Rough handling can cause cattle to fear people. Jeffrey Rushen and Anne Marie De Passille, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, offer these suggestions to reduce animals’ fear of people:
1. Give youngstock extra contact with people.
2. Identify rough handling practices. Examples include shouting, slapping, punching, hitting with the hand or stick, tail twisting and use of an electric prod.
3. Mask your identity during unpleasant procedures. Cattle can develop a “learned fear” of certain people during unpleasant, yet essential tasks, such as vaccination or treatment for illness. Cattle use visual cues, such as clothing color, to differentiate between people. Try wearing different colored clothes to minimize “learned fear.”
4. Change negative attitudes toward animal handling. Use educational tools to show employees the negative effect of poor handling.
5. Identify why people mishandle animals. Situations that lead to poor handling include frustration and impatience with animals, difficulty moving cattle, time pressures, improperly working equipment, low job satisfaction and family problems.