Editor: Shari Burgus, EdS
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A large number of children are involved in completing relatively hazardous tasks on the farm. Children’s characteristics, such as: lack of experience, knowledge, training, strength and body size combined with curiosity and feelings of invincibility, put children at great risk. This risk is reflected in the high injury statistics. Children working because of economic necessity; parents wanting to instill a sense of responsibility and work ethic; a lack of available child care; and the cultural tradition of the farmstead as a playground for children can also contribute to the high incidence of injuries and fatalities.
Livestock production is a significant part of American agriculture. Livestock is raised for meat, milk, by-products and leisure activities. In the process of feeding, handling and transporting animals, humans can be injured if safe behavior is not practiced.
Exposure to animals and livestock on the farm accounts for many youth injuries. People often do not view animals and livestock as a source of danger, yet animals cause numerous fatalities and injuries each year. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 17% of all farm injuries involve animals.
Animal Care Chores Done by Farm Youth
Telephone survey of parents of farm youth age 7 - 16
Marlenga, B. et al. Agricultural Work Activities Reported for Children and Youth on Farms on 498 North American Farms
Farm Jobs Among Youth
Chores related to animal production such as feeding, moving and handling livestock are often some of the first responsibilities given to children on the farm.
At a very young age, children are often put in situations where they are required to make quick and important decisions about working with, being around, and handling animals that can be uncooperative, large, stubborn or frightened.
When comparing farm chores, animal care is the chore most often assigned to youth. A telephone survey given to farm families indicated farm youth were often assigned several chores within each category (above).
The type of animal-related chores assigned to youth varies depending on the location, type of animals raised on the farm and the youth’s maturity. The telephone survey results shown on the chart (left, bottom) indicate that youth most frequently work with large animals.
Children can be taught and encouraged to identify safe practices that can result in a safer farm environment. In the process youth can protect themselves, their family members and everyone that lives on or visits the farm.
Most children and youth enjoy being around animals, but not all animals respond favorably toward children. Animals can be very alluring to children, but children may not understand the risks of being in proximity to animals.
Most Common Farm Injuries to Youth
Hendricks, KJ., et al. Injuries to Youth on U.S. Farms in 2001 with Comparison to 1998
When compared to other hazards on the farm, working with horses results in more injuries to youth.
Injury Rates by Farm Operation
Hendricks. KJ., et al. Injuries to Youth on U.S. Farms in 2001 with Comparison to 1998
When farming operations are compared to livestock operations, livestock shows higher injury rates.
Farm Injury Events
Hendricks. KJ., et al. Injuries to Youth on U.S. Farms in 2001 with Comparison to 1998
The frequency of animal assaults on the farm are comparable in number to injuries caused by youth being struck by an object, an object striking a youth and non-highway transportation injury causing events.
Causes of Farm Death to U.S. Youth Under 20
Goldcamp, M., et al. Farm Fatalities to Youth 1995-2000: A comparison by Age Groups
Although most animal-related injuries on the farm do not result in death, the number of deaths should still be noted. Out of 695 youth deaths between 1995-2000, thirty were attributed to animals.
Pickett, et al. (2005) Pediatric Farm Injuries Involving Non-working Children Injured by a Farm Work Hazard: Five Priorities for Primary Prevention.
Agricultural Injuries in Canada for 1990-2000.
The chart below depicts a comparison among mechanized, non-mechanized and animal trauma fatalities and hospitalized injuries. Notice the large percent increase of animal-related incidents from fatalities to hospitalized injuries.
Non-working Youth Injuries On the Farm
Pickett, et al. (2005) Pediatric Farm Injuries Involving Non-working Children Injured by a Farm Work Hazard: Five Priorities for Primary Prevention.
Children within Anabaptist populations are at even greater risk of animal-related injuries on the farm. Animals are used extensively within this population for transportation and work and children perform animal-related tasks at a young age. The graph at the top right shows that 34% of child fatalities are due to direct contact with animals, such as dragging and entanglement or indirectly, such as bolting.
Farm Safety for Just Kids believes that children and youth can and will make wise choices around farm animals and livestock if they know and understand the potential dangers. This packet incorporates a variety of fun, age appropriate and educational ideas for children and their families to use when learning about animal safety on the farm. Use the ideas when presenting school programs, conducting presentations, staffing fair and exhibit booths and any other event where the topic of animal safety is relevant.
Animals are a great aspect of farm life, but they can also be a threat to the safety of those working with them. Protect yourself and others when around livestock.
Jones, P, Field, WE. (2001). Farm Safety Issues in Old Order Anabaptist Communities: Unique Aspects and Innovative Intervention Strategies.
Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program,
Fatal Farm Injuries in Canada, 1991-1995, Oct. 1997.
Manitoba Occupational Health Branch,
Workplace Safety and Health, Jan. 1998.
National Committee for Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention,
Children and Agriculture: Opportunities for Safety and Health, 1996.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),
Injuries Among Farm Workers in the United States, 1993. 1997.
National Safety Council,
Farm Accident Survey Report, 1988.
Fatal and Non-fatal Farm Injuries to Children and Adolescents
in the United States, 1990-1993, 1997.
Jones, P, Field, WE,
Farm Safety Issues in Old Order Anabaptist Communities: Unique
Aspects and Innovative Intervention Strategies, 2001.
Handling livestock can put children and youth in dangerous situations if safety precautions are not taken. As youth begin to take on the responsibility of handling and transporting livestock, it is important for them to understand livestock characteristics and what things influence their behavior. This knowledge can lead to eff ective and safe livestock handling.
The diff erences in how animals and humans sense their surroundings influence their behavior. Animals perceive only black and white, not color. Many animals also have difficulty judging distances. Swine and cattle have poor depth perception, which results in an extreme sensitivity to contrasts. This sensitivity may cause an animal to balk if a shadow crosses its path. Sheep also have problems with depth perception and have difficulty picking out small details, such as the space created by a partially opened gate.
Several factors explain why animals are skittish or may balk in unfamiliar surroundings. Many animals have extremely sensitive hearing and may hear sounds that people cannot. Loud noises frighten animals and high-frequencies may hurt their ears. Animals that are frightened will attempt to move away from the source of the noise. Their eyesight problems may cause them to crash against or through objects (including humans) that may be in their path of escape. Animals which are blind or deaf on one side will favor that side and may suddenly swing around to get a better view of disturbances on the favored side.
The size difference between people and large animals is one reason that the smaller of the two (people) can become injured when the two species are occupying the same space. Since children are smaller than adults, they are at an even greater risk.
Animals’ maternal instincts may also lead to injuries if youth are in close proximity. The innate protective characteristics that surface after giving birth may cause animals to be unpredictable and aggressive. Often, children observe the cute characteristics of baby animals but do not realize the dangers associated with their protective mothers.
First time mothers are especially dangerous because humans have no way of knowing how they will react to motherhood.
If a mother is overprotective of her baby once, then she will probably react in that way again. When protecting a baby, mothers can be lighting quick if they decide to charge. It is important for anyone working with cow/calf, sheep/lamb, sow/piglet and mare/foal pairs to be aware of the situation and know the diff erence between concerned and aggressive mothers.
Most animals have a strong territorial instinct and will develop a distinct and comfortable attachment to their pens, corrals, pastures and feeding areas. The well worn paths animals create in pastures, between pastures and buildings, and around water troughs and feed bunks are an example of this trait. Forced removal from these areas can disturb the normal routine and cause animals to become frightened and aggressive.
Similar problems are created when animals are moved away from feed, separated from the herd or approached by an unfamiliar human or dog. Shadows and yelling may further compound the problem.
The offspring of most farm animals have the capacity to form relationships simultaneously with their own species and with human handlers. For instance, newborns raised by a bottle or bucket may develop a very strong affection for the person feeding them. Animals respond to the way they are treated and draw upon past learning experience when reacting to a situation. Thus, animals that are chased, slapped, kicked, hit or frightened early in life will naturally feel fear when a human is near.
