Livestock auctions need to pay particular attention to animal welfare issues because they are a point of access for the general public. On sale day, hundreds of trailers are loaded and unloaded, cattle are moved up to five times during their stay at the sale facility, cattle are commingled, and there is a lot of urgency to move cattle quickly.

"Those livestock provide challenges for the staff and sometimes the animals are not handled well by the staff," said Dave Sjecklocha, a veterinarian at the Haskell County Animal Hospital in western Kansas.

Sjecklocha spoke during the International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare held May 19 to 21 in Manhattan, KS. He explained how livestock auctions could use the guide to animal handling and employee training developed by the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) to improve animal well-being at livestock auctions.

The guide begins with a series of questions for livestock auction management to help evaluate their facilities, risk management and employee training. It helps them set standards for animal handling at their facility. The guide addresses topics such as electric prod usage, how to handle loose animals, how to handle non-ambulatory animals, euthanasia and the condition of alleyways and gates.

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