Livestock transporters form coalition to recover losses from 'mad cow' crisis

| 10/14/2003

Ontario’s livestock transporters have formed a coalition to develop solutions for carriers that have been hit hard by a sharp decline in business due to the one isolated case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow disease, discovered in Northern Alberta this past May.

Headed by chairman Greg Hutton of Lloyd Hutton Transport Ltd. in Paisley, Ontario, the group hopes to raise the profile of the plight of Ontario livestock transporters to governments and the public.

“It’s been a tough road since that one case of BSE emerged this past spring,” Hutton says. “A lot of attention has been given to cattle farmers in recent weeks, and we acknowledge that their businesses and livelihoods are at stake, too, and believe me, we sympathize. But, as is often the case, the guys that have invested lots of money into specialized equipment to move live animals appear to have been forgotten.”

Preliminary data suggest that Ontario livestock transporters have suffered declines in cattle and related livestock trucking revenue in the range of 85 percent, with little opportunity to shift to other types of freight, given the specialized nature of the equipment involved.

In addition to appointing a chairman, the coalition has established an executive board, which has developed an action plan to ensure that the difficulties experienced by livestock truckers receive the appropriate attention.

“I believe that we stand a better chance in getting a proper hearing of our views as a united organization, as opposed to lobbying as individual carriers,” notes Hutton.

Ontario livestock carriers interested in joining the coalition are urged to contact Greg Hutton at (519) 353-5601.