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Keep safety in mind when handling livestock, FUW urges

Keep safety in mind when handling livestock, FUW urges

Old livestock handling systems used on farms throughout Wales may well pose significant safety risks to livestock handlers, a recent survey by the Farmers' Union of Wales has revealed.

The survey carried out during the recent Royal Welsh Winter Fair highlighted that around 65% of on farm cattle handling systems are over 10 years old, whilst 40% of sheep systems are also over this age which might pose safety risks to livestock handlers.

"The use of livestock handling systems has become more and more important from a health and safety perspective over recent years, especially if we look at TB testing in cattle and the clipping of cattle on farm prior to delivering them to slaughter," said FUW agricultural education and training committee chairman Alun Edwards.

Handling livestock is a dangerous activity and sadly accidents involving livestock account for a large proportion of farm fatalities.

The number of reported injuries incurred while handling livestock has amounted to almost 1,000 over the last 10 years and inappropriate handling facilities are often to blame.

"Despite the growing need to handle livestock for a range of statutory, veterinary or routine husbandry reasons, there is little resource within the industry to invest in handling systems.

"Handling cattle always involves a risk of injury from crushing, kicking, butting or goring and farmers should always ensure that the handling systems are fit for purpose and staff are adequately trained and competent," added Mr Edwards.

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