounds are not subjected to any unnecessary stress or suffering. Whilst it will therefore still be acceptable for small numbers of greyhounds to be carried sensibly and where practical in an estate car without the need for travel cages, it is not likely that larger numbers of greyhounds can be transported safely if loose in either a van or car. It is recommended that a maximum of two greyhounds be transported loose in the back of a vehicle. If more than two greyhounds are to be transported it is recommended that each greyhound be held in a separate travel cage built to the specifications detailed in Appendix II (xvii).
xiv) If it is necessary to move a litter of puppies before weaning they should travel together. If they travel with their dam this should be in a double cage.
xv) When travel cages are used cages should be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to avoid injury and suffering and to ensure the safety of greyhounds. All such cages should be securely bolted to the transport vehicle. All cages should be built of an impervious, mesh material for maximum ventilation and include a carpeted or cushioned non-slip floor surface. Cages must be kept clean, regularly disinfected and in good condition.
xvi) Government legislation requires that: “sufficient floor area and height is provided for the animals, appropriate for their size and intended journey”. Also, “sufficient space shall be provided inside the animal’s compartment and at each of its levels to ensure that there is adequate ventilation above the animals when they are in a naturally standing position, without on any account hindering their natural movement”.
xvii) As an absolute minimum, cages must have the following dimensions: 35.56cm/14in width, 101.6cm/40in length, 76.2cm/30in height. Trainers should note that these are only MINIMUM sizes; larger greyhounds require larger cages. Trainers are responsible for ensuring that their travel cages are suitable for the greyhounds being transported. Larger cage sizes still are required for journeys longer than 8 hours. Each transport vehicle should also include a cage of minimum width 76.2cm/30in, or 2 cages with a removable separator, to allow secure and comfortable transport of a particularly large or slightly injured greyhound.
xviii) For travel by air, IATA rules on cage sizes must be followed. The current IATA Live Animals Regulations are obtainable from The Stationery Office, Tel: 020 7838 8400.
xix) Vehicle: From 01 April 2023, all vehicles used to transport greyhounds shall be air conditioned and always maintained between 10°C and 26°C during transport. A remote monitoring device must display the temperature in the Greyhound cabin and be visible from the driver’s seat. If the temperature rises above 26°C it is important that dogs are regularly examined for signs of distress and removed from the vehicle to cool down if necessary. Temperature must be monitored and records kept.
xx) Dogs keep themselves cool by evaporating water from their tongues by panting. In conditions of high temperature and high humidity this becomes ineffective and the dog will consequently suffer from heat stroke. It is therefore important that both temperature and humidity are controlled. Consequently wetting a dog to cool it may be counter-productive.
xxi) As a rough guide, if there is condensation inside a vehicle it is an indication that the humidity is too high and ventilation must be increased to prevent it.
xxii) The vehicle should be designed to provide a minimum of 12 air changes per hour at all times during transport. Cages in vehicles must have at least 40% of the wall area open to allow adequate air flow. This is best provided by a rust-proof (stainless) steel mesh door and back to the cage as well as additional open areas on its sides to allow ventilation through the cage.
xxiii) Maintenance of temperature control and ventilation must be possible when the vehicle is stationery. This is best provided by full air conditioning. There must be a procedure for the provision of ventilation in an emergency; this may be as simple as opening all vehicle doors.
xxiv) All vehicles carrying dogs must be equipped with a functioning and regularly serviced fire extinguisher. It may be advisable to provide an indication on the outside of the vehicle that live animals are being carried to alert the emergency services.
xxv) Care during the journey: For any journey over 4 hours adequate rest stops for watering, feeding and emptying must be included. Water must be provided every 4 hours or frequently enough to prevent dehydration. Emptying must be provided every 8 hours and food every 24 hours.
xxvi) Greyhounds should have free access to water until loaded for a journey. No food should be given for 2 hours before travelling and an opportunity to empty should be provided immediately before loading.
xxvii) Slightly ill or injured greyhounds can only be considered to be fit, and therefore able to be transported, in limited circumstances. This would include transport to a nearby veterinary surgery for diagnosis or treatment, or on short journeys where transport would not cause the animal additional suffering. Slightly ill or injured greyhounds are unlikely to be considered fit for any long journeys.
xxviii) Where there is any doubt over the fitness of an animal, a veterinary surgeon must be consulted before transporting the animal.
xxix) Sedatives shall not be used on animals to be transported unless strictly necessary to ensure the welfare of the animals and shall only be used under veterinary supervision.
xxx) Vehicles should be driven sensibly and carefully to minimise discomfort to greyhounds.
xxxi) It is recommended that one lead and collar be carried for each greyhound being transported in a vehicle. This will facilitate the safe removal and restraint of greyhounds in an emergency.