Dan Thomson: BQA important in the feedlot, on the ranch | TSLN.com

Dan Thomson: BQA important in the feedlot, on the ranch

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program helps ensure quality beef reaches the grocery stores. Still, many producers have yet to be certified. Dan Thomson, DVM, Ph.D., Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University (KSU), shared the importance of BQA at the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation’s Animal Handling Conference in Kansas City, MO, on Oct. 19, 2011. Thomson’s presentation, “Feedlot 101,” highlighted the importance of following BQA guidelines for feeder cattle.

“My motto is healthy cattle, healthy people and healthy planet,” Thomson said in his opening statement. “This triad of priorities is something both producers and consumers can connect with. The past couple of years, we have talked the talk, advocating for agriculture at every opportunity, but now we need to make changes for the right reasons and establish what is normal. We haven’t done a good enough job of defining what is normal and acceptable in animal welfare and food safety.”

BQA can help create those definitions, helping to find a middle ground that is acceptable for producers and consumers.

“In the beef business, we work for cattle, the people who raise those cattle and the people who eat our beef,” he added. “Keys to success are education and training. BQA has a feedlot assessment tool that will help us create future opportunities in the feeder cattle business. BQA education tools help us to improve the role of cattle feeding. It focuses on animal health and well-being, animal abuse prevention, food safety security and employee safety and turnover rates.”

It’s often difficult to get producers and their employees together for face-to-face BQA training. Now ranchers can reference online manuals for education tools. One Web site, http://www.animalcaretraining.org, helps define what is normal and acceptable in the industry in an easy-to-digest manual.

“BQA has morphed and changed over the years, but animal welfare is still the same,” Thomson said. “Animals should have freedom from thirst and hunger, discomfort, pain, injury and disease. They should have the freedom to express normal behavior, and they should never have to be afraid or stressed.”

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The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program helps ensure quality beef reaches the grocery stores. Still, many producers have yet to be certified. Dan Thomson, DVM, Ph.D., Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University (KSU), shared the importance of BQA at the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation’s Animal Handling Conference in Kansas City, MO, on Oct. 19, 2011. Thomson’s presentation, “Feedlot 101,” highlighted the importance of following BQA guidelines for feeder cattle.

“My motto is healthy cattle, healthy people and healthy planet,” Thomson said in his opening statement. “This triad of priorities is something both producers and consumers can connect with. The past couple of years, we have talked the talk, advocating for agriculture at every opportunity, but now we need to make changes for the right reasons and establish what is normal. We haven’t done a good enough job of defining what is normal and acceptable in animal welfare and food safety.”

BQA can help create those definitions, helping to find a middle ground that is acceptable for producers and consumers.

“In the beef business, we work for cattle, the people who raise those cattle and the people who eat our beef,” he added. “Keys to success are education and training. BQA has a feedlot assessment tool that will help us create future opportunities in the feeder cattle business. BQA education tools help us to improve the role of cattle feeding. It focuses on animal health and well-being, animal abuse prevention, food safety security and employee safety and turnover rates.”

It’s often difficult to get producers and their employees together for face-to-face BQA training. Now ranchers can reference online manuals for education tools. One Web site, http://www.animalcaretraining.org, helps define what is normal and acceptable in the industry in an easy-to-digest manual.

“BQA has morphed and changed over the years, but animal welfare is still the same,” Thomson said. “Animals should have freedom from thirst and hunger, discomfort, pain, injury and disease. They should have the freedom to express normal behavior, and they should never have to be afraid or stressed.”

editor’s note: to learn more about the bqa program, visit http://www.bqa.org.

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