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National Biosecurity Standard for Livestock, Poultry and Deadstock Transportation
3.0 Transport of deadstock and rendered material

This section will provide biosecurity guidance that specifically applies to the transportation of deadstock throughout the four phases of transportation (between loads, loading, on the road, and unloading). Many of the biosecurity best practices that are highlighted in section 2 will also apply to this section. In the interest of avoiding redundancies, the reader will be referred to specific sub-sections of section 2 Transport of livestock and poultry when appropriate.

Biosecurity is important when transporting deadstock because deadstock can remain infectious long after an animal has died, and contact with deadstock, their bodily fluids and secretions may transmit pathogens to live animals. Once decomposition begins, liquefied tissues and bodily fluids escape from the body, these fluids, which may be infectious, can be difficult to contain and can easily contaminate the environment, drivers, equipment and the transport unit.

Consider all deadstock pick-up sites as potential source of infection.

These sites are considered high risk whether it is a pile next to a production unit, slaughter facility, salvaging facility or approved provincial or municipal collection site. Deadstock transport units, associated equipment and drivers pose a biosecurity risk to live animal production. For this reason, to mitigate biosecurity risks associated with deadstock collection, it is recommended that deadstock pick-up sites be located away from production sites and have physical barriers and biosecurity protocols.

Ideally, but practically or economically unviable, deadstock transportation events would include a single loading and unloading event. Typically, it is more economically feasible for deadstock transportation events to include several loading locations in one transport event (e.g. multiple farms, slaughter establishments, salvaging facility or other approved provincial or municipal collection sites).

Some provinces and municipalities have legislative requirements associated with the handling and transportation of deadstock to address environmental considerations and social and biosecurity concerns. Deadstock trasnporters are responsible for making sure that they are aware of and are in compliance with these legislative requirements. Since the objective of this document is to provide biosecurity guidance, environmental considerations, public trust and legislative requirements associated with the transportation of deadstock will not be addressed in this section.

Note: There are federal rules governing the transport of cattle (or other bovine animal) from which Specified Risk Material (SRM) has not been removed. SRM refers to certain cattle tissues capable of transmitting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). For information regarding SRM permits, refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

3.1 Risks associated with deadstock transportation

The three biosecurity risks associated with deadstock transportation include:

  • contamination of the driver or transport unit during the loading and unloading phase;
  • contamination of the production site or premises by the driver or transport unit during the loading and unloading phase; and,
  • contamination of the environment when on the road and between loads phases.

In situations where disease is suspected or has been identified and there is an increase in risk, then enhanced biosecurity measures are required to be adopted by the deadstock transporters. The deadstock transporters are encouraged to refer to the biosecurity best practices in this document and work with industry associations, provincial governments and veterinarians to establish enhanced biosecurity measures that will address the disease transmission risks. Examples of enhanced biosecurity measures include:

  • designated transport units, equipment and wash facilities for the transportation of deadstock from infected premises;
  • designated routes that avoid agriculturally dense areas and/or susceptible animal populations; and
  • specific cleaning and disinfection protocols.

3.2 Transport unit design

The transport unit design and construction can help mitigate the biosecurity risks associated with the transportation of deadstock. It is recommended that deadstock transport units (includes the power unit, trailers, containers and loading equipment) be:

  • designed in a manner that allows for cleaning and disinfection (including the wheel wells, undercarriage etc.); and
  • constructed from materials that can withstand repeated cleaning and disinfection.

It is also recommended that trailers and containers used to transport deadstock be:

  • contained – leak- and spill-proof; and
  • covered or closed to prevent access by scavengers.

Biosecurity best practice

  • The deadstock transport unit is designed and maintained to contain carcasses and fluid.
  • The transport unit and associated equipment can be cleaned and disinfected.

3.3 Between Loads Phase

The between loads phase of a transportation event includes the following:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting the transport unit following the previous transportation event;
  • Planning for the next transportation event:
    • identifying pick-up and drop-off locations;
    • considering the biosecurity protocols of customers;
    • identifying and assessing biosecurity risks;
    • planning your route;
    • ensuring that you have required supplies for the next transportation event.

