Pros and cons of importing livestock for farming

Importing livestock can be a challenging process. This is due to cargo requiring controlled conditions and more attention than usual stock. Livestock may be imported for farming, zoos, medical attention or personal and pet transportation reasons. The largest amount of livestock that is imported for farming tends to be cattle, due to the high demand for food and dairy supplies.

As trade within the farming industry grows, the risks that come with importing livestock still remains. So, what are the pros and cons of this type of freight?


Trade competitiveness

Trade is a competitive industry, so importing livestock across the world may broaden opportunities for farmers and retailers to work together. Sometimes importing meat from other countries can mean for cheaper meats and dairy products.

Higher profits

It is a given that if something isn’t worth doing, then it wouldn’t be done at all. The larger market is likely to place bulk orders compared to the local buyer. This means that importers can charge premium overseas prices, making a healthy profit for their business.

More variety

Expanding outside of the Caribbean market allows for more variety in the products that retailers can sell.



Mortality can be reduced in livestock

Importing live animals may have an effect on the lifespan of the breed. The journey can be stressful for animals, and space in the cages is usually limited. Delays causing more days at sea than intended is a prime example of this. Deaths and injuries may occur during the journey, which not only creates risks to the livestock but can cause problems for the farmer/importer.


In the export market, it can be difficult to avoid competitors, meaning that costs need to be negotiated wisely. If costs are too high, it could mean your stock has no interest, however too low and you could be losing out on valuable profit your other competitors are making.

Unavoidable costs

Sometimes shipping doesn’t go to plan. There can be disruptions that cannot be avoided, and this, therefore, means that your import costs may be increased. There is a chance that not all livestock will make the journey in sound condition, which can also cost the farmer if their customer does not want to cover the cost of the animals that do not make it in sound condition.