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Feedlot Management

2009-03-18

It’s no secret that hauling livestock has evolved, with commercial hauling able to move animals thousands of miles. Animal rights groups are increasingly using donations to lobby for restrictive care and handling of livestock. Where that fails they turn to shipping. A clear example is banning horse slaughter in the US and when that didn’t stop now it’s a focus on hauling horses. 

Whatever personal views are on that topic are your own, but these groups do not have the welfare of the animal in mind nearly as much as their own agenda. As the economy gets worse there’s more pressure to make every dollar and mile count and in the end the driver will pay for mistakes.

In Canada it is a federal offence to “cause suffering to any animal during loading, transport or unloading.” In the eyes of some this is the very act of shipping that “causes suffering”. In the US according to the American Veterinary Medical Association “Care must be observed when loading and unloading livestock to avoid injury and stress. Physical abuse of animals must not be tolerated under any circumstances.” Keep in mind for many “physical abuse” includes use of ‘hot shots’ and whips or canes.

Any animals not sound to ship should not be loaded and if pressured to load one a supervisor should be alerted. Document everything including that the animal was loaded under protest. If later it comes back as a situation he said/she said it will surely go against the hauler. Rough handling of animals results in bruising which devalues the meat.

Knowing regulations is important also. Loads of cattle traveling from Canada to the US for slaughter will have the load sealed – preventing legal unloading of animals except by an authorized person at the destination. If you have vehicle issues or are at the time limit they need to be unloaded this is a factor.

 

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