Animals suffering from bad conditions during transportation or from long distance transports have caused consumer reactions all over the EU. But are the reactions in accordance with increased transports over time? And what are the economic incentives to animal transports? The aim of the report is to give an answer to these questions, using the situation in Sweden as a general example.
One conclusion from examining the animal transport patterns in Sweden is that big slaughter houses seem to attract deliveries from distant and small-scale breeders. Also, when there is a (small) slaughter house within the same area as the breeder, the probability of a long distance transport is higher from small-scale breeders. This result leads to one important economic incentive; economies of scale. Economies of scale are markedly present in the slaughter industry; the slaughter cost per unit decreases when there is an increase in production. To take advantage of this, a slaughter house needs to increase the number of delivered animals, and it thus also needs a larger reception area. This need results in a longer transport distance unless there is an ongoing simultaneous geographical concentration of breeders.
Statistical analysis shows clear signs of concentration of the breeding in Sweden during the investigated period (1990-1999). Also, using regression analysis, a positive correlation between the total number of animals in a municipality and the number of animals being slaughtered there was found. This suggests either that breeding has been concentrated to municipalities with a big slaughter capacity, or, reversely, that slaughter houses have been located where the animals are.
In the report, it was also investigated how the structural changes have affected the average distance of transport for the animals. The results of this analysis show that a larger part of the animals were located closer to a slaughter house in 1999 compared to 1990. The average transporting distance of animals to slaughter decreased during the period. However, the findings also indicate that some animals actually have a longer distance to travel. All in all, in Sweden, structural changes due to economies of scale do not seem to have had any significant negative impact upon the average animal transporting distance to slaughter.