Animals are often characterized as being “stubborn” because they have balked or refused to enter an area. Once this has occurred, the animal is likely to refuse additional attempts and becomes more excited and dangerous with each refusal. Animals have instincts or needs very similar to humans. They experience hunger, thirst, fear, illness, injury and strong maternal instincts. Animals can also develop individual behavior patterns, such as kicking or biting. The handler should be aware of these instincts and traits and take the necessary precautions.
When approaching an animal, especially from behind, speak softly to announce your presence. To avoid being in an animal’s blind spot, approach it at an angle, near the shoulder. Never approach directly from the rear which can startle the animal. Sudden sounds or movements tend to frighten animals. When you are within reach, touch the animal by first gently stroking the shoulder and move calmly toward its head. Do not walk up from behind an animal and slap its hindquarters or lunge at its head.
In general, always walk a safe distance away from an animal so you avoid being kicked. When you need to handle or groom an animal, walk as close to it as possible, keeping a hand on it at all times. An animal’s kick at this distance does not have the chance to gain the full force it would have at arm's reach. When working with an animal in a stall, stay in very close proximity since you do not have space to move clear of a kick. When working with an excited or unfamiliar animal, always stand to the side and maintain a quiet and calm demeanor. Never turn your back on an unfamiliar animal. Never walk between the animal and where it is tied. If the animal is startled, it could crush you against the hitching rail or wall. Never get between fighting animals, always ask an adult for assistance.
Grooming animals is often a chore given to youth. It is also a time when youth, especially inexperienced ones, can be injured. When grooming livestock, wear hard-toed boots to protect your feet from being stepped on. Do not wear tennis shoes or open-toed sandals. Avoid wearing dangling jewelry and pull long hair back so it does not restrict your vision.
Use grooming equipment gently on animals, particularly on those with sensitive skin. Some horses may nip at you if they anticipate discomfort during grooming. Do not leave equipment where it can be stepped on by an animal.
Stand near the animal and always keep a hand on it so you can anticipate its movement. The animal should know where you are at all times. Never sit on the ground or groom from your knees and always be in a position that allows you to move away quickly. Do not hurry the grooming procedure, especially with a young or excited animal.
Clean stable conditions are essential for proper hoof care. Dirty bedding or extremely wet and muddy conditions can cause several ailments, such as thrush, canker and cracked heels. Stalls should be cleaned every day, taking care to dig beneath the top layer of bedding to expose wet spots. This also helps eliminate respiratory hazards associated with high ammonia levels. In addition, stalls should be stripped periodically and floors disinfected with lime to reduce odors.
Youth often show livestock at county and state fairs and open shows. The same precautions taken for approaching and grooming an animal at home should be practiced at public events. Spectators with little livestock knowledge and experience are often present at public events, which puts them at risk. Take precautions to keep livestock under control at all times and remind the public to approach the animal from the shoulder and speak softly or ask that they not approach the animal at all. Keep walk ways or aisles free of clutter. Eighteen percent of animal-related incidents are the result of falls.
When choosing an animal for the show ring, consider the size and strength of the child; their knowledge and genuine interest in the animal; and their ability to handle and care for the animal. Younger children may be better suited to show a smaller animal, such as a bottle calf, lamb or hog.
When choosing an animal, such as a horse, it’s better to choose an older, more seasoned animal that is safe for small or inexperienced riders. An animal’s disposition is important. Animals that are quiet, enjoy human contact and are well mannered are going to give youth a safer and better experience in the show ring. If you are new to the animal show experience and don’t know where to find the right animal, ask your local veterinarian or 4-H extension office for assistance.
Bulls, stallions and rams are involved in a considerable number of farm incidents. Due to a bull’s large size, and often times irritable temperament, caution should be taken when handling them. Their care should be left to adults.
In addition to an increased size, mature adult animals can change temperaments and become dangerous to those working with them. The popularity and practicality of artificial insemination has allowed many handlers to eliminate the need for an on-site sire and reduce the chance of injury.
The majority of animal injuries occur when people do unsafe things around animals. Lack of judgment or understanding due to inexperience is a major cause of incidents involving animals. Plan ahead when moving animals so you are not rushed. Do not try to work with animals when you or they are angry. The feeling of superiority over animals is foolish when you consider the size of some farm animals.
Other common problems include: prodding an animal which has no place to go; improper lifting of young animals; horseplay; wrapping a lead rope around a hand or body; attempting a task without enough help and not wearing personal protective equipment, such as safety shoes, helmets and gloves.
Many youth have animal projects through 4-H and FFA and need to be taught proper methods of handling livestock. Education and close supervision are needed when children are learning the skills to handle livestock and the potentially dangerous situations that might arise. Fit the temperament of the animal to the ability of the child.
Fearing animals increases the risk of being hurt. Animals can “sense” fear and may be more temperamental than usual. Teach children appropriate ways to handle animals so they feel confident.
While there is certainly no magical formula, common sense is important to staying safe around animals. Understand how animals may respond to various situations, such as a narrow loading chute with shadows. This understanding can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Children should be supervised when working around animals. The kindest animal can accidentally step on a small child. Make children aware of all precautions.
When working around animals, teach children to:
Additional safety precautions include:
If you work and live around livestock, you share things with the animals, such as space, air and even diseases. This may be especially true in rural areas and on farms where increased contact with animals increases the risks. Children who live on farms and who are exposed to the same risks as their parents experience even greater risks due to their smaller size and lower tolerance levels.
All animals, whether domestic or wild, can be a source of human illness and parasitic infestation. Up to 250 diseases that can be shared between humans and animals have been identified, many of which pose significant risks as occupational diseases in an agricultural setting. The diseases and infections common to both animals and humans are known as zoonoses. Not all zoonoses are found in every state. The risk to humans may be great or small depending on the disease and the situation. In most developed countries, infectious animal-related diseases have become less significant than chronic diseases. But zoonotic diseases can still be a major economic drain on the livestock industry.
Many zoonotic diseases are not diagnosed as such and are often hard to detect, but they have been around for a thousands of years. Zoonotic diseases have played a role throughout history. Water pollution, disease spread by gnats and flies, and anthrax, that caused boils and death, could be described as zoonotic. Black Death, or The Plague, which spread through Europe and Asia between the 14th and 17th centuries, was a zoonotic disease that killed one-fourth to one-third of the population, most of who lived on farms or in small communities. This disease was transmitted from rats to humans by fleas.
Better animal and environmental health on the farm translates into better health and safety for the farm operator, employees and family. Humans are in a much safer position in today’s world because of stricter laws and sanitation systems. Sanitation has improved, as has knowledge about the development of antibiotics, vaccines and other drugs that battle zoonotic diseases. Prevention is still the most important factor in protecting people and animals.
The following are some of the more common animal-related diseases:
Salmonella: Salmonella is the single most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. Organisms that cause this disease are found in poultry and in wild and domestic animals. Salmonella can be transmitted to people through contaminated food or water and can cause severe gastrointestinal distress and fever. The disease is often associated with poorly cooked poultry, raw eggs and egg products, raw milk and milk products, and meat and meat products. Personal hygiene and cooking food at 160 degrees or higher helps reduce the risk of catching this disease from food.
Toxoplasmosis: In sheep, this virus often causes fetuses to be aborted. Other carriers include cattle, swine, goats and chickens. However, cats are the main carriers and pose a real threat for some women. A pregnant woman who has never had toxoplasmosis is at a greater risk of miscarrying or having a baby afflicted with a birth defect if she becomes infected during pregnancy. People may be exposed to toxoplasmosis while cleaning a litter box or working in the garden where a cat has deposited urine or fecal material. To avoid possible infection, rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning a litter box or working in areas where cats deposit waste.
