ARTICLE UPDATED: 05/12/2020
Livestock sales fall under the criteria of critical infrastructure and essential functions as designated by Indiana’s shelter-in-place order. (Please note: These regulations also are subject to change amid fluid developments.)
This guide offers ideas and guidance on:
- Best practices and alternative methods for those hosting livestock sales
- Recommendations on safe and responsible practices for those buying livestock
In such a public setting, the Centers for Disease Control now recommend wearing cloth face coverings. For a guide on how to create your own cloth face coverings, visit the CDC website.
Best Practices for Those Hosting Sales
While livestock sales constitute essential services in the food supply chain, attendance at these events should be minimized — or presentation and bidding methods adapted whenever possible.
Industry experts recommend that hosts consider:
- Online photos and/or videos as an alternative to in-person viewing
- Making animals available for viewing by only small groups prior to sale
- Accommodating online or telephone bidding when possible
- Ensure appropriate systems are in place for these prior to the sale
For those who hold events in person, industry experts recommend that hosts:
- Do not allow anyone feeling ill, showing signs of illness or who has been in contact with someone sick / positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks to attend or work the event
- Limit event attendance to the maximum allowed by current local, state and federal guidelines
- Restrict event access to the general public and all pets
- Stagger times for arrival and availability to reduce crowds and/or line congestion
- Eliminate food consumption or consider individual grab-and-go packages
- Enforce social distancing guidelines of remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times
- Undertake additional cleaning and sanitation protocols and recommendations, such as
- Regular cleaning of contact surfaces (e.g., telephones, keyboards, calculators, desks, photocopiers, counters and common areas)
- Hand-washing or hand-sanitizer stations
- Reminders on how to properly wash hands (i.e., thoroughly and for 20 seconds)
- Encouragement of visitors to wash or sanitize their hands
Also: The Office of Indiana State Chemist website offers a searchable list of EPA-registered disinfectant products for COVID-19. Consult this site to determine if disinfectants are safe and recommended for use in this environment.
Hosts should communicate all new or amended policies through:
- Signage at the entrance
- Advance email communication
- Social media or other methods
Recommendations for Those Buying Livestock at a Sale
Livestock buyers should take additional precautions to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 at a sales event.
Industry experts recommend that those attending a sales event:
- Do not attend if they feel ill or have been exposed to someone sick / positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks
- Call or message ahead to hosts and ask the following questions:
- Will online photos / videos be available as an alternative to in-person viewing?
- Can I view animals in a small group prior to the sale?
- Will you accept bids online or by telephone?
- Will there be staggered arrival / availability times to prevent congestion?
- Attend the event only if you have serious intent to purchase livestock
- Leave all pets at home
- Abide by social distancing guidelines of remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times
- Consult the sale manager, auctioneer, ringmen and consultants to assist with any purchase
- Wash their hands before entering the event and after handling livestock / when they get home
This document was originally developed by the Livestock Markets Association of Canada, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and then adapted and approved by the Indiana Board of Animal Health, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, Purdue University’s Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agriculture, and Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.