The one-day course consisted of a classroom session, followed by practical working demonstrations at stockyards in Loomberah, NSW. The trainer was the energetic and passionate Boyd Holden, a leading livestock handling educator and cattleman, and was supported by Arrowquip.
Over the course of the day, the group learned the fundamentals of low stress handling, which is always important when handling stock, and more so when trying to accomplish research projects with them. The range of topics included:
- Improving operator safety;
- Seeing the “no-touch, no-noise” approach in action;
- The fundamentals including flight zones, pressure and positioning;
- ·Achieving calm and confident stock management;
- Mob structure and dynamics.
One fine day in early March, a group of 6 Invetus staff, all routinely involved in working with production and large animals, learned how to work more effectively with stock, and how to better manage the associated animal welfare and WHS requirements. Attendees included Research Manager Henry Chambers, Senior Project Officer Jill Dawson, Lab Technician Jocelyn Baker, Research Veterinarian Sarah Bailey, and Project Officers Tim Dale & Lucy Pointing.
This is important not only from an animal and staff welfare perspective, but also for our clients, who need to know that Invetus staff know what to do, and how to do it in the most effective and considered way possible.
Additionally, there was a segment on farm safety (especially re quad bikes), and a rundown on OHS and welfare codes relating to animal handling and transport.
Although the Invetus professional staff are very experienced and capable animal handlers, they learned some new things and refreshed some old skills.
As Henry Chambers, Research Manager at ARC commented:
“most of the material comes naturally to those of us who have done this for a long time. However, Boyd emphasised the need for communication – with the animals, each other and any other players – in order to reduce stress and maximise animal welfare.”
The learnings from the event will be summarised and shared with all research staff, and Invetus is considering how to share this type of education with others.
Note: Pictures courtesy of Arrowquip