Tetanus: People who work around any type of livestock should keep their tetanus vaccinations up to date. The spores that cause tetanus are found in soil contaminated by animal feces. These spores can live in soil for several years. For tetanus to develop in animals and humans, the organism must gain entrance through broken skin, such as awound. In the past, doctors recommended a tetanus vaccination be given every year, but that is now extended to ten years. However, if you see a doctor because of a severe cut, chances are, he or she will probably recommend you receive another vaccination to be safe.
West Nile Virus: West Nile Virus is a disease most commonly spread by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite an infected bird that has the virus. Most cases occur during the summer and fall. About one in 150 cases cause disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weaknesses, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Twenty percent of those infected will have a few of these same symptoms. Approximately 80 percent of people that are infected with the virus will show no symptoms. Symptoms appear anywhere from 3 to 14 days after being bitten. More mild cases of fever and aches pass on their own while more severe cases need to receive hospital treatment. People over 50 and pregnant or nursing women are most at risk of the dangers associated with West Nile Virus.
There are several ways to prevent West Nile Virus. Most mosquitoes are active during dawn and dusk so stay inside during these times. Wear long pants and shirt sleeves and apply bug repellant when you must be outside. Use screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by emptying standing water, changing pet water dishes and drilling holes in tire swings.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): Bird flu is the common name for Avian Influenza. This influenza virus occurs naturally in birds and is carried in the intestines of chickens, ducks, and turkeys. All birds are susceptible, including wild waterfowl and game birds. The virus is very contagious when saliva, nasal secretions and feces are shared among birds. The mortality rate among poultry flocks can reach 90-100%. While bird flu may be transferred to other animals, such as horses, pigs and cats, it does not move between species readily. This is also true of transmission to humans. In outbreaks of the bird flu in Asia, those humans aff ected had close contact with the affected birds. As of 2006, human-to- human transmission had not been documented.
Precautions for working with poultry:
The advice for preventing bird flu in the kitchen is the same as for any poultry disease:
Mad Cow Disease: Mad cow disease is the common name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). It is a slow, progressive, degenerative and fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. This disease is caused by a type of protein called prions, which is normally found in cattle. This abnormal tissue occurs in the small intestine and tonsils and then moves to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
A similar disease can also infect people who eat meat from the areas of the brain and nervous system of an animal infected with mad cow disease. For this reason there are very tight restrictions on the meat industry to prevent cattle with mad cow disease from entering the food chain. This is also true for dietary supplements and cosmetics that use animal products. There is no scientific research that indicates that mad cow disease can be transmitted in milk and milk products. Mad cow disease is not destroyed by normal cooking procedures.
When raising livestock, especially cattle, do not feed them unprocessed animal feed. Many of the cases of mad cow diseases have been traced back to the use of meat and bone meal as a protein supplement. The only way to prevent ingestion of mad cow disease-infected meat is to buy only meats from reliable sources.
Bruccellosis (Bangs Disease): Affects cattle, goats and swine. It can be transmitted to people through unprocessed milk, infected carcasses or by an aborted fetus or afterbirth from an aff ected animal. The presence of Bruccellosis is categorized on a state-by-state basis in the United States. Questions about state classification can be directed to each state’s veterinary office.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Despite its name, this disease occurs throughout other areas of the United States more often than in the Rocky Mountains. It is carried on infected ticks that attach to pets and people. The best prevention is to check oneself for ticks once or twice daily when you have been in a heavily wooded or grassy area. The onset of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occurs within 10 to 12 days after a tick bite. Early signs include: flu, headache, fever, nausea, lack of appetite, extreme fatigue and possibly a stiff neck. A rash may also occur on palms, soles or the wrist area. Fatalities are most frequently the result of tardiness in seeking medical attention. Increased awareness of ticks and personal protection eff orts have recently reduced the number of cases.
Lyme Disease: Exposure occurs through bites from the Deer or Lone Star Tick species, most commonly in, or within a mile or so, of wooded streambeds or lake shores. These ticks most commonly bite during fall or springtime. Dogs, horses, cattle, deer, humans and other animals are susceptible to Lyme disease. Early signs of infection usually include a rash that spreads out from the bite site 4 to 14 days after the tick is removed. A small red bump appears near the bite and enlarges into a spreading red ring. This is followed by general sickness, including fever, chills, headaches and backache. Some people may experience palpitations, dizziness and shortness of breath. Headaches, fatigue, muscular pain, swollen joints and nervous system involvement may appear early on or several months later. Although early treatment is crucial for full recovery, early diagnosis is difficult and seldom certain. Lyme Disease responds well to antibiotics in its early stages, but if left untreated, may advance into a chronic stage involving rheumatoid arthritis or cardiac problems.
Specific recommendations for protection against ticks and lyme disease:
Rabies: A deadly virus that aff ects the central nervous system. It can be transmitted by saliva from an infected animal through a bite, open wound or sore. Today, over 90% of rabies cases come from wildlife, but before 1960, the majority came from domestic animals. The number of humans who have died from rabies in the United States has declined from more than 100 annual cases at the turn of the century, to only one or two per year in the 1990s.
Although widespread pet inoculation has greatly reduced the threat of rabies, rural people are still at greater risk due to their proximity to wild animals. Call a veterinarian to examine animals that are observed acting abnormally. Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten by an animal that you suspect is rabid. This disease causes great fear because rabies is fatal once symptoms begin. Increased public awareness, mandatory rabies vaccination of dogs, and control of stray dogs by enforcement of leash laws have significantly reduced the risk of rabies. The greatest risks of rabies today are from carnivorous animals, bat bites, and through oral examination of salivating cattle by farmers and veterinarians.
Trichinosis: Caused by tiny parasites, it can be painful and sometimes fatal to humans. It is transmitted by consumption of uncooked or partially cooked pork. Trichinosis has nearly been eradicated in North America. Thorough cooking is the best prevention.
Staphylococcus: A bacteria that is part of the natural flora in an animal’s mouth. It is common for domestic cat bites to lead to staph infections. It is extremely important for children to notify their parents immediately if they are bitten. Staphylococcus can cause blood poisoning within 24 hours.
Ringworm: A fungus that is spread by spores. All animals can carry this fungus. The lesions are round with a rough, raised, flaky appearance. If observed on children, seek medical attention for topical medication.
Lice: Blood sucking parasites which are white in appearance. They are species specific, meaning they will not migrate between animals or from animals to people.
Micotil (Tilicosin Phospahate): An antibiotic used on cattle to control respiratory disease. It is injected subcutaneously in the animal and can be fatal if injected in swine. Although Micotil is not a disease, it is important to note that humans are also at risk if they are accidentally injected with this medication. If humans are injected with more than 1 ml. of the medicine if could be fatal.
To prevent accidental injections to humans: restrain cattle prior to injections; insert the needle subcutaneously at a top-down angle at the shoulder; administer a single dose at 1.5 ml per 100 pounds; keep protective covers on needles; never carry loaded syringes in your pocket; do not use automatic pistol grip syringes; properly dispose of used needles and always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after administration.
Children and adolescents who work with animals for long periods of time are most at risk to diseases associated with livestock production.
While zoonotic diseases can be a threat to animals and humans, it is important to recognize that these diseases can be prevented by sanitation, personal hygiene and proper animal health care.
The following safe practices can help control health risks associated with zoonotic diseases:
Animal related equipment and building structures can influence injuries to both humans and animals. Well maintained housing and handling equipment can accelerate work operations, reduce time and labor requirements, cut costs, and most importantly, decrease the risk of injury to people and animals.
High door sills, cluttered alleyways and uneven walking surfaces are tripping hazards and can cause serious injury and lost work time. Studies have found that falls account for 18 percent of all animal-related accidents. Maintaining floors helps prevent animals and people from stumbling. Floors should be level and allow water to easily drain to prevent slick surfaces. Slatted floors are also used to keep animals dry in a confinement system.
