The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and National Transport Insurance (NTI) have launched LivestockASSIST – a 24hr national hotline to coordinate emergency responses to incidents involving heavy vehicles carrying livestock.
ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said that the new service is an important addition to the industry’s end-to-end animal welfare strategy.
“Over the past year the ALRTA has taken a quantum leap in our approach to driver safety and animal welfare,” said President Keenan.
“Last January we merged our TruckCare program with the industry leading TruckSafe program. In July we launched our National Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards”.
“These programs aim to prevent safety and welfare incidents from occurring in the first place”.
“LivestockASSIST establishes a rapid national emergency response service so that we can minimise harm to drivers and animals in the rare event when things do go wrong,” he said.
NTI National Technical Manager, Rob Waas said that LivestockASSIST is built around NTI’s successful AccidentASSIST service but is tailored for the specific needs of the livestock sector.
“LivestockASSIST includes the usual response options such as vehicle recovery, medical assistance, driver repatriation, trauma counselling and message referral services. However, there are also special requirements when an incident involves livestock,” said Mr Waas.
“Most importantly, special skills and equipment are needed to recover livestock from the vehicle, round up escaped animals that may be in shock and to make decisions about veterinary services”.
“Together with the ALRTA we have established a network of local contacts with the expertise to respond rapidly and as appropriate,” he said.
ALRTA Vice President and Chair of the ALRTA National Animal Welfare Committee, Graeme Hoare, thanked NTI for their hard work to establish the new service.
“The Australian community is increasingly conscious about animal welfare issues. When incidents occur on the roadside they are highly visible and just about everyone out there has a camera in their pocket”, said Vice President Hoare.
“LivestockASSIST will help protect our industry by demonstrating that we are serious about preventing incidents from happening and about dealing with them properly when they do occur.”
“NTI has been a long-term national sponsor of the ALRTA and their commitment to establishing LivestockASSIST demonstrates a deep understanding of the livestock transport task,” he said.
The ALRTA and NTI have distributed information packs to all members including stickers for trucks and trailers.
The hotline is free to use for all livestock transporters or anyone else at the scene of an incident.
The national number is 1800 4 ALRTA (or 1800 4 25782).
Any direct costs incurred relating to vehicle damage, stock loss, site clean-up, towing etc are the responsibility of the operator or their insurer.
Featured Image: Graeme Hoare, Rob Waas, Kevin Keenan
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.