Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the U.S. and Canada) announced Jan. 30 its Cattle Care365 initiative to support cattle producers’ efforts to provide the best-quality care for their animals.
The program includes a series of employee training modules featuring industry experts, interactive quizzes, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and certificates of completion to document training. All are available at CattleCare365.com.
“Merck Animal Health is committed to advancing the health and well-being of cattle and contributing to the ongoing success of our customers’ operations,” said Kevin Mobley, executive director of marketing and sales at Merck Animal Health. “We encourage cattle producers to be Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified as well as to use Cattle Care365’s in-depth resources and ongoing training to improve productivity and communication channels with employees while maintaining high-quality care and welfare for beef animals.”
A comprehensive survey of U.S. beef producers and veterinarians was used to identify the resources, topics and training that will be covered in Cattle Care365, Merck Animal Health said.
“We recognize the significance and quality of education and training the industry currently has available to them, but more is needed,” said Dr. Guy Ellis, bovine technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health. “The fact that survey participants said they value online learning demonstrates the beef industry is able to quickly adapt to new knowledge and techniques to improve the care and welfare of all animals.”
The first educational training module focuses on beef cattle handling and processing, including preparation for processing, how to use the flight zone of cattle, handling cattle through a Bud Box, crowding tub and snake, proper use of the chute and proper product administration. The video lessons are taught by Dr. Tom Portillo, manager of health and well-being for Friona Industries, an Amarillo, Texas-based cattle feeder.
"The processing barn is one of the most dangerous spots, with workers sorting cattle and often handling veterinary-type procedures,” Portillo said. “It’s important to take time to teach crew members about their impact on beef quality assurance and animal well-being, along with the crew’s importance to the operation. Implementing these practices will result in improved animal health as well as contribute to a safer environment for both cattle and their caregivers.”
The training is offered in English and Spanish. The video module is followed with a brief quiz to help ensure understanding of the material. A certificate of completion is available to document the training. SOPs also are included for managers to use alongside their veterinarian to build protocols.
Cattle Care365 builds upon Merck Animal Health’s Dairy Care365 program, the company said.
In addition to launching Cattle Care365, Merck Animal Health also announced that it will sponsor the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. stockmanship and stewardship events in 2019. These regional, two-day events highlight proper animal care techniques as well as other issues tailored for the region where the event is held.