3.3.1 Cleaning and disinfecting the transport unit following the previous transportation event

After unloading at destination (licensed disposal facility or authorized site), it is recommended that the transport unit and associated equipment be cleaned and disinfected. Ensure that the disinfectant that is used will be effective in inactivating potential pathogen(s). The cleaning and disinfection process includes:

  • removing or taking apart equipment (e.g. hoses and chains) so that they can be cleaned and disinfected;
  • disposing of any equipment that may have been exposed to contaminants and can't be cleaned and disinfected;
  • cleaning the transport unit to remove all loose organic matter and then washing it using a detergent;
  • inspecting the transport unit and associated equipment to ensure organic matter has been completely removed following the cleaning step; and,
  • applying a disinfectant at the right concentration and contact time. Follow manufacturer's instructions when storing, mixing and applying disinfectants.

For more information, refer to the subsection 2.4.2 Cleaning and disinfection.

Biosecurity best practice

  • The transport unit and equipment must be completely cleaned and disinfected following each transportation event (i.e. at the completion of the route and unloading of the deadstock).

3.3.2 Planning for the next transportation event

When planning for the next transportation event, consider the customer's biosecurity protocol. For new customers, discuss biosecurity and obtain their deadstock protocols. Consider the following:

  • cause of death (if known) and any medical treatment.
  • the location of deadstock, specifically whether the deadstock are located:
    • within an animal holding facility;
    • next to an animal holding facility; or
    • away from animal holding facilities.
  • the customer's biosecurity protocols; such as
    • the use of dedicated access routes.
  • whether access pathways are clean and kept free of mud, manure and other organic matter.
  • whether the driver is required to handle the deadstock and/or remove them from the production area.
  • the level of decomposition of the animals (fresh dead vs. in decomposition)
  • whether the deadstock are stored in a leak-proof container.

Recognizing that a lot of the logistics are dependent on the economics of deadstock collection, consider biosecurity risks when planning your route. Typically it is preferable to either dedicate a trip to collect high risk deadstock or to collect them last. High-risk deadstock includes those:

  • that may have succumbed to an infectious disease; and
  • from a premises identified as infected by industry and/or provincial or federal authorities.

In addition, when there's a greater likelihood that the transport unit or driver will become contaminated during loading then the recommendation is to collect deadstock from that site last so that you don't risk contaminating the next collection sites. These situations include those where;

  • access pathways are contaminated with manure and other organic matter; and
  • the deadstock are fresh dead vs. in decomposition and cannot easily be loaded into the transport unit (i.e. the deadstock are not stored in a contained bin).

In situations where the driver or transport unit could pose a risk of contaminating the production site, the recommendation is to dedicate a trip to the collection of deadstock from that site or go to that site last. An example would be when the driver must enter the production site to remove deadstock. Although it is recommended that the driver not enter animal holding sites to limit their exposure to contaminated material and prevent contamination of production sites; it is recognized that it may be required in situations where not all customers will have the equipment required to remove deadstock from their facility.

If the driver is required to handle deadstock, then it is recommended that they bring the following for each site:

  • a disposable outer layer of clothing or one that can be cleaned and disinfected;
  • disposable gloves;
  • hats; and,
  • boot covers and/or boots that can be cleaned and disinfected prior to re-entering the transport unit.

If handling of deadstock by the driver is not required, then it is recommended that they bring:

  • disposable gloves; and,
  • boot covers and/or boots that can be cleaned and disinfected prior to re-entering the transport unit.

Store clothing, hats, boots and gloves in a clean location (such as a clean tote or bag) to ensure that they do not become contaminated prior to being used.

3.4 Loading Phase

The customer has a role in deadstock management prior to collection, which can significantly impact the biosecurity consideration for the driver, including:

  • timely deadstock removal before the carcasses reach an advanced state of decomposition;
  • type and condition of deadstock storage:
    • secure from scavengers;
    • leak-proof;
    • ease of loading from contained unit.
  • ensure location of deadstock storage:
    • is situated away from production sites;
    • has dedicated clean access and egress pathways for the deadstock transport unit; and
    • has dedicated pathways for equipment and staff associated with the production site.

3.4.1 Accessing the deadstock collection site

When accessing the deadstock collection site, always follow the premises biosecurity protocols. Refer to biosecurity best practices outlined in the subsection 2.5.1 – Accessing the site.

