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ALTA gets busy on livestock effluent

Education is the key to tackling effluent spills, ALTA Executive Director Philip Halton says

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 18, 2010

The only way to tackle effluent spilling is to educate farmers and businesses on good livestock preparation, Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) Executive Director Philip Halton says.

ALTA will conduct a pilot program in Inverell, NSW, early next year with the NSW Farmers Association, farmers and businesses on preventing effluent leaking.

Workshops will be held at town halls, demonstrating the effects of preparing animals for transport.

The Federal Government funded the project with a $17,050 grant.

“This is a learning process; it’s one of the examples of responsibility causing changes in how customers interact with transport companies,” Halton says.

“Traditionally, some farmers pretty much expect the truck to turn up and take the cattle; they haven’t been in partnership with the trucking operator about what it takes to do things professionally and safely.”

ALTA will look at how stock travel and effluent amount when the stock are penned and fed dry food before transport.

Fact sheet and guidelines have been sent out by livestock companies, with positive feedback received, Halton says.

“We’ve got some members who have started taking photos of their trucks showing customers the difference in how much effluent there is in a truck when the animals are prepared correctly opposed to when they’re not,” Halton adds.

“That makes life for the driver a whole lot better is the amount of time you have to spend washing out, how hard that job is and how much mess you get covered in, all gets reduced which is pretty helpful to the actual driver and very importantly it may not end up spilled on the road.

“The laws of biology are not going to change but if we can improve the amount of effluent that is going to come out during transport and in particular on the road, I think is a very good improvement.”

The grant was approved through the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy and is seen as an important adjunct to the implementation of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines- Land Transport of Livestock.

Excessive effluent discharged during transport of livestock creates a greater risk of ‘downers’. Stock that stands in thick, effluent slurry can slip and fall more easily, leading to stress, bruising and sometimes deaths.

Effluent spill also poses disease and biosecurity risks, which have been identified as weed seed transfer, animal disease transfer within the livestock population and disease transfer from livestock to humans.

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