Trucking industry issues warning to vegan protesters


Crouch and Keenan urge welfare activists to stay out of the way of livestock trucks

Trucking industry issues warning to vegan protesters
Protesters are being reminded of heavy vehicle blind spots.

 

The trucking industry is asking vegan activists in Victoria to keep their distance from livestock vehicles for their own safety.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Livestock Transporters’ Association (ALRTA) have issued a joint warning to protesters to stay well away from livestock trucks to avoid accidents.

The call comes as animal rights activists prepare to launch a five-day protest in Victoria this week.

ATA chairman Geoff Crouch says protesters should remember that livestock drivers are subject to tight fatigue controls under the guidelines set by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and any delay as a result of these protests could affect their schedule in the busy Christmas period.

"Heavy vehicles have blind spots immediately behind the trailer, immediately in front of the bonnet and to the left and right of the doors," Crouch says.

"Protesters need to stay out of these blind spots and away from our equipment for their own safety."

"In the run up to Christmas, our hard-working professional drivers do not have the luxury of taking time off to protest.

"They are hard at work and have to comply with the NHVR’s fatigue requirements.

"Even a short delay in getting to their destination could mean that they have to spend another night away from home and their families because they are out of work hours."

ALRTA president Kevin Keenan says the livestock transport industry takes a proactive approach to safeguarding animal welfare and now has an end-to-end system in place.

"Caring for live cargoes is a unique part of the rural road transport task that is under constant scrutiny by markets, governments and the community," Keenan says.

"During the past three years, our National Animal Welfare Committee has examined our role in the supply chain and championed several important new initiatives.

"For example, we have published national guidelines on the safe design of ramps and forcing yards, conducted a thorough review of the TruckSafe Animal Welfare Module and established LivestockASSIST – a 24hr national hotline dedicated to coordinating emergency responses.

"On top of that, all supply chain parties must adhere to the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock and we have taken a strong stance to support mandatory application of electronic stability control on new trucks and trailers to reduce on-road risks.

"Our sector now has a holistic approach to promoting positive animal welfare outcomes that commences with vehicle selection, livestock preparation, through loading, transport, unloading and emergency responses in the rare event that things go wrong.

"We are proud of who we are and what we do.

"We expect our member operators to uphold the highest possible animal welfare standards at all times."

"Unfortunately, some individuals with a philosophical opposition to meat production would rather ignore the positive action being taken by industry."

Keenan urges activists to engage in peaceful protests instead of blocking trucks carrying livestock or engaging in other acts that jeopardise their own safety and the safety of livestock drivers and the animals.

"Climbing on trucks, yelling and shining bright TV lights is not only unsafe but is also incredibly stressful for the animals."

"If the activists must, I urge them to protest peacefully and at least have some regard for their own safety, the safety of our drivers and the immediate welfare of the animals."

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