Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio State University Extension teamed up to host more than 150 first-responders at the Animal Agriculture 202 seminar April 12. The daylong seminar trained attendees on the proper handling of large animals in times of crisis.
Attendees included emergency response personnel, law enforcement, veterinarians and technicians, dog wardens, firemen and humane society agents from all across the state. Through a series of eight presentations, these first-responders learned guidelines to protect humans in a crisis while keeping the best interest of the animal in mind.
Allyss Strogin, co-founder of County Animals Rescue and Evacuation (C.A.R.E.) in Medina County, brought her team to the workshop to stay aligned with resources available.
“This is about being prepared, being certified and staying up-to-date on the best training,” Strogin said. “In our field, there is nothing more rewarding than returning a scared, lost animal to the people who are searching for it.”
Attendees were provided many resources in the program booklet including speaker presentation notes, crisis preplanning sheets and contact information for the speakers.
The day’s speakers included veterinarians, Ohio State animal science faculty, zoo employees and emergency management personnel who work with large animals consistently.
Presentations included horse handling and safety, proper human safety precautions to use while handling large animals, how to respond to roadway accidents involving livestock, the importance of handling animals and humans properly in times of distress, the difficult but important subject of animal euthanasia, how to handle escaped animals and the importance of pre-planning for farm animal incidents.
“We are here today to strengthen the connection between animals and humans. Many first responders are familiar with pets but not livestock; this education allows everyone to keep the public safe during stressful times,” said Dr. Leah Dorman, director of food programs, Center for Food & Animal Issues, Ohio Farm Bureau.
Dorman said attendees were appreciative of the opportunity to learn about livestock handling, and that many would like additional hands-on training.
“Today’s attendees are all great first-responders with a lot of expertise in emergency situations, but I heard from several of them that they have had issues with farm animal incidents in the past and appreciated learning how to handle livestock, and how not to handle them,” Dorman said.
Dorman will be working with professors and Extension specialists from Ohio State to develop a plan for future seminars.
“We are beginning to discuss what seminar will be offered next,” Dorman said. “We will use what people liked, didn’t like and wanted more of to create our next seminar.”
Animal Agriculture 202 was made possible through a grant from the Animals for Life Foundation.