Data-logging technology will be used in a study to learn more about how horses fare during transport by air.
Earlier this year, CHAMP Cargosystems, a firm which provides systems to support the air cargo industry, joined with the Animal Transportation Association (ATA) to develop a close partnership with experts involved in animal transportation and work on next-generation information systems together.
They brought in the French firm Arioneo, which specialises in the use of monitoring technology to improve equine health and performance.
In the two-year study, to be run through the University of Bologna in Italy, data-logging systems will be used to monitor horse health during air transport, including heart rate, respiration, and temperature.
It is hoped the findings will show what actions can be taken to improve the wellbeing and safe transportation of animals.
Important foundation work has already been undertaken, with University of Bologna researchers, in collaboration with members of the ATA, developing an extensive questionnaire and monitoring various live transports to gather large amounts of data for the basis of their research.
For the future study, data will be collected and transmitted via Arioneo’s data logger to capture the vital signs of horses being transported.
This information will be communicated to the crew and groom on their mobile devices using CHAMP’s data communication capabilities.
It will not only provide information for the study, but provide a flow of information that will allow real-time tracking and monitoring of the safety and wellbeing of the animals being transported.
The application, currently used for training and monitoring of the wellbeing of horses on the ground, will allow for the crew and groom to take preventive action as necessary, making sure that horses are checked at the right time.
A full report of each horse will be available after every flight, allowing trainers and owners to learn from the experience and prepare better for future journeys.
Animal Transportation Association president Filip Vande Cappelle says his organisation is dedicated to the improvement of animal wellbeing in transport.
“This study aims to create high standards for animal transportation, as comfort and safety of the precious animals are our number 1 priority.”
He says the partnership arrangement will ensure that the right tools are available to improve animal welfare, and also the data to support it.
CHAMP cargosystems chief executive Arnaud Lambert stressed the importance of animal welfare, saying it will be at the core of the upcoming study.
“We recognize that these joint efforts not only give value to animal welfare, but also the capabilities of our technology in application to delicate or sensitive cargo – whatever it may be.”
Arioneo chief executive Erwan Mellerio says he believes the findings will have lasting effects on the way airlines and animal transporters look at travel.
“Our partners’ efforts in pushing the boundaries of the technologies available today will shed new light for best practices, ensure safety for the animals and staff and the functionality of the technologies themselves.”
The study will provide scientific data that will not only help to better understand shipping-related incidents, but also improve all animal safety and wellbeing considerably.