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Minimizing Transportation Stress On Cattle
Transport cattle from one place to another using good stockmanship and keeping animal welfare in mind. It will help reduce sickness in calves, prevent bruises, and improve the quality of meat from these animals.
Dan Buskirk is an extension beef specialist at Michigan State University. He says there are several steps to take care of before cattle step foot onto the truck. They include making sure the trailer is clean, there are no sharp edges, and you follow low-stress loading and unloading protocols. It’s also important that the animals are fed and well-hydrated.
"The only exception to that, they may not be fed if we’re going directly to slaughter but otherwise, we want to make sure that they’re full of both feed and water. Particularly water, make sure that they’re not dehydrated because that’s just going to add to any potential stress.," says Buskirk. "It’s almost impossible to move cattle without some stress, our goal is to make sure that we minimize that stress as much as possible."
There is a human factor for a good ride. The competency of the truck driver is very important.
"The route they want to take, and make sure that the truck and trailer are all ready to go well before livestock even get on the truck so that once they’re on the truck, there’s minimal reasons for stoppage or anything like that," he says. "Make the trip really just as quick as possible. We also want to have a truck driver that understands that they’re hauling livestock and taking corners, you know starting and stopping appropriately for having those livestock on the trailer."
Buskirk says the National Beef Quality Assurance program offers transportation training for both farmers and commercial drivers.