'Is it the correct way to transport the animal?' Cow in back of lorry on PIE draws concerns over road safety

'Is it the correct way to transport the animal?' Cow in back of lorry on PIE draws concerns over road safety
A video posted online shows a black-and-white cow standing in the back of a lorry travelling along the PIE on Aug 27.
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/SGRV

SINGAPORE - A video showing a cow being transported in the back of a lorry travelling along an expressway has drawn mixed reactions online, with some questioning the legality and ethics of this transportation method.

The video, uploaded onto Facebook page SG Road Vigilante, shows a black-and-white cow standing in the back of a lorry travelling along the Pan-Island Expressway on Aug 27.

The video shows a blue tarpaulin covering the top of the lorry, but the back of the vehicle is left uncovered.

Some netizens reacted to the Facebook post with amusement, while others were concerned about the animal's welfare, as well as whether this method of transportation is legal.

One commenter said: "Is it the correct way to transport the cow?"

Another commenter asked: "Are there any rules for transporting an animal around Singapore?"

The cow in the video belongs to Viknesh Dairy Farm in Lim Chu Kang, said the farm's secretary, who gave his name only as Mr Viknesh.

Mr Viknesh, whose father owns the farm, told The Straits Times that the cow was being taken to a temple for a prayer event.

"Cows in Hindu culture are sacred animals... thus we take it to the temple where the priest conducts prayers," said Mr Viknesh.

"We have taken cows to all temples in Singapore and cultural shows such as Pongal, and to many community centres."

Pongal is a harvest and thanksgiving festival that marks the start of spring and is celebrated worldwide by Tamils.

The farm has been providing cows for events and transporting them since the late 1900s, and its boss has over 50 years of experience in this business, said Mr Viknesh.

He added that the cows are tied to metal poles in the lorry with thick ropes that go around the cow's neck and nose.

"The public does not need to be alarmed as our drivers and cow handlers are well trained, (and have) experience, thus the cows are safely handled," said Mr Viknesh.

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In response to queries from The Straits Times, veteran lawyer Amolat Singh said there are no laws governing the transportation of animals on the road.

A Singapore Food Agency (SFA) spokesman told ST that farm owners that transport live animals such as cattle are required to "properly restrain the animals at all times".

Said the spokesman: "To minimise transport stress, it is recommended that the truck be fully covered during transportation. In this case, SFA has reminded the farm owner to do so to ensure the safety of animals during future transportation."

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said the way that the cow was being transported in the video could be unsafe for the animal, driver and other road users.

"For an animal that is put into a lorry that is not fully covered, any noise or disturbance from outside the vehicle might cause the animal to act up," said Mr Tay.

"If, for whatever reason, it is not properly secured to the lorry, it might cause traffic jams or accidents if it runs onto the road."

Mr Tay added that the time of the day when the animal is transported also matters.

"If it is done in the middle of the night when there is less traffic, maybe it will be safer. If you have a lot of vehicles alongside the lorry, the noise might scare the cow, which might not be used to the environment," he said.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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