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B.C. Livestock Response Unit unveiled in Quesnel

The two trailers are equipped with livestock rescue supplies
Emergency Livestock Response Committee chair Bob Miller stands by a Livestock Response Unit trailer unveiled in Quesnel. It is one of two trailers that will provide agricultural producers in the Lower Mainland and Kootenays support during emergencies. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

A livestock emergency trailer providing support during emergencies in B.C. was recently unveiled in Quesnel.

The trailer is one of two containing specialized equipment for livestock producers in the Kootenays and the Lower Mainland to capture and contain animals and support their movement out of dangerous situations.

It was on display Saturday, Sept. 17, at Alex Fraser Park, where the BC Angus Association hosted its annual general meeting and field day.

“The intent and the purpose of these trailers is they would be taken to the scene whenever there’s a stock trailer and cattle liner accident or rollover on a highway or road,” said Ownership Identification Inc. general manager Bob Miller. “Unfortunately, they occur —we just don’t know where and when.”

The Emergency Livestock Committee is chaired by Miller and has representatives from Horse Council BC, BC Cattlemen’s Association, BC Association of Cattle Feeders and AgSafe BC. It was struck several years ago after Miller said the province’s only RCMP officer of the Provincial Livestock Section returned from a weekend course on large animal emergency response in Alberta.

“He came back and inspired us as industry reps to look into this seriously, and so we did,” Miller added. “It’s been five years in the planning and putting forward a funding proposal to government that we finally received this past spring.”

Read More: Back Country Horsemen train first responders on emergency livestock response

B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food confirmed funding for the pilot was provided by the provincial and federal governments.

In an email, a ministry spokesperson noted the trailers would be stationed in the Fraser Valley and East Kootenays.

Each trailer will be equipped with livestock rescue supplies such as horse and cow halters, sorting and panels and tools. They will also carry supplies for producers like a first aid kit, safety and protective clothing and a fire extinguisher.

“The trailer for the East Kootenays was chosen based on the high number of liner activity along the Highway 3 corridor as well as the recent incidence of accidents,” the spokesperson said. “The trailer destined for the Lower Mainland will have an equine focus.”

The trailer’s mobile capabilities will allow the units to be deployed to other regions during emergencies if needed.

“Two in the entire province is not much, but it’s a start,” Miller said. “I hope they garner enough industry interest so we can internally at least fund a few more. In my world, I would like to see one in the near future in the Prince George, Williams Lake and Kamloops area.”

In Alberta, the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association lists 18 locations of emergency livestock handling equipment trailers equipped with everything producers would need in the event of a livestock emergency, including a cattle liner rollover, barn collapse and barn fire.

Read More: No injuries after truck with horse trailer goes off road near Quesnel

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