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): Bill Mullen
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Country: Canada

Summary:

Animal care and welfare are priorities of the pork industry. This is equally important when animals leave the farm for transport to market. The transportation of pigs in Canada and the United States is similar. The Certified Livestock Transporter (CLT) program in Canada and the Trucker Quality Assurance (TQA) in the United States share a common goal: To educate individuals who handle pigs about the importance of proper handling in the loading, transportation and unloading of the pig with attention to animal care. The National (USA) Pork Board introduced TQA in 2002. This program is offered to anyone delivering pigs to federally inspected packers in the USA. TQA addresses loading, transportation, unloading of pigs and how this affects animal welfare, biosecurity and pork quality. The CLT program received permission from the US National Pork Board to use their Trucker Quality Assurance training course as the basis for the CLT hog module. It was created under the guidance of Canadian transporters, researchers, federal and provincial government personnel, hog producers, veterinarians and industry representatives and was launched in May 2007. Both CLT and the TQA programs deal with how the driver’s attitude must be positive when handling and transporting animals. Tone of voice, body language, and handling practices affect the condition of livestock during loading and unloading. It is crucial for truckers and handlers to understand pig behavior and physiology in order to transport and handle them effectively. These courses also help in understanding that when a handler takes advantage of the animal’s natural movement the animal loads more quickly and arrives at the processor with less bruising and skin injuries, resulting in fewer losses. These courses also teach how to recognize signs of stress and how to read the body language of the animal. This helps the loader/driver determine whether or not to load the animal. Transporters have the responsibility not to ship any animal that shows symptoms of illness, has a severe injury or is extremely fatigued. Improperly designed chutes and ramps cause problems during loading and unloading. Design of the system should promote a pig’s natural following behavior. Loaders should use driving aids that help move animals in a safe, humane and timely manner. Sorting boards, plastic paddles and a witch’s cape are tools that are effective and humane. The CLT and TQA courses also teach drivers that they need to know how different weather conditions affect the pigs in their care. Best management techniques including, checklist of extreme weather measures and loading densities are covered. CLT provides truckers with a toll free line (1-800-506-2273) to report on concerns and seek advice, as well the truckers are notified of any regulatory changes, updates, security issues and other professional development workshops. The CLT and TQA courses also teach truckers that loaded commercial livestock trailers are at greater risk of being involved in a rollover situation than standard freight trailers. Studies indicate that the point of no return for a loaded double-decked livestock trailer is as little as 5º level. TQA gives a suggested plan of action in the case of a truck/trailer rollover. CLT covers emergency procedures as well as suggestions on incident response in its core manual. In 2006, almost six million Canadian feeder pigs were transported to the United States, most hauled by Canadian truckers. Total live hog exports in 2007 are on a pace to break the 2006 record of 8.76 million head exported. It makes sense that those who are involved with the transportation of pigs have access to programs on both sides of the border. Processors in both countries benefit because their customers, both domestic and foreign, will know that the animal was transported with the utmost animal welfare, biosecurity and pork quality in mind.

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