Fences and gates should be strong enough to contain large, crowded livestock. When selecting materials for fences, the key is strength and durability. A protruding piece of lumber, nail or bolt can cause painful and infectious injuries.
A good facility will provide a way to safely control animals, while allowing easy access for feeding and cleaning. Alleys and chutes should be wide enough to allow animals to pass, but not so wide they can turn around. A chute width of 30 inches is recommended for mature beef animals. Using solid wall chutes, instead of fencing, can lower the number of animals that balk in the chute. Walk and work surfaces should be kept as clear as possible and properly lighted to prevent injuries. Pens, chutes, gates, fences and loading ramps should be strong and work properly. Pass throughs should be provided every 20 feet to provide handlers with an emergency outlet.
Keep lighting even and subdued since lighting aff ects animals’ behavior. Bright spots and shadows tend to make animals more skittish, especially near crowded or loading areas. Animals will move from dark areas into light. Avoid layouts that cause animals to look directly into the sun.
Fencing is used on farms to contain animals in a restricted area and prevent access to areas they should not occupy. Fences also protect humans, especially young children, by providing a barrier between them and animals.
Set up, follow and implement farm rules that enforce boundaries in regards to fencing. Remind children of the consequences of crossing fences. Older youth can be good role models for young children by showing them how to remain outside fences when feeding livestock.
Milking cows is a critical job on any dairy farm. Many family members assist with milking since cows must be milked several times a day, 365 days per year. Since milking involves close contact with large dairy cows, almost 40 percent of all dairy farm injuries occur during milking. Youth who help with the milking process should learn how to prevent injuries.
Pipeline cleaner is also a concern in dairy operations and can be very dangerous if ingested. Small children who cannot read the label are at special risk. Keep cleaner containers and measuring cups well marked and out of children’s reach.
Gases produced by animal wastes can be dangerous to children and adults. Those unaware of the dangers can become incapacitated before they even know they are in danger. Toxic gases, especially in confined spaces such as manure pits, silos and grain bins, can pose hazards to humans and animals. Four gases of major concern found in manure pits are: hydrogen sulfide (HS), ammonia (NH), carbon dioxide (CO) and methane (CH).
The primary health hazards of these gases are:
Swine and poultry confinement units are often contaminated with gases and dust in sufficient enough quantities to create an unhealthy work environment. Much of the dust within confinement units can cause harm to humans and it is common for more than one of the gases listed above to be present in excessive levels. A high percentage of swine confinement workers suff er short term, ill effects and adverse upper respiratory symptoms from working in these units.
Noise is also a hazard of working in swine confinement areas. Squealing pigs can have common noise levels of 130 decibels. In comparison, a jet airplane produces a level of 140 decibels and a chain saw rates at 115 decibels. These levels can cause pain and prolonged exposure will affect future hearing.
DUST AND MOLD
Grain handling, feed handling and processing, in conjunction with livestock confinement units, can be potential sources of dangerous dust particles. The eff ect of dust on workers’ health is dependent upon the concentration, size and composition of dust particles. Dust has been found to cause delayed fever, chills, muscle aches and pain in people exposed to excessive amounts of organic dust.
The following tips will help improve air quality:
Injuries and illnesses occur in connection with buildings, tools and supplies used in the care of livestock.
Specific prevention strategies related to children include:
Buildings are the site for nearly 30% of all farm-related injuries. To help reduce injuries to family members, take care to ensure that buildings and the surrounding areas meet safety standards.
Precautions to help ensure safety around livestock areas:
Owning and caring for a pet can be a great learning experience for children. While caring for the animal’s needs, children learn ownership responsibilities and experience the joys and comforts of being close to a living being. Many of the skills learned from caring for house pets can also be used when working with farm livestock. Learning to slowly approach a mother cat when she has just had kittens can be transferred to approaching larger animals such as cows, mares and sows. Observing the change in a dog’s temperament when it is approached by a stranger can help teach a young livestock handler how to safely approach an unfamiliar horse at the fairgrounds.
Many people believe that it is nice for children to grow up with a dog. Kids and dogs are wonderful, practically an American tradition, but owning a dog can lead to disaster when people do not understand the responsibilities involved.
Walking a dog on a leash is a common chore for youth. As with all animals, a leash should not be wrapped around the hand, especially on a large dog. Keep the dog close to you and under control at all times.
Every 40 seconds someone in the United States seeks medical treatment for a dog bite. Today’s statistics show that the majority of dog bites causing serious injury involve medium to large size dogs and small children under the age of five years. The face is most frequently targeted. The dog is usually known to the child or is the family pet. Often, the parents or caretakers of the child report that they did not witness or do not know what caused the incident. If you are thinking about getting a dog for your child or already have one, the following guidelines may help prevent a tragedy or possibly save the life of a child.
Did you know that:
If you own a dog:
To understand how bites occur, what causes them and how to prevent them, education about the nature of dogs and the nature of small children is important. A dog’s basic temperament is first inherited, then modified by events in its life and proper training. A dog’s temperament, instincts and training have the biggest eff ects on how that dog reacts to the world around him and his level of tolerance.
Very few bites happen without provocation. Dogs are not people and they do not think in the same way as people. Dogs look at the world around them with a diff erent perspective and most of their actions are dictated by instinct. A dog will react to situations according to what his instincts tell him unless these instincts are overridden by the consistent training and socialization he receives from his owner.
Children are often injured while attempting to pet a dog which does not wish to be approached. The dog’s first instinctive reaction is to show displeasure by giving a warning. The type and number of warnings given can vary. Many dogs will just walk away, which can also be considered a warning. If the child continues to try to pet the dog, a stern warning, usually a growl, will follow first. The growl means that something more unpleasant will follow if the warning is not heeded. Some warnings are more subtle - a stiff ening of the body, for example. Few dogs bite without giving some kind of indication, beforehand.
Small children (and some adults) do not recognize warning signs. A very young child (under age 6) may not know what a growl means. What may be obvious to an adult may not be understood by a child. An unsupervised child may continue to pet or follow a dog that has made it clear it does not want to be touched.
Other signs of a dog being upset enough to bite may include: snarling with teeth showing, ears laid back, stiff legs, a raised tail or the hair on the back stands up.
Dogs, and other animals, instinctively set up an invisible “fight or flight” boundary around themselves. The size of this area depends on the animal, level of confidence and tolerance. A fearful animal will give itself a wider area than a more stable one. When someone who a dog perceives as threatening or unwelcome enters its area, the dog has two choices - it can run away or it can defend itself. If it feels that it cannot run away, it will fight, no matter how afraid it might be. A small child that is petting or hugging a dog has already intruded well within the dog’s fight or flight boundary — the dog’s safety zone. If the dog has tried to leave or has issued a warning with no response from the child, the dog has no other recourse but to bite. This is normal, instinctive behavior for the dog. The dog responds to what it perceives as a threat and follows its instincts. A child’s seemingly innocent action of petting the dog can be provocation when seen through the eyes of the dog.
Other circumstances can provoke a dog to bite a child. Running, playing and screaming children can trigger an instinctive chasing predator/prey reaction in some dogs. Children who rough house and wrestle with dogs unknowingly encourage them to use their teeth on humans. Dogs equate this kind of play with littermates or other dogs where the use of teeth is allowed. Startling a sleeping dog or petting a dog when he’s eating can also provoke a bite.
When choosing a dog for a child:
Tips for avoiding dog bites. Teach your kids these simple rules:
House cats can be great pets for children, although children can sustain serious wounds if they are bitten or scratched by a cat. One common disease that can result from these scratches is called “cat scratch fever.” A blood infection resulting in high fever can occur. To prevent this from happening instruct children to handle cats properly.
Toxoplasmosis can result from exposure to cat feces. This parasitic disease is transferred when a person touches their hands to their face after cleaning a litter box or working in the garden where a cat has deposited urine or fecal material.
