UMASH Success Story: Low Stress Animal Handling

UMASH Success Story: Low Stress Animal Handling

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THE PROBLEM:

A major source of anxiety for the cow or the pig is people. Stressed cattle and pigs are more difficult to handle and this puts workers at an increased risk of injury.

Much of an animal’s anxiety comes from how they are handled. Studies have shown cows handled by an aversive handler had reduced milk efficiency compared to cows with gentle handlers.

The workforce includes many workers with no experience with farm animals and no proper training. Animals learn to recognize individuals and can distinguish between those who treat them gently and those who do not.

THE SOLUTION:

UMASH collaborated with dairy and swine faculty at the University of Minnesota to produce educational materials related to stockmanship or low stress handling.  The bilingual (English and Spanish) resources include 5 short videos demonstrating the techniques used in positive animal handling.

THE IMPACT:

  • Bilingual (English and Spanish) videos with fact sheets and barn posters have been well received by producers, veterinarians and businesses who serve farmers.
  • Featured in Farmers Hotline, Hoards, Agriview, Living in the Country, Blooming Prairie, and other media outlets.
  • Added to Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety™ program delivered to 1,500 college students in 2018.
  • Qualify as ethics training for the FARM 3.0 Program.
  • Used as an in the field training resource on iPads for 2,000 dairy workers in the southwest United States.
  • New Producer Training Guides for dairy and swine operations. These include utilizing the videos with discussion questions, resources and short quiz and a certificate of completion.

Additional education resources include, fact sheets, barn posters and training guides for producers to use with employees.