During the Cattlemen’s College at next week’s Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, producers,  veterinarians and first-responders will learn what it takes to plan and execute an effective response to emergencies such as traffic accidents involving cattle.   

Over fifty million head of domestic and imported cattle and calves are marketed and transported for breeding, feeding, and slaughter in the United States each year.  An estimated 400,000 head of livestock are on the road on any given day in the United States. As the number of livestock being transported via motor vehicle has increased, so has the number of accidents involving livestock. Currently in the United States, standard operating procedures for addressing accidents involving the transport of livestock do not exist.

The Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) developed a framework for local emergency responders and law enforcement to more appropriately address accidents involving cattle transport vehicles.  The Plan includes standardized procedures, suggestions and materials for dispatchers and first responders in the areas of call assessment, scene arrival and assessment, scene containment and security, extraction of cattle from the trailer, relocation of cattle involved in the accident, mortality disposal, securing the wrecked transport vehicle (if needed), humane euthanasia of cattle, and debriefing.  

The Bovine Emergency Response course at Cattlemen’s College will provide agricultural and traditional responders with an introduction, some performance skills and understanding relative to some of the unique situations motor vehicle incidents with bovines can present. 

At the conclusion of the training the first responder will be able to:

  • Recognize some of the unique features of incidents where bovine or large animals are involved.
  • Recognizing hazards associated with incidents involving bovines and other large animals.
  • Understand biosecurity issues associated with livestock (zoonotic disease, Foreign Animal Disease (FAD), etc.)
  • Demonstrate understanding of animal behavior, animal care and welfare and animal handling techniques for bovines and other large animals.
  • Describe the various methods of proper animal restraint and humane euthanasia that may be used in emergencies involving bovines or other large animals.
  • Develop skills in creating containment strategies using existing structures, gates, panels etc. to restrict movement of cattle for triage, controlling loose animals, etc.
  • Extrication of live animals/mortality from damaged transporter.
  • Describe proper handling of mortality at scene and after.
  • Enhance understanding of descriptive terms relative to bovine livestock.
  • Understand the importance of debriefing following an incident involving bovines or other large animals.

The session will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 7:45 am to 5:00 pm at the Gaylord Opryland Conference Center, Ryman Ballroom (Level 0, Lower Level). A $50 registration fee covers a manual, certificate for successful completion of the coursework and lunch. Online registration is available through January 31.

For more information, contact David J. Workman with West Virginia Extension Service, at djworkman@mail.wvu.edu.