Emergency personnel from as far away as Henry County and Cincinnati were at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station (EARS) near Caldwell on Tuesday, May 14, participating in Animal Agriculture 203, a basic hands-on training of farm animal behavior.
One of those participating was Sarah Thomas with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Before the training session Sarah says she had zero experience with farm animals.
“I think the most challenging is just the unfamiliarity with the animals and this program definitely helped that,” said Thomas. “I can see where, with someone with no experience who comes out here now, I feel comfortable doing what I would need to do in an emergency.”
Dr. Steve Boyles, Extension beef cattle specialist at The Ohio State University and one of the trainers says it’s important for emergency personnel to at least understand the basics.
“Giving them those basics of how do you work with some of these large animals that weigh over 1,000 pounds, yes you can work them,” Boyles said. “You can handle them humanely and in a safe way for the animals and the public.”
Dr. Leah Dorman with the Ohio Farm Bureau agrees, adding that at the end of the training she hopes participants will have a better comfort level around farm animals.
“I really hope we improved their confidence and their comfort level and that they understand they need to move slow, speak slowly, work slowly,” Dr. Dorman said. “The faster you move, the faster those livestock move, so they just need to get a feel for that and I think watching them today, I watched them improve from earlier this morning, to later.”
So what did Sarah Thomas with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy learn from Animal Agriculture 203 training?
“Move slow and take your time, don’t be in a hurry.”
During the Animal Agriculture 203 course at the EARS, the emergency personnel worked with both cattle and sheep. On May 22, the course moves to the University of Findlay where the emphasis will be on the handling of horses in an emergency situation.