Good Facilities and Good Management Key to Animal Welfare

CANADA - An internationally renowned animal behavior specialist and livestock handling facilities designer says a combination of good facilities and good management are key to maintaining adequate animal welfare standards, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 16 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Colorado State University animal science professor Dr. Temple Grandin observes animal welfare has seen vast improvements over the years.

She says people are recognizing the importance of things like low stress handling of cattle and pigs because you get better meat quality with less bruises and, with cattle, it brings great safety advantages.

Dr. Temple Grandin-Colorado State University

People are realizing they've got to have good facilities.

You need to have at least an adequate level of facilities.

If you have state of the art facilities it's going to make handling easier but I'm also very concerned about management.

We've got to get people to calm down, handle animals quietly and get the management.

You need both the good facilities and the management.

Both are really important.

Often times people think well I can just buy the new facility and it's automatic management.

It is not.

You also need to have good stockmanship.

Animals feel fear and, if animals fear people, they're going to be less productive animals.

Dr. Grandin notes small changes in facilities can make big differences.

She says it's important to eliminate the little things that cause fear like too little light or the sight of a shiny reflection or a truck bumper that cause them to balk and she also stresses the importance of non slip flooring.

People working with cattle need to understand the flight zone and point of balance principles. Calm animals are much easier to handle. Animals that are scared and excited are going to be harder to handle, they're going to be more likely to get bruised meat and they're also more dangerous to handle. Hogs again calm handling. The last five minutes in the stunning chute is very critical. You can get pale soft meat if the pigs get excited at that time. It's also very important for producers to get animals used to be handled by people so that, when they get to the plant, they will drive rather than just piling up and squealing.

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