Canadian agri-tech developer Transport Genie Ltd. has teamed up with the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) in a national research collaboration supported by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriAssurance Program that will assure the health and welfare of livestock during transport.
The two-year project, led by the CAHC, will test Transport Genie’s innovative smart-sensor technology in real-world conditions with help from researchers at the University of Guelph, University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), plus industry partners in the livestock transport sector across Canada.
CAP is an initiative funded by the federal, provincial and territorial governments aimed at strengthening Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.
“We’re very excited to be working with CAHC and grateful for CAP support which will help us validate Transport Genie technology and support the industry as it develops new animal welfare standards and practices that go beyond the regulatory minimums,” said Joel Sotomayor, President and CEO of Transport Genie Ltd.
Transport Genie monitors microclimate conditions inside livestock trailers and uses blockchain technology to store and share that information with truck drivers and other users along the supply chain in a secure, tamperproof way. The sensors can be configured to monitor variables such as temperature and humidity, as well as CO2 levels and a wide range of other factors, including driving conditions and driver behaviour such as braking and acceleration. They can also be used to control devices such as cooling fans, misters and drinkers to keep animals comfortable and hydrated.The system provides accurate real-time data to drivers who can then make adjustments to resolve any issues without stopping the vehicle.
“Farmers are concerned with the welfare of their livestock and that concern doesn’t end once their animals are in transit. Technology like Transport Genie will enable farmers and truckers to effectively monitor animals in transit to ensure their welfare needs are being met,” said Jennifer MacTavish, CAHC chair.
“This research project will determine whether Transport Genie offers the robust, reliable solution that the industry needs to provide all stakeholders with the assurance that everyone is doing the best they can for animals in transit at every stage of their journey,” she said.
The project begins as the industry prepares for updated regulations governing the humane transport of animals in Canada which come into effect in 2020. The improvements cover everything from maximum travel times to driver training requirements and are intended to ensure that all animals arrive at their destination safely and suitably fed, hydrated and rested.
Researchers will test Transport Genie in long-haul and short-haul conditions across Canada and the United States, summer and winter, in a variety of sensor configurations and trailer designs hauling different species of livestock and poultry.
“Animal welfare during transport is a significant ethical and business issue for the industry,” said Sotomayor. “Transport Genie responds to those concerns and will help improve the agricultural system and build consumer confidence by enabling smart decision making through capturing and sharing data all along the supply chain.”