The country’s national livestock carriers association want the entire meat supply chain to play a bigger part in stopping animal waste inadvertently escaping from stock trucks.
The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and its president Mat Munro said the group had put in a submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) calling for graziers and abattoirs to take more responsibility when it comes to animal waste escaping from trucks.
Mr Munro stated:
“Livestock carriers are being held solely and unfairly responsible for the acts and omissions of other parties in the supply chain – namely, the person or entity responsible for preparing livestock for transport,”
The calls were made while the NTC was consulting on the chain of responsibility for “containment and disposal of livestock effluent, penalties and the onus of proof around breaches”. All animals were defined as “goods” under the law.
Mr Munro said at present any waste seepage from the stock truck was being treated as a “load restraint breach”. Mr Munro highlighted,
“We are advised that the main barrier to prosecution under the current laws is the uncertainty about whether or not a person preparing animals for transport is a party in the chain of responsibility as defined under the Heavy Vehicle National Laws,” the ALRTA submission said.
“Our submission to the NTC argues strongly for changes to the construct of the definition of consignor and packer to remove any doubt.”
“While the drivers are being infringed on the road, there is very little they can do about it.”
The ALRTA also noted that a great amount of money was being spent on new abattoirs and saleyards while the need for dumping points and truck washes were being ignored because operators were not legally required to include them.
The president of The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association Victoria, John Beer said while police in Victoria did not take a heavy handed approach, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
“Cattle buyers and feedlotters are buying them full – getting them delivered to the saleyards full – to get them weighed,” Mr Beer said.
“A 12 hour curfew or overnight curfew (on feeding animals) would solve the problem.
Mr Beer also suggested a 5 per cent addition to the weight of the animals be applied at the sale yards, especially since effluent tanks cannot be made any larger.
Victorian police Heavy Vehicle Unit head Senior Sergeant Wayne Culley also weighed in on the issue, saying that police would issue infringements on load breaches “based on their merits.”
Livestock Transporters Association of Tasmanian president Spencer Griggs called for more truck washes throughout the state and a dump point at the Powranna, Tas saleyards.
Mr Griggs said that police periodically carried out operations on carriers who breached the law.
He explained that liveweight selling is a major concern. Having the animals locked up for too long will result in them having too much weight.