INTERNATIONALLY-acclaimed animal behaviourist Temple Grandin recently shared her expertise on livestock handling at a series of meetings in the UK.

At Borderway mart, Carlisle, she demonstrated safe practice techniques to farmers, landowners and businessmen.

Dr Grandin, whose story was turned into an award-winning US film, said safe handling practices and the careful treatment of cattle will help reduce any anxiety during the handling process.

One of the major issues she highlighted, and one that struck a chord with many on the evening, concerned lone animals.

“The lone animal trying to get back to its herd is the one that puts people in hospital,” she said.

“A lone bull is the one that causes the majority of fatalities on farms and bulls should always be raised in groups. When he turns sideways on, this happens before he is about to charge.”

Dr Grandin said her ability to understand how animals think was due to what she described as her autistic brain, saying animals think in pictures not words.

She advised that some of the world’s biggest animal processors on welfare, handling and facilities for livestock, and around half of all cattle slaughtered in the US are handled through systems she has developed.

Many livestock farmers around the world also use her advice when planning their livestock handling and holding systems.

David Pritchard, Harrison & Hetherington’s director of operations, said: “It is important to look at new initiatives and ideas to improve safety and minimise the risk for both the animals and people handling livestock.

“This forum really was a oncein- a-lifetime opportunity to give farmers a chance to learn, from a world authority, the most effective way to handle cattle and sheep.”