The Beef Marketing Group (BMG) hosted a training seminar with Tyson Fresh Meats to educate transportation companies and feedlot personnel on BMG policies related to cattle transport; current outside industry pressures; accountability; transport regulations; low-stress handling; and emergency action plans. The training seminar was held Oct. 20 in Lyons.
“BMG has a focus and commitment to low-stress animal handling and welfare at all our feedlots and we want to extend that to the hauling of cattle as well ,” according to BMG Director of Quality Assurance Heather Donley. “Additionally, BMG is under more scrutiny from its customers on how cattle are handled through the entire life cycle and feel to achieve the goal of a systems approach to animal well-being, we wanted to team up with packers and trucking companies.”
Industry experts were brought in to speak about key issues around transportation and low-stress handling. Dr. Kellye Pfalzgraf from the Tyson Fresh Meats Office of Well-Being discussed how transportation affects meat quality, and proper handling of non-ambulatory cattle upon arrival at the plant. Dr. Dan Thomson, Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University, covered why animal handling during transport is important to retail customers and consumers. Lastly, cattle transportation expert Jennifer Woods spoke about cattle behavior, handling, transport regulations, stress and environmental management, loading densities, fitness to transport and risk management.
“BMG has been required by some customers to have third-party animal handling audits over the past couple years and a part of this includes transportation to and from the feedlots,” said Donley.
BMG’s commitment to low-stress animal handling started in 2000 with the implementation of the Progressive Beef program at all 13 of its feedlots. Progressive Beef is a food safety, animal well-being and sustainable verified system to ensure beef is safe, well cared for and raised in a sustainable way. The system is based on standard operating procedures, training and verification of compliance with the Progressive Beef standard. The program was built using key industry experts input to produce a verified production system that has substance and integrity.
BMG is a cooperative of 13 feedlots located in Kansas and Nebraska that collectively markets cattle and focuses on value-added programs to meet their customers’ needs.