It's best not to be a sheep-shaker

October 3, 2003

Drivers who transport animals are to receive advice on how to avoid shaking sheep in a training video made by researchers at Edinburgh University and the Roslin Institute, which created Dolly, the world's most famous sheep.

The 13-minute video was made as part of a research project in which Scottish blackface ewes were driven on roads ranging from farm tracks to motorways. The behaviour of the sheep was filmed and linked to cameras monitoring road conditions and driving manoeuvres.

Researchers found that animals struggled to stay upright and sometimes fell if the driver braked or cornered rapidly. If they were disturbed by frequent vehicle movements, they failed to settle during the journey. But sheep driven smoothly often lay down and some even chewed the cud.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funded the research. The videos will be distributed to livestock hauliers, farmers and education and training organisations.

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