Don't send cows to market that are not fit to transport, Dr. Mike Baker

Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

April 2, 2020

Dr. Mike Baker shares:

"Given that there may be a rush to get cull cows to market, there are some key factors to animal well-being that need to be taken into consideration. This is especially true if cows will have to be transported longer distances to get to a processing facility."

You can download the checklist below here.

Fitness for Transport to Auction Barns or Processing Plants
Michael J. Baker, PhD, Beef Extension Specialist, Cornell University
Dr. Robert Lynch, DVM, Cornell Pro-Dairy
(Adapted from Beef Quality Assurance Transportation, www.BQA.org.)

Given that there may be a rush to get cull cows to market, there are some key factors to animal well-being that need to be taken into consideration. This is especially true if cows will have to be transported longer distances to get to a processing facility.
There are 3 main factors to determine fitness for transport. They are:
1. the health of the animal,
2. the mobility of the animal,
3. and the body condition of the animal.


One of the most important decisions in transporting cattle is to determine if an animal is:
1. fit to be transported,
2. If transportation should be direct to a small processor, especially those that do emergency slaughter,
3. if transport should be postponed to allow for treatment,
4. or if proper euthanasia methods should be carried out.

The chart below provides a checklist to use when making the transport decision.

Additional resources on COVID-19 can be found here
NYS Market Prices can be found at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/feeder-and-replacement-cattle-auctions#NewYork.
NMPF FARM Program Resource Library - resources for health management, fitness to transport, and euthanasia
Cornell Waste Management Institute Composting Animal Mortalities

Other resources shared in Dr. Baker's blog:

https://blogs.cornell.edu/beefcattle/covid-19/

USDA-NYS Livestock Auction Reports

Checklist for Fitness for Transport

EUTHANASIA GUIDELINES-2019

Transportation guidelines-2019




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