Production

 Industry Partners


Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan


Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:



Author(s): Peters, Rick and Steve Brandt
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Country: Canada

Summary:

The hog industry has been evolving and changing through the years and Steve’s Livestock is a company that is part of this progressive industry. Steve’s Livestock realized that there was a heightened awareness in biosecurity and the humane handling of livestock has resulted in changes among feed manufacturing, genetics, transportation and all businesses related to hog production. This paper highlights some experiences with the transportation of livestock, underscoring the commitment of Steve’s Livestock to provide a safe and humane transportation in a biosecure environment to help facilitate the highest profitability for their customers. This paper presents some of the areas where the company has experienced success through innovative ideas presented and established in the industry over the last 20 years in business. Positive innovative solutions must be present to ensure that all groups including consumers, hog producers, processing plants, as well as animal rights activists, understand that humane animal handling is a priority and a reality within the hog industry. Part of making things work, includes finding positive solutions to the variety of challenges that the industry faces. The BSE outbreak is one challenge that has caused questions to arise on where animals in the food chain were born, raised and slaughtered in the event of a disease outbreak. Steve’s Livestock has been proactive in introducing new protocols to increase high health washes and reduce the risk of disease transfer. The director of quality control constantly reviews and upgrades protocols to meet and exceed the needs of customers and the livestock industry as a whole. Protocols have been implemented where employees must adhere to strict procedures, including: washing and disinfecting of wash suits, boots, mats, storage boxes, boots and animal handling tools. Wash bay employees’ clothing is kept separated and all staff must adhere to the biosecurity standards posted. The trailer washing inspection process has been standardized and includes a checklist that must be completed by the shift supervisor. Failed inspections result in the trailer being washed a second time and re-inspected. All wash bay employees go through orientation, which includes the wash bay training video outlining the biosecurity procedures that must be followed. Each employee is responsible for a specific task to confirm quality washing is completed and staff is accountable for any breaches in biosecurity. All employees for both the wash bay, as well as drivers, cannot reside on a hog farm. All new drivers go through a 3-day orientation program, which includes extensive training on biosecurity measures that are required, as well as, the procedures to follow all necessary protocols. Emphasis is given to educating the drivers on the logic behind biosecurity to enable each individual to understand how far reaching repercussions of a simple mistake or misinterpretation can be. Steve’s Transport also has a full time driver trainer on staff to assist driver services in determining if a driver possesses the necessary qualities and skills required to haul the different classes of livestock. Humane handling of livestock has been a part of Steve’s Livestock mission statement since its inception. All drivers are trained in proper animal handling as outlined in the TQA ™ handbook describing the hog’s natural urge to escape and tendency to follow each other. The flight zone and point of balance is explained in detail to equip the driver to be able to calmly and successfully load the animals with minimal stress. Training is given to explain that aggressive handling is dangerous and how loading and unloading alone can cause excessive stress for the animals. Truckers are well informed on the correlation between all aspects of the food chain and their role in ensuring a superior product for the consumer and profitability for the producer. In the future, the hog industry will continue to face challenges, including, the rising costs associated with fuel and feed along with the implementation of Country of Origin Labeling.

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