Miles City offers livestock handling program

Mar 26, 2010
by WLJ

Miles City Livestock Com- mission in Miles City, MT, will offer a free program April 21 on a key livestock industry concern: proper livestock handling meth- ods. The “Stockmanship and Stewardship” program will begin at 1 p.m. (MT) at the market, said co-owner and manager Rob Fraser. Curt Pate, who has been conducting handling programs, na- tionally and internationally for over 10 years, will make the presentation.

“The vast majority of live- stock owners, and markets,” Fraser said, “use proper, humane handling methods every day.”

But this program, he said, will give them an opportu- nity to learn more about ef- fective stockmanship, low stress animal handling, and how these efforts raise val- ue, protect the livestock in- dustry and preserve the ranching way of life. Fraser also pointed out that the entire livestock in- dustry is under increasing scrutiny for how livestock are handled. “We have to realize that what one pro- ducer, one market or one transporter does can reflect on all of us—and ultimately, shape the consumer’s per- ception of the product we sell.” In addition to the public program, Pate will meet with the market’s employ- ees. They will discuss the best handling practices to use, from the time cattle are unloaded at the market un- til they’re loaded to leave. Fraser said the livestock market setting will allow Pate to conduct hands-on demonstrations of effective handling methods. The emphasis is on methods that achieve improvements in animal welfare and performance by reducing handling stress.

Pate said proper, effective livestock handling takes into consideration three basic principles of cattle behavior: they want to see you and go around you, they want to go to and be around other cattle, and they can only think of one thing at a time.

More information about Pate and his program can be found at This year, he will be presenting it before national, state and local livestock associations, university livestock “field days,” livestock markets and other audiences.

He also conducts programs on effective handling of horses and was the equine technical adviser for the 1998 Robert Redford film “The Horse Whisperer.”

Fraser said everyone in the livestock industry “who comes into contact with cattle should consider attending Curt’s program on the 10th. I can guarantee it will be a worthwhile educational experience.”

Fraser’s market, on West Main in Miles City, MT, is a member of Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the national trade association for livestock marketing businesses.

LMA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association endorse the beef checkoff-funded, and allied industry-sponsored, handling program. Sponsors include Merial Animal Health, Midcontinent Livestock Supplements, the American Quarter Horse Association, Purina, Miraco Livestock Water Systems, Priefert Ranch Equipment, and Tru-Test. — WLJ