Livestock Vehicle Accidents in Spain: Causes, Consequences, and Effects on Animal Welfare

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Livestock vehicle accidents are rare but involve significant economic, human, and nonhuman farm animal losses. This study obtained information on the characteristics of accidents, the animals involved, and injuries to humans from newspaper reports about livestock vehicle accidents in Spain from January 2000 to December 2008. Most accidents involved pig transport (57%), followed by bovine (30%), poultry (8%), and sheep (5%). Driver mortality was not high (6%), and most accidents (76%) involved only the livestock vehicle, which often was overturned (64%) on a straight road transect (51%). Multivariate analysis of the data suggests 2 types of accidents, depending on the species transported. In the first cluster, 95.3% of the cases involved pig transport with articulated vehicles (60.5%). In the second cluster, 94.4% of the accidents involved small vehicles used for cattle transport (44.4%). The results of this study indicate that the characteristics of livestock vehicle accidents vary according to species. One of the main causes of accidents appears to be driver fatigue, which may be due to several factors such as intense workdays, poorly designed route plans, or high levels of pressure from companies.