Quality assurance in livestock production focuses on raising safe, wholesome products for the consumer. The way producers interact and move their livestock has been shown to affect the quality of products from those animals. Livestock that are stressed have decreased production and adverse effects to meat quality during times of animal harvest. It is important to understand proper animal handling techniques to minimize stress and recognize animals’ flight zone when moving livestock.
Youth need to be careful working with new animals until the animals comfort or “flight zone” has been identified. The flight zone can be described as the area around an animal where they feel safe. This area or zone is different for each animal much like for us humans. For example, some people become uncomfortable if others talk too close to them or invade their personal space (or enter their flight zone). Other people may feel fine in a group and do not stress when people are close to them. An animal’s flight zone can also change with the environment they’re exposed to. Over time, as the youth works with the animal, the animal’s flight zone will decrease and the animal will become calmer to the situation.
Introducing animals to new places will allow the animal to become used to being in a strange environment and help reduce their flight zone when in new spaces. This is especially important to do when planning on exhibiting the animal at a public setting.
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