The holidays are upon us and for many of us that means traveling. When I wrote this post, I was traveling on I-70 from MHK to Dayton, OH on my way to visit my future in-laws. Sometimes the Ninja and I can make the trip in 12 hours and sometimes it takes a lot longer (thank you St. Louis) but one thing is constant on the long haul – the presence of semi-trucks.
Semi-trucks sometimes frustrate people because they have a tendency to tie up traffic. However, semis play a vital role in the food production cycle, from farm to fork. For example, semis transport finished hogs from farms in Minnesota to slaughter plants in Iowa. The end-products of those processing plants are delivered to food retailers all over the nation. Without semitrucks and truck drivers, the amount of time it takes for a pork chop to travel from a plant in Iowa to your plate would drastically increase.
Many truckers who haul livestock have completed a Trucker Quality Assurance (TQA) or Certified Livestock Transporter (CLT) program. Such programs are designed to train truck drivers how to implement low-stress practices into handling, loading/unloading and transporting livestock. One such program, designed by DNL Farms of Saskatchewan, Canada, is the Low-Stress Pig Handling for Truckers Online Training Course. According to Nancy Lidster of DNL Farms, pigs that are handled poorly or that become stressed during transport can cost the pork industry several million dollars per year. Training truckers how to handle pigs in a low stress manner can help prevent losses due to poor handling and transport stress and thereby increase animal well-being.
DNL Farms has been teaching animal handling practices since 2000. Their videos don’t replace a standard TQA program but enhance and build upon previously learned knowledge. The video course uses footage gathered from the inside of semis in order to instruct truckers how to properly move and handle hogs. All course material is reviewed by pork industry experts ranging from producers to packers to trucking company representatives.
If you’d like to learn more about DNL Farms or the Online Training Course click here.