A pregnant woman who has never had toxoplasmosis is at a greater risk of miscarrying or having a baby afflicted with a birth defect if she becomes infected during pregnancy. To avoid possible infection, rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning a litter box or working in areas where cats deposit waste.
Dog and cat bites can both cause pain and damage. When not properly cared for, between 3 to 18 percent of dog bites become infected while up to 80 percent of cat bites lead to infection. Since dogs are usually larger and have duller teeth than cats, their bites produce more structural damage. Cats have small, sharp teeth that puncture the skin and make it difficult to clean a deep wound and wash out bacteria. Cats also carry staphylococcus in their saliva. Their bites can cause blood poisoning within 12-24 hours.
Although dogs and cats are the most common pets, other animals such as rabbits, hamsters and livestock can be wonderful companions for children. The care of other small animals can teach children the responsibility of caring for livestock.
Family pets should be cared for with love and respect. Make sure they receive all shots, especially rabies, and worm them regularly. Keep litter boxes and the yard clean. Pet food is a tempting snack for small children, so keep them away from food dishes. Remember that children have an increased risk of being bitten on the face, head or neck partly because of their small size.
Help children learn safety and health procedures around small animals by practicing and role modeling safe practices with pets.
What to do if you are bitten:
Kids and animals are wonderful together... when adults use common sense and put SAFETY first.
During the last decade, participation in horserelated activities has continued to grow. The American Medical Equestrian Association estimates that 30 million people in the United States are involved in equine sports and membership in many horse associations is growing steadily. These numbers reflect the importance of teaching safe horse handling at every level. Basic safety practices are essential in every horse operation, and horse sports can be very rewarding when these practices are followed.
As a rider, you should have working knowledge of horse behavior so you can anticipate and prevent potentially hazardous situations. Horses, by nature, are easily startled animals, but most incidents can be prevented by using proper handling methods.
Be sure that the horse and rider are suitable for each other. Beginners should ride only calm, dependable horses - preferably older horses - until they are proficient enough to handle more difficult ones.
Equipment must be adequate for the situation and in good repair. Check the rigging, cinches, latigo straps and billets of your saddle to be sure they are strong and will not break. Check bridles and reins, especially at stress points, and make sure the leather is strong and supple. Leather that is dry and cracked can break easily.
No matter how experienced you are in handling horses or how well you know your horse, when handling a large animal that weighs 1000 or more pounds precaution and safety should be practiced at all times.
Horses tend to be excitable and frightened by the most unexpected circumstances. If you are not prepared for such an emergency you may find yourself dragged, thrown or stepped on; all of which lead to the possibility of serious injury.
Approach a horse from an angle at the shoulder. Speak softly when approaching, especially from behind, to let it know of your presence. Horses have monocular vision, which leaves them with a blind spot in front of their nose, under their head and directly behind them. Sudden sounds Horse Safety or movements, particularly within these spots, tend to frighten horses. When you are within reach, touch the horse by first gently stroking the shoulder and moving calmly to the head. Don’t walk up from behind and slap its rear end or suddenly lunge for its head.
Carry a lead rope attached to the bottom noseband ring of a halter when you attempt to catch a horse. Once beside the horse’s shoulder, slip the rope around its neck and secure it by holding both sides in the same hand. This enables you to exert control in the event the horse starts to walk away. Do not tie the rope around its neck. Gently grasp the horse’s nose with your right hand, slide the halter up over its nose with your left hand and place the crownpiece behind its ears. Do not drag the halter over its nose. Some horses are tickled by the nosepiece when it bends the large hairs on the nose and face. This can cause them to raise their head or try to move away from the halter.
Make sure the halter is fitted properly. A good guide to remember this is the “2 finger rule”:
Before saddling, groom your horse thoroughly. Check that there are no sores on its back or in the cinch area, as this could cause the horse pain. Check your blanket for foreign objects or dirt buildup and be sure the blanket is dry. When placing the blanket, make sure there are no wrinkles and that the blanket off ers adequate padding for the horse. Check that the saddle cinch is clean, dirty cinches can cause saddle sores. A horse that is experiencing pain under the tack will often rear or buck to unseat the rider in an attempt to ease the pain.
Pick up the saddle so that the fork is in your left hand and saddle the horse from its left side. Never approach the horse carrying a saddle with a dragging cinch, as you could step on it and fall under the horse. Saddles fit horses diff erently, so be sure your saddle properly fits your horse. There should be nothing between you and the horse that could trip you as you carry the saddle. Be sure there is at least three inches of blanket in front of the skirts of the saddle.
After placing the saddle on the horse’s back, move to the opposite side by walking behind the horse, keeping a hand on the horse and walk as close as possible. Talk to your horse frequently, especially when changing sides or starting something new. Check the cinch straps to make sure they are accessible from the left side.
Return to the left side and reach under the horse and grasp the cinch. With the left hand under the buckle to prevent pinching, tighten the cinch slowly, an inch or two at a time. Some horses may anticipate discomfort and react negatively when you tighten the cinch. Tighten the cinch until it is snug enough to hold the saddle on the horse. Recheck the front cinch before mounting.
To unsaddle, simply reverse the above process, lifting the saddle slightly before pulling it off . Always unfasten the rear cinch first (and breast collar, if present) to prevent an accident, such as the saddle turning while you are unsaddling. Your horse may panic if the saddle turns with the flank cinch fastened.
Working on the horse’s left side again, drop the nosepiece of the halter off the nose and refasten the crown strap around the neck. Avoid placing your face too close to the horse’s head during bridling and use caution when handling the ears. This helps ensure that you do not get hit in the face should the horse toss its head. Throughout the bridling process, be particularly careful not to wrap any piece of equipment attached to the horse around your hand or arm, as it could tighten around your hand if the animal bolts and cause serious injury.
With the bit pushed lightly against the horse’s lips, insert the left thumb in the corner of the mouth. There are no teeth here, so if necessary you can put pressure on the bar of the mouth with your thumb to encourage the horse to open its mouth. Many horses will open their mouth as you approach with the bit.
Lift the bridle upward with the right hand as you gently feed the bit over the teeth. Never jerk the bridle and move with the horse if it moves its heads. Place the crown of the bridle over one ear and then the other, bending the ears forward gently as you pull the bridle over them.
The bridle should be properly adjusted before you ride. Also check the curb chain or curb strap. You should be able to fit three fingers sideways between the horse’s chin and the chain, but the chain should be tight enough that it places pressure on the chin when you pull back on the reins. This ensures that you have enough control of your horse. When removing a bridle from the horse’s head be careful not to drop the bit onto the horse’s front teeth. Allow the horse enough time to spit the bit out on its own.
Wear hard-toed boots with a heel at all times when handling or riding horses. The heel will help prevent your foot from sliding through the stirrup and the hard boot will protect your toes if the horse steps on them. Always wear long jeans to protect your legs from saddle sores and trail hazards. Avoid shorts and any type of pant made from slick material, such as nylon.
You may want to wear gloves for hand protection, particularly in the winter when hands are exposed to harsh weather. Gloves will also help in the summer because your hands may sweat and make the reins slippery. Chaps keep you warm in the winter and provide protection for your legs and clothing.
Avoid dangling jewelry. Loose shirts are a hazard because they can catch on the saddle horn when you dismount. Long hair should be pulled back so your vision is not restricted.
Horses can run at speeds of 45 mph. It is important to wear a riding helmet to protect your head in case of a fall (when purchasing a helmet, look for the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) equestrian label ASTM F-1163). Balance and strength are not as developed in children so they are at greater risk of falling than adults. If the horse is spooked or gets out of control, the rider could fall and be seriously injured or killed.
