The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted truck drivers who haul livestock and poultry a one-year exemption from a tougher “hours-of-service” rule that took effect on July 1 a year ago.
The 2013 regulation requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of service.
"Pigs don't sweat, so we can't have them sitting on a truck for 30 minutes in the height of summer,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa.
For drivers transporting livestock and poultry, the hours of service also included loading and unloading animals.
The National Pork Producers Council, on behalf of a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations, requested the exemption.
"This is an important development for the food-animal industry, particularly the pork industry," Hill said.
"We recognize the need for our drivers to be safe on the road, and we're pleased that D.O.T recognized that the rule presented an animal welfare issue for us," Hill said. He thanked Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for efforts to secure the exemption.