Precautions to Take When Hauling Livestock in Warm Weather
With summer approaching, it’s time to think about precautions you can take when hauling livestock in warm weather. Livestock have a lower tolerance to heat and humidity than humans, and often have limited means for cooling themselves.
There are two factors to consider when hauling in warm weather: heat and humidity. The relative humidity affects animals’ ability to cool by evaporation. The more moisture there is in the air, the less evaporation that occurs, and as a result, less cooling benefit to the animal. As the air temperature increases, cooling becomes more important.
Horse transportation comes in a variety of services and providers. Some specialize in race or show horses. In order to legally transport those specialty horses, these providers must have specific insurance and licensing. Some providers specialize in local transport, while others offer international transportation services. What is the right type for you?
Local transport. Local transport can be anything from a ‘taxi’ service to and from the vet, or shipping a horse from a seller to its new owner in a nearby town. While the same considerations for your horse’s health and safety should be taken, shorter trips can require slightly less advance preparation and may or may not require health certificates and brand certificates if the trip won’t change states.
Interstate transport. Interstate transport services typically follow a schedule. The schedule can be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly and service a geographic area including multiple states. For instance, a Northwest provider might service Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. While these trips may be relatively short – from a few hours to a day or two – the preparation and paperwork requirements are similar to those of longer distance hauling. Be ready to provide health, brand, and Coggins test certificates for your hauler.
National transport. Because of the wide area that is serviced by national transport services, their schedules tend to be weekly or bi-weekly. National transport service requires greater preparation and planning. Shipping your horse for further distances will require more paperwork too. Work closely with your national transportation service to determine the paperwork required. Plan this type of transportation well in advance to provide enough time for certifications, vaccinations, dietary changes, and scheduling.
International transport. International transport services provide shipping of your equine to different countries. Any time your horse is transported to or by way of another country, travel requirements can be more complicated. For instance, transporting your horse to Canada (or through Canada to Alaska) requires that any packaged feed or medication be in unopened packages. International transport schedules vary depending on destination and service type.
Transporting horses, especially over long distances, can be a large undertaking. Entrusting a stranger with the task of hauling your horse is scary. Use the following guidelines when selecting a transportation service:
Always verify a hauler’s credentials. Transporters must be licensed by the USDOT and must display their license number on their website and business cards. You can verify the license of your prospective hauler by visiting: http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnapshot.aspx
Ask the hauler what their feed and water policy is for long-distance hauling. If a hauler simply says that they provide feed and water, that is not enough. Horses often refuse water while en route. It is not uncommon for a horse to become dehydrated during transport. Look for a service that includes stops every 3 to 4 hours so your horse will have a chance to rest and rehydrate.
Verify the transportation schedule. Look for a hauler who can meet your deadline. However, make sure that you and the transportation service account for rest stops and overnight rest. Providing sufficient rest for both the driver and your horse helps ensure your horse arrives safely.
Ask to see the equipment used to haul your horse. Will your horse be in a separate stall with no contact with other horses? Is the trailer enclosed for winter travel or well vented for summer travel? If you have the opportunity to see the transportation provider’s, perform the same type of check of their equipment that you would of your own. Check the tires for sufficient tread. Ask to see a road-side safety kit. Check the trailer for solid flooring. Reputable transporters will be happy to walk you through their truck and trailer and answer your questions.
Ask the provider for references. It is not enough to see the testimonials that the provider lists on their webpage. Ask for contacts and follow-up with those contacts. Especially seek references from people who’ve used the transporter for similar jobs to the one you need. If you are having a mare and foal delivered, ask for references of other mare and foal deliveries.
A reputable transportation service will gladly answer any of your questions and show you their equipment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you are placing precious cargo in their hands.
According to the Modern Tire Dealer, technology is in development for a microchip to be implanted in tires. Tire dealers can use the chips for inventory reasons while the technology could also mean tracking rigs. The chips could be used not only in large truck tires but passenger tires and light and medium truck tires.
The chip can monitor a variety of conditions such as tread depth, tire pressure and temperature. However it can also give business information that some would not want accessible.
To a further degree, if it communicates such information it can also communicate where the truck is, how long it has been moving and other information. For agriculture use combined with microchips from the NAIS ,that the government wants to implement, this can mean they can also tell how many animals, what species, where you are and how long they have been on board. Many small farmers and private owners are not embracing the microchip technology.
Technology, like anything can be used for good reasons and be a source of abuse of power. Will this technology take off? The chips themselves aren’t expensive but the readers aren’t cheap. In addition to the chip and the scanner the business could need a PDA and Bluetooth technology.
The information itself can be an issue for some shippers who would rather not have the government riding shotgun. The more regulation involved the easier it can be but the less flexible also. If you aren’t in an area to pull over to unload animals and it’s an extra hour road time before you can then will someone press cruelty charges? If technology “tells” the tread depth from 15 feet away and your tires are slightly over, is that a reason to be pulled over by law enforcement? On the other hand it can mean finding a stolen trailer or vehicle.
How much technology you want on your farm or business is still an individual choice but it is changing all the time.