In areas where horse-drawn buggies are common modes of transportation, special precautions should be taken to prevent incidents to both their passengers and other drivers sharing the road. If you are the buggy driver, make sure the buggy has a slow-moving-vehicle (SMV) sign on the back of the buggy. Battery-operated tail lights and flashing amber lights should be used at dusk and after dark. If you are in a vehicle that is sharing the road with a buggy, allow a safe distance between your vehicle and the buggy. Use caution when passing and do not intentionally startle or hurt the animal. It is important to keep horses calm around roadway traffic.
Any person driving a horse-drawn vehicle on a roadway is subject to the motor vehicle laws of the state. The regulations that are applicable to pedestrians apply to any person riding or leading an animal on a roadway or shoulder.
When selecting a horse for a child, take into consideration their size and strength; their knowledge about horse care and how to handle them; the child’s interest in the horse; and how you plan to use the horse. Don’t make the mistake of buying cheap and purchasing a young, unbroken horse so your child and the horse can “grow up together.” This situation can lead to injuries and cause the child to quickly lose interest in the animal. If you are new to the horse industry, ask veterinarians who work with horses or 4-H extension agents to refer you to reputable horse people who can help you find the right horse for your child.
Taking riding lessons prior to purchasing a horse gives the child a chance to see if he or she really likes riding, what chores are involved with the care of the animal and helps you decide what level of training the horse will need in order for your child to handle it. Lessons also teach the child the proper way to ride and how to safely work around horses. With young and inexperienced riders, buy a more seasoned horse that has experience in the area you are going to use it in and make sure the horse likes children. When selecting a horse, try it out in the environment it is intended to be used in: trail riding, driving or competition.
Riding horses is an enjoyable experience for many youth. Rural, farm and visiting urban children can gain pleasure from riding horses and form a bond with a special animal. This is a great way to teach responsibility for the care and maintenance of animals.
Special precautions should be taken to ensure that this experience does not turn into a tragedy. Listed below are prevention strategies to ensure horse riding and care is performed safely.
Special precautions when children are involved with horses
Safety tips for anyone working with horses
Safety tips for arenas and jump courses
Remember, horse riding is a great sport if safety is a prime concern of both parents and children.
The rural and farm environment, with its open spaces and exposure to wooded and remote areas, lends itself to wild animals’ living spaces. Living in close proximity to wildlife can be a positive attribute for those living in a rural setting if you are a hunter or nature lover. But it can also be a negative factor if exposure to wildlife causes injury.
There are many wildlife species living in rural areas. The specific type of animals that are present is dependant on the terrain and climate of the area. For example, bears live near mountainous areas; small wildlife, such as rabbits, skunks and raccoons inhabit back yards; deer, elk and moose live where they can forage for grain and predator animals like fox, coyote and wolves live where they can find smaller prey. Each wildlife species has its own characteristics, therefore ways to prevent human injury if you come in contact with them may vary. However, many safety tips apply to all wildlife.
Bears: Bears like to live in forested, hilly and mountainous areas. Most bears are not typically aggressive and rarely pose a threat to humans if left alone. If you should come upon a bear he/she will probably run away to avoid human contact. Bears quickly learn to associate food with humans and can become aggressive for an easy meal.
Snakes: Some snakes are venomous (poisonous), but most are not. Of the 8000 snakebite victims in the United States each year, only about 10 to 15 die. However, if you are bitten by a snake you should seek medical attention.
Ways to prevent snake bites include:
If a snake bites a person:
Wild Dogs: Wild dogs like coyotes, foxes and wolves are predators, which means their primary diet consists of other animals. They guard their own territory just like domesticated dogs. Foxes are small wild dogs that reach about 12 pounds when mature and live in fields and open places. Foxes have the reputation of being secretive and sly. Adult coyotes weigh between 25 and 35 pounds and are strong swimmers. When live prey is hard to find, they feed on fruit and berries. Wolves are much larger than foxes and coyotes. An adult, male wolf usually weighs between 70 to 90 pounds, while females weigh between 55 and 75 pounds. Wolves usually travel in packs and may slaughter other animals simply for the kill.
In order to stay safe:
Wild Cats: Mountain lions and bobcats are considered wild cats. They are often found in mountainous, timber areas. Although cat attacks are rare, they can take place if the animal is provoked or disturbed.
Follow these precautions if around wild cats:
Small Prairie Wildlife: Smaller wild animals are found in numerous rural areas. Just because they are small does not mean they are not dangerous to humans if their territory is invaded. Rabbits, skunks, raccoons, beavers, gophers, muskrats, rats, etc. fall into this category. Normally, they will run if frightened, but can cause injury if cornered. Along with physical dangers from teeth and claws, many of these animals can carry disease. In many locations, skunks are likely to carry the rabies virus.
The same general precautions listed under “Never Feed Animals” are also true for small wild animals.
Driving within the rural environment presents more dangers due to the existence of wildlife close to driving vehicles. In Ontario, 90% of wildlife-traffic incidents occur on two-lane roads outside of urban areas. 84% of these incidents occur in good weather, predominately in late spring and fall. Peak times for vehicle-wildlife collisions are from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (dawn) and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (dusk).
When driving in areas where wildlife may be present, follow these precautions to prevent accidents:
Conducting surveys of your intended program audience can identify knowledge about animal and livestock safety. If the surveys are done before an educational program takes place, it will give the presenter a basis for where his/her audience is, in relation to animal safety. The educational program can then target issues lacking by the audience.
The surveys can be conducted again after the program has taken place in a pre and posttest format. This will identify change in knowledge. The resulting information could make a great newspaper article when reporting the changes made by your audience.
Listed on page 32 are several questions related to the information in this packet. Take into consideration what topics you plan to cover in your presentation and program. If you will not be covering wild animals, don’t use the questions related to this topic. The questions can be combined or rewritten to be specific to your program.
Surveys can be completed and tabulated several ways. They can be copied, distributed, completed, collected, and tabulated by hand if there are only a few surveys. If many surveys will be completed, an easier way to complete the process is using an electronic software package; some of them are free if you want only basic analysis results. Use their suggestions to ensure a good response rate.
ANSWER KEY: 1:b, 2:c, 3:d, 4:c, 5:c, 6:b, 7:d, 8:c, 9:a, 10:d, 11:c, 12:d, 13:b, 14:d
The self-assessment tool can be used to identify behaviors used by your audience. If used before your presentation and educational session, it can be used to identify areas that need special attention. If used after the program, it can be used to see if your audience has changed their behavior when compared to the assessment done prior to the program. This information is self-reported so there is a chance the information may be slanted.
|I wear a helmet when riding a horse|
I wear hard toed boots when working with large animals
|I approach livestock at the shoulder|
|I approach livestock using a calm voice|
|I keep my hand on the animal when grooming them|
|I wash my hands after working with livestock|
|I do not try to break up a fight between two animals|
|I take special caustion when mother animals are with their young|
I wear long sleeved shirts an dpants when walking where insects are abundant
|I dispose of animal waste in approved ways|
I recognize symptoms of toxic gases, leave the area, and contact the appropriate person
|I keep young children from approaching large livestock|
|I do not approach unfamiliar pets until getting permission from the owner|
Contact these organizations for additional information.
American Humane Association
63 Inverness Drive E
Englewood, CO 80112
Colorado State University
110 Veterinary Science Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
777 Warren Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Farm Safety Association
75 Farquhar Street, Suite 101
Guelph, Ontario N1H 3N4
Farmers Insurance Group
PO Box 2119
Warren, MI 48090-2119
Horsemanship Safety Association, Inc.
