A survey conducted by Kansas State University shows that the cattle-transportation industry has a few major concerns with animal handling and health issues, including poor facilities, poor lighting, too little help, inexperienced help, the presence of dogs and too much help.

Those findings prompted K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Animal Health Department and the Kansas Motor Carriers Association to produce fact sheets that provide information about improving conditions when handling and shipping livestock.

Some of the tips include:

  • Work cattle in groups rather than individually because of their herding instincts.
  • Be aware of the animal’s “flight zone,” the distance they keep away from predators to feel safe, and use it to move the cattle.
  • When loading and unloading cattle, the quieter it is, the easier it will be.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that 24 hours before hauling, cattle should be fed 50–75 percent hay and 25–50 percent grain. It is not advisable to suddenly change the animal’s diet.
  • Vehicle operation and husbandry procedures greatly affect the condition in which cattle arrive at their destination.
  • Recognition of sick animals and trailer wash outs are important to disease control. The survey indicated that trailer-sanitation practices vary from driver to driver and company to company. The majority of the respondents reported using cold water to wash out trailers.

“Simply rinsing the trailers out will eliminate most of the bacteria,” says Mark Spire, veterinarian with Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology in K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.