WA truckies will no longer be responsible for inspecting every individual animal loaded on to their trailers. An amendment has been made to new welfare legislation branded “far too onerous” and placing “unreasonable liability risks” on drivers. WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan last week in Parliament agreed to an amendment of the Animal Welfare Transport Regulations, adding an additional defence for drivers if an animal was found unfit to undertake a journey — a charge which could attract a $15,000 fine. Originally, drivers would have been required to prove they took “all reasonable steps” to ensure the livestock animal was assessed as fit for travel immediately before loading. After the amendment to the legislation, which was introduced on October 2, drivers will instead need to receive a declaration from the owner of the animals stating they are fit for travel and watch them being loaded, but no longer have to individually inspect the animals themselves. The decision came as a relief to South West MLC Steve Thomas, who had moved a disallowance to the regulations, before withdrawing it upon the minister’s commitment to amend them. “A road train carrying a thousand sheep or 200 cattle would take all day to load if the driver had to undertake an inspection of each and every animal, and this would have come at a massive financial cost. “However, if they did not do it, they would potentially have been personally liable for any animal that was found to be unsound and face a $15,000 fine for each one. “I am pleased that Minister MacTiernan has recognised the need to protect drivers, who have little to no capacity to do such detailed inspections. “Without this agreement, livestock transporters faced unreasonable liability risks which would have im-pacted on the viability of some operators.” Ms MacTiernan called it a “good negotiated outcome”, saying it “just wouldn’t be practical” for truck drivers to have to inspect each and every animal. WA Livestock and Rural Transport Association president David Fyfe said while the minister had shown “goodwill”, the amendment did not address all of the industry group’s concerns. “It remains to be seen how ‘reasonable steps’ will be assessed in the broad sense,” he said.