517 Bear Road
Lake Placid, FL 33852
Iowa State University Extension
119 Printing and Publishing Building
Ames, IA 50011-3171
Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
101 Trotter Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-5601
Manitoba 4-H Council
916-401 York Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3C OP8
Maryland Cooperative Extension
Caroline County Office
207 S Third Street
Denton, MD 21629
Michigan State University
223 Farrall Hall
Department of Ag Engineering
East Lansing, MI 48824
National Agricultural Safety Database
National Children’s Center for Rural &
Agricultural Health and Safety
National Farm Medicine Center
1000 N. Oak Ave.
Marshfield, WI 54449
Technical Assistance: 888-924-7233
National Institute for Animal Agriculture
1910 Lydia Drive
Bowling Green, KY 42104-5809
National Pork Board
PO Box 10383
10654 Justin Drive
Urbandale, IA 50322
New York Center for Agricultural
Medicine and Health
One Atwell Road
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Oklahoma State University
214 Agricultural Hall
Stillwater, OK 74078-0469
Penn State University
246 Agricultural Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802
615 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Rutgers Cooperative University
PO Box 231
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
State Farm Fire and Casualty
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710-0001
The Ohio State University Extension
Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering
590 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
The Zenith Insurance
7440 N. Palm Ave., Suite 103
Fresno, CA 93711
University of Delaware
16684 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947
University of Florida Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering
PO Box 110570
Gainsville, FL 32611-0570
University of Illinois
1304 W Pennsylvania Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
University of Maine
103 Libby Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5741
University of Missouri
207 Ag Engineering Building
Columbia, MO 65211
University of Wisconsin Extension
Publications 30 N. Murray Street, Rm 245
Madison, WI 53715
Washington State 4-H Foundation
7612 Pioneer Way
Puyallup, WA 98371-4998
Washington State University
126 Clark Hall
Pullman, WA 99164
Objective: Students will recognize physical characteristics of animals that may warn of impending dangers.
Concept: Children love to dress up and pretend. During this activity they will pretend to be animals. Maternal instinct is normal in all animals, including pets. Children should be taught to respect a mother animal when caring for her young.
Targeted Age: Preschool
Attach animal ears to plastic headbands. Use small ears for babies and large ears for mothers. Find fabric representing animals. Brown felt or fur can represent a dog. Use pink felt for pigs with a pink, cork screw pipe cleaner for a tail. Black and white Holstein material is available for cattle. Cut a slot for the head and attach a tail to the other end.
Have the students act out what a mother animal might do if her babies are approached by a human. Discuss the typical behavior of mother animals and the corresponding, appropriate and safe human behavior.
Discuss what behaviors farm animals portray to indicate danger warnings.
Have the children act out:
Q: What situations, other than being a new mother, can cause livestock to become agitated?
A: Animals that are sick, hungry or deprived can become aggressive, stubborn or can attack. They will usually give visual or audio signals that their behavior is negatively changing. Be alert at all times around animals. Sires or father animals can also become protective of his herd, causing aggressive behavior.
Discuss how people should safely behave when they are near animals showing these warnings:
Q: When approaching unfamiliar pets, what signals should warn you of danger?
A: Barred teeth, growling and a change in the ears are all signs of a change in animals’ temperament. Ask the owner’s permission before ever touching someone else’s pet.
Objective: Students will be able to recognize the diff erence between instinct and learned behavior in animals.
Concept: Just like humans, animals exhibit both instinct and learned behavior. By recognizing the diff erences between instincts and behaviors, a person can help alter an animal’s behavior that can be changed and stay away from instinctual behaviors that cannot be changed and lead to dangers.
Targeted Age: Elementary
Materials: Paper and pencils
Divide the students into small groups of four or five students. Assign a different animal to each group (horse, cow, ostrich, skunk, etc.). Instruct the students to act like the animals they are assigned. Encourage one student in each group to make noise, walk, eat, play, pass time, etc. like the animal their group is assigned. Have the rest of the group write down what they observe (panting, walking stiff legged, paws ground, tears flesh, jumps, etc.)
Q: Which of the exhibited behaviors would be considered an instinct?
A: A protective action, such as mothers protecting babies or bulls snorting to protect their territory, is an instinctual trait.
Q: Which of the exhibited behaviors could be considered a learned behavior?
A: When an animal comes to you when they are called or learns to stay away from electric fences.
Q: How does knowing the diff erence between an instinct and a learned behavior influence your safety around animals?
A: A learned behavior can be changed. However, it is more difficult to change a learned behavior than train the animal correctly in the first place. Instincts, such as protecting a baby animal, can lead to attacks on people if the animal feels threatened. By recognizing that the behavior is instinctual instead of learned, you can be more cautious.
Objective: Students will be able to identify visual signals that communicate emotions and possible behavior.
Concept: Both humans and animals give constant visual signals that communicate how they are feeling, what they are thinking and how they may respond to situations. By identifying these signs, you can more eff ectively deal with a potential situation that could lead to danger. In humans, you can usually address the issue by talking. Since animals cannot talk, your own behavior can ward off problems by avoiding the dangers.
Targeted Age: Middle School
Materials: Paper and pencils
Ask each student to observe a group of people in a crowded setting (lunch room, mall or any location where people congregate). Record observed body language (facial expressions, hand gestures, body movements, etc.). Notice any voice pitch or tone change if close enough to hear. When back together as a group, ask the students to interpret their observations. Relate this information to what might be observed in animals.
Find video clips of animals. These can be home videos, commercials showing animals, TV shows or do a search on the internet. Mute the sound so you are paying more attention to body signals. Discuss how the animal’s body changes to indicate emotion. Interpret the similarities between human and animal behavior.
Q: How do you know if body language is positive or negative?
A: In humans the most expressive signals usually come from the face, especially the mouth. Other parts of the body (examples: voice level and tone, arm movements) can also give clues. Each animal has a diff erent set of clues to its emotions. A cat may raise his back, a bull may snort, a ram may paw the ground, etc. By recognizing these signs, you are better able to take precautions if the animal is upset.
Q: What should you do if you observe that an animal is upset?
A: If you identify a sign that an animal may be upset, get away from the animal. Put a fence between yourself and the animal. Always be with an adult when you are around unfamiliar animals.
Objective: Students will be able to understand the importance of holding the lead rope correctly when leading livestock. They will also learn the size difference between themselves and the animal.
Concept: A person bound to the animal that is being led can be in danger if the animal bolts to get away from the person.
Targeted Age: Elementary through high school
Materials: Cotton rope, approximately 20 to 30 feet in length (cotton lunge line works well)
Ask each student their approximate weight. Place one student on one end of the rope, then place enough students on the other end that they would add up to 1000 lbs. Remind the students that the average weight of a full size horse or show steer is anywhere from 1000 lbs to 1300+ lbs. Do not allow students to wrap the rope around their body or hands.
Discuss a scenario where the student is leading the animal when it decides to go back to the barn or escape. Have the large group of students begin pulling on the rope and see if the single student can keep the others from “returning to the barn.”
Materials: One or more cattle or horse halters with cotton lead ropes attached
This activity asks the students to pretend to be animals and animal handlers. Have one student hang onto the halter and pretend to be the animal. Another student is the handler and holds onto the lead rope. Have the handler hold the rope coiled like a lyrate (see figure #1). Have the student that is holding the halter “spook” and start pulling hard. If you have enough children, you can have three or four hold onto the halter while the handler tries to hold the coiled lead rope in one hand. With the rope coiled, the lead rope will tighten around the student’s hand, trapping the hand so he cannot let go and could potentially be drug by the frightened animal.
Next, have the student holding the lead rope fold it into a figure 8 shape, hanging onto the center of the remaining lead (see figure #2). Have the other students “spook” again pulling on the halter. This time, the lead rope should slide through the youth’s hand and not tangle around their hand.
Make copies of the boy leading the team of work horses (picture below). Ask students to draw a picture showing how to safely hold the reins or lead rope when leading horses.
Q: How would having the rope around your waist or other parts of your body influence the results?
A: The rope, wherever placed, will tighten when the animal bolts, knocking down, tripping or dragging the person. Any large framed animal or pet has a lower center of gravity than a two-legged person who falls down more easily. A person is no match for the large bulk and weight of an animal.
