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Copyright © 2014
Angus Journal

Handling Livestock in an Emergency

BQA session offers tips to emergency-response personnel, cattlemen in how to best handle cattle and want-to-be helpers in an emergency situation.

Brett Stuart

Curt Pate (left) and Ron Gill offer tips to emergency-response personnel and cattlemen in how to best handle cattle and want-to-be helpers in an emergency situation. ”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 4, 2014) — Could you provide effective assistance at the site of an accident involving a truck or stock trailer loaded with cattle? A wrong response, no matter how well-intentioned, can endanger humans as well as the animals involved. With that in mind, a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training session for law enforcement officials and other emergency personnel, as well as cattle producers, was offered Feb. 4 during the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention, in Nashville, Tenn. Attendees were schooled in procedures for freeing animals trapped in vehicles, containing animals running loose, and administering humane euthanasia to severely injured animals.

Texas AgriLife Extension Educator Ron Gill and stockmanship clinician Curt Pate talked potential first-responders through several scenarios, imparting tips for understanding animal behavior. Frightened cattle running loose in the wake of an accident is one of the most common situations first-responders might face. Gill said animal panic is only worsened by sirens, flashing lights and a throng of yelling, arm-waving people. Sometimes one or more panicked animal ends up being shot when that scenario might have been avoided. Sometimes humans are hurt or killed by panicked animals.

“Giving stressed animals some space and allowing them to calm down for 30 to 45 minutes is often the best approach,” advised Gill. “A crowd of people wanting to help, but not knowing how to do it, can be a big problem.”

Pate related an experience involving the rollover of a truck hauling fat cattle that occurred in a busy downtown area. Plenty of people wanted to do the right thing. Very few were, because it wasn’t a coordinated effort.

“One person needs to take charge and control the actions of people,” said Pate.

Among the recommendations offered by Pate and Gill were the following:

Pate and Gill also demonstrated low-stress stockmanship techniques for keeping animals calm while herding, penning or loading into a trailer.

J.K. Shearer, of Iowa State University, talked about humane euthanasia of severely injured animals, describing the proper technique for using firearms or a captive bolt device.

Editor’s Note: The above article was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. It may not be reprinted without express permission of the Angus Journal. To request reprint permission, contact the editor at 816-383-5200.

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