The transportation of cattle, sheep and pigs has changed considerably over the years with livestock hauliers having to adhere to a number of rules and regulations in order to ensure the safety of their cargo.
There are livestock hauliers out there who have been involved in this line of work for generations now and for this month’s edition, we profile one such business.
Sean Whelan Livestock Haulage Ltd is based in Ballinarrid, Bonmahon, Co Waterford and the company has been in business for the past 20 years, but the Whelan family have been involved in the transportation of livestock for many years before that.
Sean operates two trucks and specialises in hauling cattle and pigs for a large customer base. Through his knowledge of livestock, he also buys a lot of stock for farmers and this sees him travel the length and breadth of the country.
Sean Whelan Livestock has established itself as a leader in its field by providing a service that has no equal in terms of reliability, value-for-money and excellence. Sean’s state-of-the-art fleet can deliver livestock all over the country.
“I have a 161 Scania R560 which pulls a Pezzaioli livestock trailer. This is used as a triple-decker for pigs and a double decker for cattle. I also have a 05 DAF which pulls a drag trailer. I usually drive the latter when I’m on the road,” said Sean.
Manufactured in the North of Italy Pezzaioli are Europe’s largest livestock trailer manufacturer producing 480 units per year.
“I was one of the first in Southern Ireland to get one of these trailers and it has just been a brilliant trailer for us.”
In order to run an efficient service, Sean stresses that the fleet must always be kept in excellent working condition and to achieve this, he places a huge emphasis on maintenance.
“When you’re dealing with livestock, you can’t afford to have any breakdowns,” he says. “That is why we keep our fleet as fresh as possible. We carry out the 12-week check which is crucial for a business like ours where our trucks are on the road a lot of the time.”
Animals and livestock in particular don’t have that facility to tell us if they are uncomfortable, too warm or thirsty, so that is why there are stringent regulations in place from the Department of Agriculture and the Health & Safety authority to look after the welfare of livestock.
“Our trailers have automatic ventilation and automatic watering systems. They are cleaned thoroughly after every trip. Animal welfare is very important to us. All animals are handled with due care and attention, and we are always going to great lengths to ensure their journey is as stress free as possible. We don’t pack cattle, simple as that. I’ve never been into overloading and that will never change.”
Over the last number of years, legislation and regulations have evolved and although they may have created more work for the haulier, the changes have been for the good.
“I have seen many changes in this industry over the years and even though there is a massive amount of paperwork involved these days, the industry is being run a lot tighter and more efficient.
“There is traceability on every animal you carry right from when its loaded until we deliver to wherever it may by going. There are more courses to make hauliers aware of what needs to be done and this is all for the welfare of the animals which I agree with.”
Sean revealed that they are busy all the time, such is the customer base that they have built up over the years. “We are always busy, which is a good thing, so we have a fairly extensive customer base at this stage.”
What has separated them from many outfits that have fallen by the wayside, however, is the extensive knowledge and experience they have gained down through the years and their unwavering commitment to providing their clients with a trustworthy and reliable service.
Needless to say, the firm holds all the required licenses and certificates needed to operate a livestock transportation business. It also holds full livestock transportation insurance in the unlikely case of an accident taking place.
They make sure all animals are handled with due care and attention and they always make sure that their journey is as stress free as possible.
This approach has helped the company to stand the test of time and should continue to serve them well looking ahead to the future.
Transporting livestock is a competition intense market which is why Sean leaves no stone unturned in how his company go about their business.
“Transporting livestock used to be a specialised service but not anymore. Competition is intense but we strive to provide the best service possible with the best trucks and trailers possible.”
Sean added that he has no plans to expand as he is busy enough from one end of the week to the next. Family life also takes a priority for this Waterford man.
“No I don’t have any plans to expand, we have plenty of work on at the moment and as long as that continues, we will be happy enough.
Sean Whelan Livestock Haulage
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 5, August 2018