This month’s issue of Truck West contains the second annual livestock trucking report – a section dedicated to the men and women who haul arguably the most challenging commodity of them all.
It takes a special breed of professional driver to haul live animals. You never haul the same load twice and every time the load is constantly moving. Who else can say that every ‘piece of freight’ they haul has its own personality and poses its own unique challenges?
This month’s livestock trucking section is slightly different than last year’s. With the exception of the breaking news story on the cover, you won’t see those dreaded three letters (you know the ones) anywhere in this issue. We all know what the deal is there. Instead, we’ve decided to focus on other important issues facing livestock haulers, and there is no shortage of them.
Of particular interest will be the special guest column written by several key members of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The column alludes to regulatory changes coming down the pipeline which will impact commercial livestock carriers. Canada’s livestock transportation regulations are 30 years old and simply put, some of the practices employed 30 years ago while transporting animals are no longer acceptable today.
While it’s too soon to see how the impending changes will impact livestock carriers, one can hope they won’t incur a significant cost as a result of the changes. If onboard watering and ventilations systems are required (as they are in many parts of Europe), then hopefully existing trailers will be grandfathered or can be modified on the cheap.
Another article which should be of interest to all cattle carriers is the one on pg. 11 regarding Alberta Farm Animal Care’s (AFAC’s) new Humane Handling of Beef Cattle handbook. Everyone who transports beef cattle should call AFAC and get their hands on this booklet. Finally, there’s a thorough guide describing what exactly makes an animal unfit for transport and clearly describes the truck driver’s options. Producers will have a difficult time arguing an animal is good to go if a driver pulls this booklet out of his back pocket and explains the repercussions of loading that animal. It’s all right there in black and white.
And finally, page 18 contains a valuable border crossing guide for livestock truckers. I encourage livestock carriers to tear it out and keep it in the glove box of each of their trucks for future reference. This resource guide will not only help prevent delays while crossing the border, it will also allow drivers to get the help they need from the appropriate CFIA or USDA veterinarian.
Last year’s livestock issue was greeted with much enthusiasm from the livestock trucking community and I hope this year’s goes over equally well.
You’re an often overlooked sector of the industry, but at Truck West we know the important role you play day in and day out. This one’s for you!