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Development of a Safe Handling System for Sheep and Goats

There is a need for a system for applying ear tags to comply with regulations requiring the official identification (ID) of sheep and goats in interstate commerce that reduces stress and potential for injury to animals, handlers and employees.


  1. It is a fact that much of the burden of applying official ID has fallen on auction barns across the United States. It is estimated that one third of official ID eligible sheep and goats are tagged at the major sheep and goat auctions

  2. There is need to demonstrate and place bulk safe handling systems in livestock markets as well as commercial producer premises that handle large numbers of small ruminants that will facilitate applying the tags in a safe and efficient manner thereby enhancing animal welfare with emphasis on human safety and avoidance of animal injury.

  3. There is also a need to demonstrate and place safe single file handling systems in smaller livestock markets as well as with producers who run lower numbers of small ruminants. By showing this equipment will facilitate additional tasks to tagging it will encourage the use of the equipment and additionally tagging goats with official ID that leave the premises.

The project will be implemented in four phases:

  • Phase 1 will be identification of additional livestock markets willing to have equipment placed in their facility.

  • Phase 2 will introduce the single file and bulk handling equipment to producers

  • Phase 3 will include equipment placement and training of personnel in use of the equipment.

  • Phase 4 will be additional observation and evaluation of the systems placed the previous year as well as systems placed in the current fiscal year.

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