Cattle comfort promotes dairy-beef quality
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Posted by: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association
to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association and the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program
Animal handling, transportation
and facilities can all contribute to lameness problems in dairy cattle.
Research studies show that lameness results in earlier culling, as well as
lower carcass weight and carcass value.
guidelines in place to minimize lameness problems associated with handling,
transportation and housing facilities. Here are some recommendations from the Dairy Animal Care &
Quality Assurance (DACQA) manual:
- Provide transportation that
minimizes stress, discomfort, and the potential for injury by avoiding
overcrowding, excess time in transit, and improper handling during loading and
- Handle animals quietly and calmly
to minimize stress and reduce the potential for injury. Minimize use of
electric prods. Use other driving aids—such as plastic paddles, sorting sticks,
flags or streamers attached to long handles—to quietly guide and turn animals.
Utilize the cattle’s natural flight zone and point of balance to move them.
- Provide facilities that allow for
the safe, humane and efficient movement and/or restraint of cattle.
- Regularly inspect facilities
(free-stalls, alleys, pens, fences, corrals, load-outs, etc.) to ensure proper
care and ease of cattle handling.
- Provide cattle with adequate space
for animal care, comfort and safety.
- Provide clean, dry bedding and
protection from weather extremes.
- Avoid slippery surfaces,
particularly in high traffic areas.
- Provide employee training to
properly handle and care for cattle, including proper movement and care of
special-needs and non-ambulatory cattle.
The DACQA program is a voluntary,
national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality
animal care practices. These practices assure food safety, quality and value as
well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products that are
harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.
additional information on housing, handling and transportation, refer to the
Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III, animal welfare standards for rearing calves and heifers, from
birth to freshening, across the United States.