CALS ACUC Policy: Use of Electric Prods When Handling Livestock in UW CALS Facilities

PURPOSE: Situations arise where livestock will refuse to move from a trailer, alley or chute. Often other means of encouraging the animal to move (pushing or pulling) are hazardous to the personnel working with the livestock. Therefore there are limited situations that occur when use of an electric prod is necessary for handler safety. The scope of this policy is to provide conditions of acceptable use as well as define situations when use is unacceptable.

POLICY: Use of electric prods when handling livestock should be minimized. Personnel must use common sense and compassion when deciding to use an electric prod. It is unacceptable to use an electric prod on livestock when their movement is restricted due to lameness, injury, pain or sickness. Occasionally an animal’s ability to rise has to be tested by use of an electric prod. This should be attempted no more than twice and by trained personnel. If an animal is exhibiting signs of injury or illness then veterinary assistance should be sought. However, use of an electric prod is acceptable on healthy uncooperative animals that only have one direction of movement afforded them and other measures of motivation have failed (presence in flight zone, slappers and vocalizations). This would include animals in trailers, chutes and alleys. It is important that the prod user evaluate the possible and unexpected reactions of an animal to prod use and ensure that the animal and workers will be safe even if there is an unexpected reaction of the animal. It is accepted that design of chutes and loading docks impact an animal's willingness to move through these facilities.

Facility supervisors should discuss this policy with all new employees handling livestock.

History: Adopted by CALS ACUC 20 August 2015