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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations describes live animal transport as “ideally suited for spreading disease,” given that animals may originate from different herds or flocks and are “confined together for long periods in a poorly ventilated stressful environment.” Given the associated “serious animal and public health problems,” the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe has called for the replacement of the long-distance transportation of live animals for slaughter as much as possible to a “carcass-only trade.”

In the United States, more than 50 million live cattle, sheep, and pigs and an unknown number of the more than 9 billion chickens, turkeys, and other birds raised for food are annually traded across state lines. Before they are slaughtered, U.S. livestock may travel an average of 1,000 miles. These factors and activities may have undesirable animal and public health implications.