Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tribunal upholds $6,000 trucker fine

An Alberta hog trucker has lost his appeal of a $6,000 fine imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The tribunal ruled this week that the government inspectors justified in fining Keith Stephenson, owner of Western Commercial Carriers Ltd., because he loaded too many hogs on his tractor-trailer on a hot day in the Peace River area of Alberta.

He loaded 271 pigs into a trailer with capacity for 288, but because the day was hot and humid, he should have reduced the number by at least 10 per cent and, as matters turned out, probably 25 per cent.

At 10 per cent below capacity, he should have loaded only 250.

Stephenson, who had more than 25 years of experience as a livestock trucker, said he left 10 to 11 market-ready hogs behind because he was concerned about the heat when he loaded the truck early on Canada Day, 2012.

He drove from Falher, Alta., and two Peace Pork Co. hog barns, towards Langley,B.C., stopping to spray the pigs to cool them down and continuing to drive at night to keep air moving through the trailer.

But the temperature spiked at about 40 Celsius that day.

He arrived at the Britco Pork packing plant between one and two a.m.

When the pigs were unloaded in the morning, 30 were found dead and one was euthanized.

The appeal was heard by David Buckingham of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal.

Besides, if he drove all day and half the night, isn't that another serious violation of trucking regulations?