The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted a one-year exemption from an hours-of-service rule for truck drivers hauling livestock and poultry. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), on behalf of a coalition of livestock and poultry organizations, requested the exemption to the rule which took effect last July 1.

The regulation requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of service. For drivers transporting livestock and poultry, the hours of service included loading and unloading animals.

"This is an important development for the food-animal industry, particularly the pork industry" said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. "Pigs don't sweat, so we can't have them sitting on a truck for 30 minutes in the height of summer.

"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," said Hill, who thanked Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for recognizing the importance of the issue for livestock farmers and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his efforts to secure the exemption.