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Transporters Say Emergency Response Hotline Will Improve Animal Welfare Outcomes after Livestock Truck Crashes

17 Jul 2015 12:33 PM | Deleted user

A new livestock crash assistance hotline aims to improve animal welfare after road accidents.

National Transport Insurance and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) have set up a single phone number that livestock transporters can call if they are involved in a crash.

Once a call centre operator has been contacted, the centre will contact relevant authorities and co-ordinate a response plan on behalf of the operator at the scene.

National Transport Insurance (NTI) industrial relations manager Owen Driscoll said the hotline would improve both road safety and animal welfare.

He said the transport industry currently has an accident assist program in place that manages on-site clean up following a crash.

But Mr Driscoll said there was a need to have a dedicated response plan for incidents involving livestock, which posed unique safety and welfare issues.

"We have an infrastructure to look after the recovery of the vehicle. We have an infrastructure to look after the driver," he said.

"We're extending this program really to be considerate of where the animals are going to be placed post-accident, and what we're actually going to do, in the most humane way."

A truck crash involving livestock may require vet assistance, RSPCA involvement, animal health experts and support from local livestock companies to supply portable yards to contain stock, as well as other emergency services.

Mr Driscoll said the hotline would be designed to co-ordinate a response team catered specifically for the region and the circumstances.

Mark Talbot, who runs a transport business in Western Australia's south-west, said he had never been involved in a crash carrying livestock, but had helped out friends and colleagues who had rolled or crashed.

He said the scene of a livestock transport incident was very traumatic.

"The worst call you're ever going to get in our business is that a vehicle has been involved in an accident somewhere," he said.

"If it's rolled over with livestock on board, obviously that's going to be the biggest catastrophe you can have."

Mr Talbot it was vital for the industry to have a fast, co-ordinated response.

"[A livestock crash] is your worst nightmare," he said.

"To have something in place that we could call upon is certainly going to be a great initiative."

But Mr Talbot said transporters would have to work with the association to make sure each region had people ready to respond.

The livestock crash assist line will be officially launched in the next few weeks.

Full Story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-10/livestock-crash-assistance-hotline/6608380

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