Grisel Navarro on Long-Distance Transport

Conversations with Clive: #6
May 9, 2024

Dr. Grisel Navarro is a veterinarian trained at University Austral de Chile. She completed a Masters degree there, and she was awarded a doctoral degree at the University of Queensland for her research in long distance transport in Australia. Currently lecturing in animal welfare and behavior in the Catholic University of Temuco, Chile, she continues her studies of long distance transport of livestock.

In March 2024, Dr. Navarro talked to Clive Phillips for the Conversations with Clive series. In this series, leading farm animal welfare scientists and academic experts share with Clive Phillips their thoughts and experience of farm animal welfare issues.

Note: This conversation is in English (Clive) with Spanish sub-titles, and in Spanish (Navarro) with an English translator.

Timing of key topics discussed in the 40 minute conversation:

  • 00:18 Clive outlines the focus of the new set of “Conversations with Clive” interviews that deal with welfare issues in animal management in developing countries. This first interview focuses on the welfare effects of long distance transport.
  • 00:30 Transportation requirements for livestock raised on remote rangelands away from abattoirs.
  • 01:30 Clive introduces Dr Grisel Navarro.
  • 02:05 Dr. Navarro outlines the multi-stage journey involved in bringing livestock from the Patagonian region of southern Chile, to the more populated areas of central Chile in the north.
  • 03:30 The transportation of livestock by sea ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt in the north is over 1,000 km and can take 3 to 5 days depending on weather conditions.
  • 04:40 The Gulf of Penas (translates in English as the “Gulf of Distress”) is crossed by the ferry during the northern journey and can be particularly difficult part of the trip for the animals.
  • 05:20 From Puerto Montt, the livestock are either trucked over land to the more northern centers, or are fattened up locally before later processing.
  • 06:25 The main welfare issues arising from the transportation of livestock from Patagonia include the high stocking densities, limited access to feed and water and social stressors.
  • 08:20 The high stocking density can lead to injuries, related primarily to inability to rest properly, and impacts from livestock losing balance.
  • 09:00 No onboard veterinarian is available for the animals during transportation.
  • 10:20 The alternative possibility to sea transport from Puerto Natales would entail crossing into Argentina and traveling north on Argentinian roads, as there are no continuous roads on the Chilean side of the Andean mountain range. and inadequate ventilation for animals subjected to those travel conditions.
  • 12:50 Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a major concern to the Argentinian beef export market, which has been free of outbreaks for several years.
  • 13:40 Comparing public sentiments of long-distance transport in Australia and Chile.
  • 15:00 How can the current welfare conditions in the transport process be improved?
  • 17:15 Stocking densities would be relaxed in cattle traveling in the hull of the ferry, rather than the livestock trailers currently employed.
  • 21:00 Maximum stocking density in Chile is currently regulated at 500kg/m2 .
  • 22:40 How well are welfare standards regulated and implemented? 28:00 Demand for beef products in the central and northern regions of Chile surpasses the current processing capacity for cattle by abattoirs in the Patagonian region.
  • 30:40 Speculation on alternative agricultural roles for the Patagonian rangelands instead of grazing necessitating long-distance transportation.
  • 31:50 The relative importance of the Patagonian rangelands and meat production to Chile is significant.
  • 33:30 Final comments. Insights from the comparison between Australia and Chilean long-distance livestock transport systems identify important deficits in the current system used in Chile.
Website by