THE Livestock Transporters Association of Victoria (LTAV) is stepping up its efforts to ensure new and upgraded saleyards are built with essential transport considerations in mind.
It says that day and night, in good and bad weather, its 170 members are regular users of all facilities across south-eastern Australia.
The LTAV says with new animal welfare legislation being introduced into Victoria in the next six months and the need to comply with chain of responsibility requirements ensures transport considerations are high on all saleyard agendas.
With new privately-owned saleyards proposed for Wodonga, Ballarat and Warrnambool the association is keen to see covered dirt yards in areas where winter mud is a problem, soft floors to reduce foot soreness, safe and efficient loading ramps, adequate lighting, truck washes, access restrictions and anything that causes delays that impinge on new driver fatigue laws and chain of responsibility.
“Many of our members have seen a huge upgrade in the standard of vehicles used to transport livestock over the past 20 years to ensure stock are delivered in the same condition as when loaded,” said LTAV president Anthony Boyle.
“Due to outdated facilities, not just at saleyards, we have seen the need to prepare stock properly before transporting become a major problem to carriers.
“Poorly prepared stock can be foot sore, dehydrated, stressed due to overcrowding and injured during handling before loading.”
Mr Boyle said new facilities at Echuca, and Carcoar and Forbes in NSW, were of a “quality standard” but still had fundamental flaws stemming from a lack of consultation with end-users.
He said planning covenants requiring all access stopped after 9pm at Echuca was a huge conflict with both new driver fatigue laws and animal welfare legislation. Livestock transporters were not consulted in the planning phase.
Carcoar had problems with a slow liveweight weighing system which delayed load out times, again conflicting with fatigue and animal welfare rules.
“Forbes is recommended as a standard to achieve. It is a very good centre,” Mr Boyle said.
The Central West Livestock Exchange (Forbes) is claimed to be one of the most modern saleyards in the world. It features an award winning design with a strong emphasis on occupational health and safety and animal welfare.
The design incorporates soft floors, automated drafting, raised buyer walkways, water in all cattle pens, with water and feeding facilities available in holding yards for special livestock sales, advanced biosecurity, advanced security with Avdata entry, 24-hour surveillance and good lighting, all undercover. The yards can hold 3000 cattle.
Mr Boyle said thorough planning and consultation with all stakeholders would ensure recommended design standards were met and necessary upgrades to access roads to ensure B-Double standard were included and mistakes avoided.
“New projects should be built to the highest possible standard, not the lowest price,” he said.
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