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Livestock on the move
Making sure livestock are handled well during transport is just as important as how they’re treated on the farm. Canada
is a big country, and sometimes farm animals have to travel a long distance between farms, or to reach a processing plant – for example, many beef calves born in Western Canada may grow up and reach market weight on farms in Ontario. That’s why the federal government reviews and updates the rules around transporting farm animals, including how long they can spend in transit, and how many animals can safely be transported together.
Technology is helping to make travel for livestock better as well. New livestock trailers based on innovations from Europe include access to drinking water and
fans to keep animals cool. As well, more processing facilities are adding “fan walls” – stacks of fans that ventilate the trailers while they’re waiting to be unloaded.
A national initiative called the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) Certi cation Program ensures livestock transporters and the people shipping or receiving livestock are properly trained in good animal handling techniques, during both movement and transport, to avoid livestock injuries and losses. Livestock drivers must take the course and pass an exam every three years to be certi ed under the program.
Pro le
Hayley Mackay
Hayley Mackay is a livestock transport driver
with a trucking company based in Southwestern Ontario. Coming from a dairy farm, Hayley always enjoyed working with animals – and being her own boss. She decided to drive full-time after helping to showcase a new livestock trailer designed to improve animal comfort at farm shows across the country.
“I get to work with animals, and see new places at the same time. It’s always a rewarding thing to see the animals walk out of the trailer relaxed and healthy.” (Hayley Mackay)
A barn  re can be a devastating loss for any farmer and their animals. In most cases, the exact causes of barn  res are unknown, but many are thought to start with barn electrical systems. Dust from animals and their bedding, moisture, and manure gases are
not friendly to electrical components. Many methods to reduce the risk of  re exist; new barn designs, for instance, are built to prevent the spread and severity of a  re if one occurs. Heat-sensing thermal cameras can help farmers determine if electronics are in good working condition, and wireless temperature monitors can send alerts directly to a farmer’s cell phone in case barn temperatures climb too high.
Canada’s dairy farmers have implemented
a national sustainability initiative called proAction. This umbrella program covers milk quality, food safety, animal welfare, livestock traceability, biosecurity, and environmental sustainability. As of September 2017, proAction requires every Canadian dairy farmer to have completed a cattle care assessment before their already standard on-farm audit
by a third-party.
Bethany Atkinson
The Real Dirt on Farming 55
Hayley Mackay

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