Livestock trade networks for guiding animal health surveillance

Hardstaff, Jo L ORCID: 0000-0003-3345-209X, Haesler, Barbara and Rushton, Jonathan R ORCID: 0000-0001-5450-4202
(2015) Livestock trade networks for guiding animal health surveillance. BMC VETERINARY RESEARCH, 11 (1). 82-.

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<h4>Background</h4>Trade in live animals can contribute to the introduction of exotic diseases, the maintenance and spread endemic diseases. Annually millions of animals are moved across Europe for the purposes of breeding, fattening and slaughter. Data on the number of animals moved were obtained from the Directorate General Sanco (DG Sanco) for 2011. These were converted to livestock units to enable direct comparison across species and their movements were mapped, used to calculate the indegrees and outdegrees of 27 European countries and the density and transitivity of movements within Europe. This provided the opportunity to discuss surveillance of European livestock movement taking into account stopping points en-route.<h4>Results</h4>High density and transitivity of movement for registered equines, breeding and fattening cattle, breeding poultry and pigs for breeding, fattening and slaughter indicates that hazards have the potential to spread quickly within these populations. This is of concern to highly connected countries particularly those where imported animals constitute a large proportion of their national livestock populations, and have a high indegree. The transport of poultry (older than 72 hours) and unweaned animals would require more rest breaks than the movement of weaned animals, which may provide more opportunities for disease transmission. Transitivity is greatest for animals transported for breeding purposes with cattle, pigs and poultry having values of over 50%.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This paper demonstrated that some species (pigs and poultry) are traded much more frequently and at a larger scale than species such as goats. Some countries are more vulnerable than others due to importing animals from many countries, having imported animals requiring rest-breaks and importing large proportions of their national herd or flock. Such knowledge about the vulnerability of different livestock systems related to trade movements can be used to inform the design of animal health surveillance systems to facilitate the trade in animals between European member states.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 Hardstaff et al.; licensee BioMed Central. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Livestock, European Union, Transport, Surveillance
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2015 14:12
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 16:44
DOI: 10.1186/s12917-015-0354-4
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