Caring for livestock on the road
There’s a lot more to transporting livestock than driving a truck. For Trevor Currie, engaging the public is a big part of the job. Currie has been working for Gateway Carriers, a livestock
transportation company based in Taber, Alberta, since the company began in 1998. He started as a semi-truck driver before moving into dispatching, then eventually became a part owner. In his current role, he also serves as a coordinator for a livestock alert line set up by Alberta Farm Animal Care — a multi-species livestock welfare organization working in Alberta’s agriculture sector.
The Alert Line is a service which farmers and other members of the public can call if they are concerned that there might be an animal welfare issue. While serious issues, such as barn collapses or stray animals, are reported, Currie says that many people calling in may not have experience with farm animals. By consequence, sometimes the reports which they describe are not actually a concern for the animals and farmers involved.
“Sometimes it’s just [that] somebody saw some cattle with snow on their backs, and doesn’t know that’s okay,” says Currie.
“Them calling is an opportunity to sit down and share knowledge with one person. You don’t get help the masses but
you do get to help one-on-one. There’s gratification in helping people who have genuine concerns, and who are looking for
information, for help, and a resolution.”
Currie also takes satisfaction in helping other members of his community to learn new skills in an industry critically important to the local area. This aspect includes hiring. “We can take someone with no experience, bring them into the shop, then move them to a truck as a driver, and eventually helping them own their own truck. We try to provide real world experience and help people develop,” he says, adding that he hopes that more people will learn how much care goes into
“How much we care about the animals we’re hauling is the big thing. The drivers take it personally if things go wrong. They do
everything in their power to make sure things go right.”