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Management seminar helps beef producer raise livestock more humanely

December 8, 2014
Norman Voyles, Jr.

Norman Voyles Jr. truly enjoys the work he does on the Voyles Farms, Inc. grain and livestock farm he and his brother, Jim, own near Martinsville. And he credits a Purdue Extension program with helping him stay current on best practices for humane handling of cattle.

Voyles was among 200 producers who attended a beef management seminar at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Bedford. The seminar featured Temple Grandin, an international livestock behavior expert at Colorado State University, who spoke about beef cattle handling techniques. Other speakers included livestock specialists and researchers from Indiana.

When Voyles learned that Purdue Extension had scheduled a workshop with Grandin, he made plans to attend.

“I have heard Dr. Grandin previously and have read a number of articles she has authored on animal behavior and cattle handling techniques,” Voyles says. “I enjoyed listening to her speak at the seminar because she does such a good job of explaining in terms that are easy to understand and implement.”

Voyles says he left the seminar with a better understanding of cattle behavior. He learned, for instance, about the animals’ visual range and their perception of humans. This isn’t mere trivia — Voyles says he can use that information to process his herd more efficiently and ensure that he’s treating the animals humanely.

“As fewer and fewer people in our society have personal experience with the raising of livestock, consumers of our products want some assurances that the animal protein they eat was raised in a humane manner,” Voyles says.

“Workshops such as this help to reinforce the techniques that livestock producers can use to reduce stress for both livestock and livestock producers.”

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