The Animal Care Training website offers online courses so farmers and auction personnel can hone their livestock handling skills.
Proper livestock handling and animal care is a major concern for livestock producers and auction personnel. A partnership between Livestock Marketing Association and the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University now allows livestock handlers to fine-tune their handling skills.
The two organizations collaborated to produce the Animal Care Training website, which offers training videos, testing and certification in specific areas of livestock handling.
“With some 35 million cattle and calves and 11 million sheep and swine going through America’s livestock auction markets annually, we feel that the markets are doing a tremendous job, but continuous training is vital for the safety of the livestock we care for and our employees,” says Kristen Parman, LMA’s vice president for membership services.
The training packages on the website include topics such as low-stress animal handling, handling injured or disabled animals, properly moving non-ambulatory animals, safe and responsible euthanasia, and safely working with gates. A section is also geared toward business owners and managers, addressing the need for a coordinated animal-handling or risk-management programs.
The full site, including all training modules, is available in English and Spanish. With no time limits, the training can be completed and made to fit around a hectic work schedule.
Dan Thomson, DVM, director of the BCI and Jones Professor of Production Medicine, says the result of the LMA/BCI partnership is “a novel training platform” for livestock market personnel.
“[LMA members] have understood the importance of animal well-being for a long time, because nobody cares more about the animals than the people who work with them day to day,” he says.
The training available on the website, he adds, provides livestock handlers with easily accessible information to learn the latest best-management practices for animal health and well-being.
According to Parman, the two organizations will continue to collaborate and create online training modules to address key issues facing the livestock industry.