As we enter the dog days of summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) it seems like summer just arrived, but I am already looking forward to the cooler weather that fall will bring soon. This summer has brought about some wild weather here in Alberta as we have experienced extensive drought and wicked and wild summer storms that have brought hail and floods that have destroyed crops that survived drought conditions. Seems are farmers just can’t catch a break as many sell off their livestock in response to lack of pasture and skyrocketing hay costs for the upcoming year. Unrelenting heat waves have swept across North America and shattered records across Europe.
Extreme weather conditions are one of the most challenging and dangerous aspects of animal transport - heat stress being the most deadly. I was just out visiting some poultry facilities in eastern Canada the last week of July and was very impressed with how one particular company has developed an Extreme Temperature Management Program to keep their birds as safe as possible during the summer heat. Management has daily calls to monitor current weather conditions and determine daily actions for mitigating risk to the animals. These action items include decreasing loading density, delays in loading, rescheduling of load outs and even shutting down the processing plant(s) for the day if it is deemed unsafe to transport the birds. Great care and attention is also given to the birds once they arrive at the plant with banks of fans moving cooling the birds, the provision of shade, misting systems in some facilities and at times keeping the birds moving on the road to keep air flowing and birds cooling. As winter blows in the coming months (yuck) the same considerations and mitigations will occur when temperatures fall to levels that can also threaten the welfare of the birds. As transporters we must always be as diligent as possible in mitigating the risk to animals in our care and do what is best for the animals, even if it may be at a cost to us. Our goal must always be that all animals arrive at their destination healthy and experiencing as minimal stress as possible! We have secured our dates for our 2016 Annual Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Mark off April 3 - 6th, 2016 on your calendars to join us! Speaker recommendations and request are already coming in - Let us know if you would like to speak or have a topic/speaker recommendation for us!