3.4.2 Entering and exiting the power unit

When entering and exiting the power unit, the driver should follow biosecurity best practices to avoid contaminating the interior of the power unit. Refer to the biosecurity guidance outlined in the subsection 2.5.2 – Entering and exiting the power unit.

3.4.3 Loading deadstock into the transport unit

The biosecurity best practices that apply to a particular deadstock loading event depend on the level of handling required by the driver and whether they need to enter the animal holding sites to remove deadstock.

Biosecurity best practice

  • Deadstock collection sites are situated away from animal holding sites.
  • Minimize the driver's contact with the production site by collecting animals at a location that is away from the production unit.

The biosecurity best practice is to load deadstock from an area situated away from live animal holding facilities to prevent their contamination. It is recommended that staff from the animal holding facility remove deadstock from the production site and place at a designated location for pick up. This limits the driver's contact with the production site.

In situations where the driver must enter an animal production unit to remove a carcass then the biosecurity best practice is to wear a clean outer layer of clothing, hat, boots and gloves that are dedicated to tasks performed at the loading site.

Biosecurity best practice

  • Contamination of the exterior of the transport unit and loading site is minimized and managed during loading.

If there is contamination to the exterior of the transport unit, then it is recommended that the deadstock transporter:

  • moves the transport unit to an area away from the production facility and any pathways leading to or from the production facility;
  • sprays the exterior of the transport unit and any exposed equipment with a disinfectant;
  • uses a brush to remove any visible organic matter and respray those areas with the disinfectant; and,
  • inspects the exterior of the transport unit and equipment to ensure it has been cleaned.

In a situation where the contamination is extensive, abort the route and go directly to your destination.

3.5 On the Road Phase

While on the road, be observant of any spillage or leaks. If you observe leaks, then stop and take appropriate corrective action to stop the leak. It is recommended that transporters carry a spill kit to contain and manage any accidental spills. From a biosecurity prospective, include the following in your spill kit:

  • personal protective equipment (e.g. disposable coverall, eye protection, footwear, gloves, etc.);
  • absorbent material (absorbent clay, fine sand, sawdust), liquid containment tubes, disinfectant and disinfectant sprayer;
  • shovel and broom;
  • disposal bags;
  • duct tape; and
  • a list of emergency contact information in the event of a large spill.

It is recommended that the spill kit be stored in a container with a lid and that its contents be checked regularly to ensure adequate supplies and expiration dates for the kit components.

3.5.1 Stops

Stops should be minimized and avoided when possible due to the high risk associated with transporting deadstock and rendering materials. Good planning can avoid the need to stop at restaurants and gas stations. If stops cannot be avoided:

  • park as far away as possible from live animal transport units;
  • avoid parking on gravel or loose surfaces;
    • park on hard surface that can be decontaminated if leakage of fluids occurs; and,
  • follow the entering and exiting the power unit biosecurity guidance outlined in section 2.5.2.

3.6 Unloading Phase

When accessing the unloading site follow any biosecurity requirements in place at the site. In addition:

  • drive slowly upon arrival to limit the amount of debris that can contaminate the undercarriage and wheel wells;
  • it is recommended that the driver work with someone on site to avoid having to handle the deadstock during unloading. If this is not possible, then personal protective clothing needs to be worn during unloading and disposed of prior to re-entering the power unit; and,
  • unload the deadstock in such a way that prevents contamination of the exterior of the transport unit as much as possible.

If the driver needs to get out of the transport unit, then it is recommended that they wear:

  • footwear that can easily be cleaned and disinfected (for example, rubber boots); and,
  • an outer layer that can be taken off before re-entering the transport unit.

Biosecurity best practice

  • Any disposable personal protective equipment such as boot covers, coveralls and gloves are disposed of on site.

Prior to leaving the site and/or commencing another deadstock pick-up route, it is recommended that the deadstock transport unit be cleaned and disinfected on site. If this is not possible, then it should be cleaned and disinfected at the earliest opportunity in a suitable facility.

Prior to leaving the site:

  • place all potentially contaminated disposable boot covers and outer layers in a sealed bag and dispose of them on site; and,
  • place cleaning brushes in a contained tote or bag that can be sealed prior to disposal.
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