Reduce livestock related injuries

March 8, 2009 07:00 PM

Farmers and ranchers who work with livestock need to stay vigilant around those animals.

"Most ranchers and farmers who have cattle and horses like working with animals and interacting with them,” says North Dakota State University Extension Service veterinarian Charlie Stoltenow. "The more they work with cattle and horses, the more comfortable they become around the animals. And with that comfort, producers sometimes take their animals for granted. This is a serious and dangerous mistake. Worker safety around cattle and horses requires respect for the animals and concentrating on the task at hand.”

Data collected in Colorado from 1997 to 2006 indicated that riding horses, sorting/penning cattle and using livestock-handling equipment resulted in the highest rates of injury among cattle/livestock producers and cattle dealers. The study found that livestock were responsible for the highest percentage of nonfatal agricultural injury claims. Livestock were responsible for 27% of cattle dealers' injury claims and 22% of claims from cattle/livestock producers. Livestock injuries represented the highest proportion of high-cost injuries ($5,000 or more) and the highest proportion of high-severity claims (28 or more days of paid disability). Of those, horses were involved in 38% of injuries for cattle/livestock producers and 27% of injuries for cattle dealers.

A 2002 Kentucky Department of Health Services study indicated that 50% of cattle-related injuries involved cattle confined for medical procedures or for loading and transport.

To read more on the various research, follow this link.

So what can you do to reduce livestock-related injuries? Here are a few recommendations for handling livestock:

  • Teaching proper animal-handling techniques based upon animal behavior
  • Attending a course in low-stress handling of livestock
  • Using well-designed confinement facilities and equipment
  • Reducing noise and stress when working with animals
  • Making sure only family members of an appropriate age and physical ability undertake livestock-handling tasks

For questions or comments, e-mail Kim Watson, editor Beef Today.
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