Local News

Vet calls for tighter rules to keep pigs from falling from trucks

Posted May 12, 2011 6:06 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2011 2:15 p.m. EDT

— A veterinarian with North Carolina State University says he's tired of treating pigs that fall out of trucks, and he wants stricter regulations to address the issue.

Dr. Alan Cannedy, a special species veterinarian at N.C. State's College of Veterinary Medicine, said pigs fall from transport trucks onto highways more than people realize. He said he is called at least once a month to treat swine injured in transit.

"Broken legs are very common, (as is) the road rash that you see, those scrapes and bruises," Cannedy said. "That's just the surface of the problem that they are dealing with."

Internal injuries usually aren't found until after the animal is dead, he said.

Two months ago, five pigs fell from a truck on Interstate 40 in Durham County, slowing traffic as police and animal control officers tried to round them up.

A man who found a piglet with a broken leg on a highway in Wilson called Cannedy this week seeking treatment for the animal. The pig had to be euthanized, he said, because the leg would never be strong enough to support the animal's weight as it grew.

"In my opinion, we need more strict regulations in place," Cannedy said. "We know that pigs, contrary to what people might think, cannot fly. If we can get these guys to keep those doors shut, (the pigs) won't be flying out and essentially landing in the laps of someone's vehicle and causing even more serious problems."

Deborah Johnson, chief executive of the North Carolina Pork Council, called incidences of pigs falling out of trucks rare, noting more than 43 million swine move on highways statewide each year. The industry sets "very high training standards" for people who transport pigs, she said.

The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said there are no state regulations for transporting animals other than to prevent disease. The industry has transport policies that are well policed, officials said.