Many initiatives in the last few years have been aimed at getting animal welfare right for the livestock transport industry. Diesel visits a groundbreaking training course which is getting the message out to people working in the livestock business.
The entire supply chain for the livestock industry has a responsibility in ensuring the way that the animals are treated as they are handed over from the stock owner to the transport operator and then to the saleyards manager, livestock agents, stock persons and abattoir personnel in a way that minimises stress for the animals.
Goondiwindi Regional Council were hosts to a new initiative’s pilot program, alongside Frasers Livestock Transport and the Queensland Trucking Association, with the aim of improving transport practice.
Not only has there been increased emphasis on animal welfare from the authorities overtime, but the livestock industry is starting to realise that poor practice in handling live animals results in a lower performance by those animals, when being prepared for the abattoir. Improving the practice is overall in the livestock transport industry will eventuate in a win-win situation. The animal welfare advocates will see an improvement and the livestock industry will see improved productivity per animal.
Surveys have shown that poor practice in handling animals resulting increase health issues, such as injuries, feet issues, bruising and animals not feeding properly. Increased mortality rates have also been identified in groups of animals which have not been treated in the best manner. Plus, at the end of the long supply chain, poor animal handling practices leads to a lower quality meat on the table of the end consumer.
A series of livestock transport workshops were held at the Frasers facility in Goondiwindi recently and drew a number of personnel who work with animals in the supply chain to learn from the experts about the efficient handling of stock.
The mentor brought in by the workshop was Tom Shephard, a well known stock handling expert, whose life’s work is in bringing improvements to the human being to livestock interface.
Those attending were reminded that producers will use livestock transport companies who they can trust to handle their livestock in the best way. If they don’t ensure they are getting animal welfare right, poor animal welfare practices may well result in a loss of business for the livestock transporter who does not keep up to speed with the latest thinking on animal welfare.
On average, livestock will travel over 500 km from the farm gate to the eventual processor. This journey can involve numerous stops and transfers between feedlot, saleyards and vehicles, especially when there are different livestock loading regulations across state borders.
Demand for beef continues to rise and industry has to work hard to keep its efficiency up to the levels which will enable it to handle the task as it grows. This has led to the increasing use of high productivity combinations to haul animals around the country. These larger combinations present challenges for the saleyards, abattoirs, feed-lots and livestock transporters when the task of loading a number of trailers is taking place.