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Cattlemen: Electronic logging on trucks could put livestock at risk

Cattlemen: Electronic logging on trucks could put livestock at risk. (NTV News)

The clock is ticking on a federal mandate some say will make roads safer but livestock grounds are pushing for a delay, saying it will harm animal welfare.

Cattlemen say their industry is unlike any other, and livestock should be treated differently.

"The industry is just not ready to make that jump to electronic logging devices at this point," said Troy Stowater, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association.

They also have concerns about how many hours drivers can spend in service before being required to get off the road.

"And if you have a device that will literally shut the vehicle off and prevent you from driving, say in a cold environment or hot environment, that will be an animal welfare concern for producers," said Jordan Dux of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

It's a concern shared by several livestock grounds, and a bi-partisan coalition of 20 senators who sent a letter this week asking for more time to consider the consequences, after a 90-day delay was already put in place.

"Make it a year-long and allow us to get that hours-of-service correct," Stowater said.

As the epicenter of the cattle industry, many trucks bring cattle from the coasts to be finished and processed in Nebraska.

"There's a feeding corridor in the central part of the U.S. Cattle make a destination from California to Nebraska and Washington state and we can do the math and a lot of us have driven cross-country and 11 hours doesn't get you where you need to be," said Stowater.

The American Trucking Association strongly supports the new regulations. The industry group says it should reduce crashes and cut back on violators who driver longer than they should.

However, farm groups say they also care about safety, but that includes the safety of their livestock, and they say the regulations need to make sense.

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