A.H.C. developing improvements for livestock transport

by Bryan Salvage
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DENVER — American Humane Certified, which defines itself as the nation’s leading animal-welfare monitoring and humane-labeling program for food products, plans to assemble a panel of experts in animal handling, animal science, veterinary medicine and transportation-equipment manufacturing to develop improved welfare standards for design, technology and monitoring of livestock transportation. American livestock transportation equipment meeting these standards will be recognized with the American Humane Gold Award.

A.H.C. will begin monitoring the research and testing of a new humanely designed trailer, which was introduced at the recently held World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Advanced Livestock Transport, a new U.S. livestock trailer company, has imported its first trailer into the U.S. from trailer manufacturer Castañe of Spain, for introduction to the American pork industry, as well as other species that are transported by truck. A.L.T. is the first transport company to sell equipment in North America that complies with European Union regulations on animal welfare, according to a news release.

Texas Tech University, under the direction of Professor John McGlone will conduct research on the A.L.T. trailer. Data to be tracked include the rates of dead on arrival, as well as non-ambulatory and non-injured pigs compared to other transportation equipment designs. A.L.T. has engineered temperature controls designed to reduce the rate of dead and downed pigs.

Increased floor space is another trailer feature, which provides science-based space allowances and an elevator to eliminate the need for ramps. The trailer includes on-board G.P.S. tracking and temperature and video monitoring of animals during transport. The early research is expected to be completed by late 2009.

Certifying transportation equipment is a reintroduction of American Humane’s historic "Gold Award" for humanely-designed transportation equipment. It was first awarded in 1887 to the A.C. Mather Co. for its improved cattle rail car. Throughout the decades, American Humane has worked closely with the livestock and transportation industries to develop humane methods and equipment that improve animal welfare during transport. More historical information can be found at http://www.americanhumane.org/about-us/who-we-are/history/farm-animals.html

"American Humane has been involved in creating more humane conditions for animals in transport since our founding in 1877," said Tim Amlaw, director of American Humane Certified. "It is fitting that we revisit our legacy and once again recognize humane practices in the transportation of livestock."

After completion of the livestock transportation standards and in-depth review by the American Humane Certified Scientific Advisory Committee, the standards will be publicly available on American Humane Certified’s web site, www.thehumanetouch.org.

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