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Handling Large Animals Safely Fact Sheet

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Regardless of the types of animals you raise on your farm, complacency and the feeling of being safe in their presence may leave you off guard. Injuries usually occur when the victim does not expect it. All animals should be considered unpredictable. A lack of knowledge of animal behaviour could put a handler into dangerous situations. Thousands of animal related injuries occur each year, some even resulting in death. Don't overlook the importance of safety around livestock particularly with inexperienced employees and family members. Some of the most common injuries include being stepped on by large animals, being knocked down, kicked, thrown while riding, or pinned between the animal and a hard surface. Many injuries also occur each year from bites. FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT What can you do to prevent animal injuries? Proper equipment and handling facilities for your type of operation are a must. Larger animals, in particular, need equipment that is able to restrain them for general maintenance or health care. Pens should be equipped with a man gate or other means of egress if necessary. Crowding animals into sorting or working chutes should be done with crowd gates, not with drivers. Catwalks along chutes and alleys eliminate the need for working in the alley. If the catwalk is more than 18" or so off the ground, it should be protected by a guardrail to prevent falls. Walking or working surfaces should be free of tripping and slipping hazards for both animals and workers. Eliminate protrusions and sharp corners. Lighting in handling and housing facilities should be even and diffused. Bright spots mixed with shadows in alleys and crowding pens will often cause cattle to balk. HANDLING LARGE ANIMALS SAFELY WSPS.CA

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