Police aren’t equipped to handle some livestock situations, one producer said
By Diego Flammini
Beef farmers from Northern Ontario, including representatives from Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO), are setting up infrastructure to help first responders care for livestock after a traffic accident.
An October 2017 incident on Highway 17 resulted in cattle escaping and heading towards Marathon, Ont. After a January 2016 accident on Highway 69, oncoming traffic hit cattle and some of the animals had to be euthanized on the spot.
“The goal is for us to help fire departments and other emergency responders to get cattle off the transports,” Jason Leblond, northern director for BFO, told NorthBayNipissing.com. “With two major highways connecting in North Bay, we see this as an area where we want to be prepared. We have a lot of livestock coming through there from both the east and the west.”
First responders will receive special training in how to remove cattle from a pot-belly trailer. In the case of an accident, farmer volunteers help to ensure livestock are safely contained.
First responders will also receive a 1-800 number to help mobilize volunteers to the right locations.
BFO is contributing to the program.
The organization is purchasing four trailers equipped with 30 metres of gate. Volunteers and emergency responders can use the gates to make a temporary pen for the livestock until another trailer arrives. Each emergency trailer costs about $7,000.
“The fire department has the things necessary to help keep the trailer steady, and then we will start mobilizing the corrals to act like a chute to get (the livestock) right into other trucks,” Leblond said in the article.
Other beef producers support the emergency trailers.
Having the necessary equipment to respond to a similar situation is better than needing it and not having it, said Larry Gough, a beef producer from Middlesex County.
“It’s one of those things where you hope they never have to use the equipment, but you need to be prepared,” he told Farms.com. “I think it would be good for more communities to have something like this in place.
“And it isn’t just highway accidents that can result in cattle escaping. Maybe a farmer forgets to close a gate and some animals get out. It would be good to have things in place to help keep the cattle safe should they get out.”