This “checklist” should be part of the driver’s job each time animals are transported off the farm and before returning to the road after each stop on the journey. One way to ensure that this checklist is used would be to discuss it with some regularity at farm staff, team or employee meetings and even mount a copy of the list in the cab of the tow vehicle and make it part of the pre-trip driver routine.
While a check list is a good idea for everyday use, ongoing maintenance of the trailer should not be neglected, either.
The manure and urine deposited in livestock trailers are chemically tough on the paint, steel and wood used in the construction of most trailers. Constant use can wear brakes and wheel bearings. So a regular plan of maintenance should be implemented.
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension bulletin FS607 - Horse Trailer Maintenance and Trailering Safety provides a good rundown of basic periodic and annual maintenance for livestock and horse trailers. Regularly attending to maintenance can both increase safety and the life of the trailer.
A final consideration provided by the Livestock Transportation Blog is related to the impact that temperature and weather have on moving animals.
Whether the temperature is particularly high or low, it can directly impact the well-being of the animals in transport. For example, in hot weather, don’t rely on moving air through the trailer to maintain a safe temperature.
Moving air in a low temperature situation can also have health impacts. General weather conditions also impact driving conditions and the comfort of the animals in the trailer. Take these into account when moving animals on the road.
There are relatively few information resources available to the public relating to transporting livestock. The USRIDER organization Web site holds a large amount of useful information about trailer safety and moving animals. Much of that information is aimed directly toward an equine audience, but much of it is still useful for other livestock industries.
And as mentioned above, the Livestock Transportation Blog has assembled a significant collection of useful tips and suggestions. This blog is aimed mainly at the commercial livestock and horse transport industry, but it also provides a great deal of valuable information for all livestock haulers.
Finally, the Certified Livestock Transport Web site connects to a Canadian organization which provides safety and other training for the livestock transportation industry in Canada. They link to resource information from across North America.
Dean Ross is an Agrosecurity consultant based in Michigan. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org