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Vermont Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council Releases Humane Handling Best Practice Guidelines

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/animal_health/animal_welfare/lcsac

The Vermont Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council is pleased to announce the availability of important bilingual educational materials, for use by Vermont’s cattle industry members, intended to help ensure the humane handling and transport of calves and cattle within Vermont.  The release of these materials is the culmination of a year-long initiative undertaken by the Council that was supported by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Farm to Plate Network, and many other individuals and agricultural organizations within Vermont and New England. 

Given the variety of livestock movements that happen across the state on a daily basis, the Council recognized the need for comprehensive best practices guidelines to enhance the care of calves and cattle on Vermont farms and roadways.  The Council contracted with Erika Voogd of Voogd Consulting, Inc. to create the educational materials, which are available in multiple formats to suit a variety of needs and audiences.  The content was reviewed by several national and international animal welfare and transport experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin.

“Vermont’s humane handling laws and regulations mandate the minimal acceptable standards in the State, and the members of the Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council recognized the benefit of providing Vermonters with a gold standard to which we hope everyone will aspire,” according to Agency of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Diane Bothfeld, Chair of the Council.  “We are pleased to be able to enhance the Vermont Brand by providing this important information to a wide audience, and we will work diligently to ensure that these materials get into the hands of those Vermonters who can benefit from them the most.” 

The educational materials are comprised of best management practices related to on-farm care of calves and cattle; proper selection of animals to transport; proper handling of calves and cattle during loading, transport and unloading; preparation of the transport vehicle; extreme weather considerations; and best practices for drivers.

The Vermont Legislature authorized the formation of the Vermont Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council in 2009.  Comprised of 14 appointed members, the Council is tasked with advising the Secretary of Agriculture and the legislative committees on agriculture on issues relating to livestock well-being in the state of Vermont. The Council is also authorized to engage in educational and outreach initiatives meant to improve the welfare of Vermont's livestock animals, and it is under this charge that the current best management practice materials have been created. 

For more information on the Vermont Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council, please visit:  http://agriculture.vermont.gov/animal_health/animal_welfare/lcsac .  To access electronic copies of the educational materials on calf and cattle transport, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/animal_health/animal_welfare/Cattle-Calf-Transport-Recommendations