Livestock group formed to recover Mad Cow losses

PAISLEY, Ont. (Oct. 10, 2003) — With their livelihoods at stake, some of Ontario’s livestock transporters announced today that they have formed a coalition to help carriers that have severly impacted due to the U.S. ban on Canadian beef.

The group’s chairman Greg Hutton of Paisley, Ont.-based Lloyd Hutton Transport, says he formed the coalition in response to a sharp decline in business since a single cow from Alberta was found to contain mad cow disease, leaving some beef and all live cattle banned from several major markets — including the U.S. — worldwide. He says the group hopes to raise the profile of the plight of Ontario livestock transporters to governments and the public.

“It’s been a tough road since that one case of BSE emerged this past spring,” said Hutton in a press release. “A lot of attention has been given to cattle farmers in recent weeks, and we acknowledge that their businesses and livelihoods are at stake too, and believe me, we sympathize. But, as is often the case, the guys that have invested lots of money into specialized equipment to move live animals appear to have been forgotten.”

Preliminary data suggest that Ontario livestock transporters have suffered declines in cattle and related livestock trucking revenue in the range of 85 per cent, the group says, with little opportunity to shift to other types of freight, given the specialized nature of the equipment involved.

In addition to appointing a chairman, the Coalition has established an executive board, which has developed an action plan to ensure that the difficulties experienced by livestock truckers receive the appropriate attention. “I believe that we stand a better chance in getting a proper hearing of our views as a united organization, as opposed to lobbying as individual carriers”, Hutton says.

Ontario livestock carriers interested in joining the coalition are urged to contact Greg Hutton at 519/353-5601.

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