Objective: Students will learn how to approach a horse safely and learn where the safety zones are when working around them. They will also learn body signals that help them identify animals that are approachable.
Concept: Every animal has a kicking or striking zone that makes it dangerous. The safest place to be when around a horse is close to its body. Identify body language that indicates the disposition of animals.
Targeted Age: Elementary through junior high
Materials: Red and green paper, standing toy model or stuffed horse
Make several green hand shapes and red stop sign shapes out of paper. Have the students tape or stick the green hands on the shoulders of the toy horse. Put the red stop signs on the face of the horse and around the hind quarters or rear of the large animal. Discuss the consequences of standing directly in front of the animal (may be run over) or directly behind (kicked by the hind legs).
Materials: Enlarge, color, and laminate the aerial illustration of a large animal and hat (below- pg 42 in the PDF).
Using rubber tacky, have the students come up and place the hat in the areas that are the safety zones (around the shoulders). Have them place the hat in the danger zones (directly in front of the horse and around the hind quarters). Enlarge the aerial drawing to life size. Place the drawing on the floor and have students approach the drawing from a safe location.
Materials: Copies of the resources below (on page 44 in the PDF).
Discuss the different body signals a horse gives to indicate whether he is friendly or unfriendly. Discuss what parts of a horse’s body might injure you, such as striking front legs, rearing and pawing, kicking with hind legs or biting. Discuss the direction of the ears, look in the eyes and talk about what the horse’s legs are doing.
Materials: Copies of the resource below (on page 45 of the PDF).
Discuss that the ears are the messengers to what a horse is listening to, how they are feeling and what they might be thinking about doing. Ears that are forward and relaxed tell you that the horse is happy and not fearful. Ears that are directed behind them, but not pinned down to the neck, are listening to what is behind the horse. Ears that are pinned back close to the neck indicate that the horse is very mad and may possibly rebel or fight.
Q: What determines the kick or strike zone of an animal?
A: The size of the animal and her leg length will determine how far it can kick. Always consider the power and size of the animal when working around large animals.
Q: What could happen to a person standing in the danger zone of an animal?
A: Horses are a flight animal, so when they feel threatened they will run. If you are standing in front of them, they may run you over or if they are mad, they may strike with their front legs and kick you. If you are standing around the hind quarters and they are startled, they may kick you.
Objective: Students will approach horses by touching them gently and speaking softly.
Concept: Horses have monocular vision, meaning they have a blind spot in front of their nose, under their head and directly behind them. Understanding how animals see will help students approach them safely.
Targeted Age: Elementary
Materials: Flat box (Approximately 12” x 24”)
Have a student pretend he/she is a horse with monocular vision by holding a large cardboard pizza box or shirt box directly under his/her chin. Explain that this is similar to not being able to see under your nose like a horse.
Before starting the activity, prompt one student to sneak up on the volunteer from under the box and grab his/her leg while at the same time, yelling loudly. Determine a key word ahead of time (such as pizza or shirt) to use as a signal. The volunteer will probably jump.
Using the same situation, try the activity again by having another student gently and quietly approach the “horse.”
Q: How does the noise level affect the “horse?”
A: A loud noise can startle an animal. When both sight and hearing are compromised, the animal is more likely to bolt.
Q: How does the way the “horse” is touched affect the demonstration?
A: Touching the animal roughly will spook the animal and cause them to jump.
Objective: Students will learn the importance of staying out of an animal’s prime kicking zone.
Targeted Age: Elementary through high school
Ask the Martial Arts instructor to demonstrate how to break a board using his/her leg or hand. Have the instructor explain to the students how the optimal distance for a kick that will break the board is at the fullest extension of the arm or leg. Make an analogy between a human’s kick and a cow or horse’s kick. When you are kicked at the peak reach of an animal’s legs, the kick can easily break bones.
You can do a similar activity to the one listed above by just using two people and having one stand very close to the other and try to either punch or kick them using your closest hand or leg (don’t do it hard). You will not be able to get much momentum behind the motion.
Have the recipient move about two feet away from the aggressor and then pretend to punch or kick the recipient (again don’t actually hit them). Show how much more force the aggressor has behind their motion. Explain why a person can be hurt so much more by standing two or more feet away.
Q: Would it be safer to be up close to an animal or 3 feet away?
A: Up close to an animal is safer. When you are standing a couple feet away the animal’s kick can reach its full momentum and be very harmful. If you are close and the animal kicks, the impact is less. Stand very close to the animal when grooming or handling livestock. If you are not grooming or handling, stay far away from the animal’s reach.
Stress that when working in close proximity to an animal it’s kick cannot gain full momentum which reduces the amount of pressure of impact. It is safest to either stay well beyond the reach of the animal’s legs or in very close proximity.
Objective: Students will recognize how the mass of large animals can lead to human injury.
Concept: Animals of all sizes are tempting to approach and touch. Large animals are especially dangerous to small children because of the size diff erence.
Targeted Age: Preschool to elementary
Mass/Force demonstration (actually mass/momentum, but students may have trouble with this term) Construct a model of curved, flexible wood or paneling with a plywood base. Construct pieces similar to the picture. The curved piece needs a groove cut in the middle.
Obtain four marbles (two large marbles to represent animals and two small marbles to represent children)
Using the two small marbles, demonstrate what happens when two likesized objects collide. Explain that this represents two children running into each other. Both marbles should roll up the curved wood at about the same distance. Do the same thing with the two larger marbles. Explain this represents two large animals. Use a marble of each size to show what happens when very different sized objects collide. This represents the results of a large animal colliding with a small child.
Emphasize the direction of each of the marbles and the distance they are thrown when impact takes place. Explain the size relationship and the resulting force when two very different sized objects collide. Also, stress the resulting injuries that could occur from an animal impact or from an animal falling on a person.
Q: What precautions should children take when they are around large animals?
A: Stay outside the fence. Have an adult present. Keep your eyes on the animals at all times. Approach large livestock at their shoulder area.
5-8 pound object
25-35 pound object
Activity 1 shows two different sized objects colliding as they are moving. Large animal’s body parts (tails, feet, heads) can also be dangerous when the animal is standing. (Example: a cow, horse, hog, etc. raises its head unexpectedly or steps on a foot).
Show this by comparing the weight of a 5-8 pound melon (bowling ball) with a 25-35 pound watermelon (or other large object). The two melons represent the comparison between human and large animal heads. Have the students pick up each separately and think about the weight of an animal’s head hitting them. Discuss how swishing or wagging tails can also hit people and hurt them or knock down a child.
Another way to emphasize this concept is to push a small object against a large one. Have one of the smallest students in the class volunteer. As a larger person/leader, see who can push the hardest. Discuss the differences in size and strength.
Make the analogy of a large animal and a small child in size and strength.
Q: Which animals have appendages (tails, legs, heads) that are large enough to hurt a person.
A: All animals larger than a person hold potential for danger (cattle, horses, pigs, ostriches, etc.). Because dogs are often in close proximity to children, even their wagging tails can cause pain, especially if a child is hit in the face.
Q: Do only large animals cause injury to children?
A: No, smaller animals, such as baby animals and pets can cause injuries, especially when they are scared and try to fight. They can bite and scratch even though they are small.
Objective: Students will not interfere with an animal’s routine that could result in injury to a person.
Concept: Animals become accustomed to routine and will become agitated, and subsequently dangerous, if this routine is broken.
Targeted Age: Upper elementary
Materials: Bean bag
Ask a volunteer group of six students to form a circle. Create a routine of tossing a bean bag in the same pattern, calling each person by name before tossing them the bean bag. Do this several (6-8) times so a pattern is established. After you think the group is following the routine without much thought, suddenly change the order.
Q: What are examples of animal routines?
A: Cows following the same path to the pasture or livestock coming to the feed trough at the same time each day.
Q: What might happen if you got in the way of a dairy cow when she is going to the barn for milking?
A: You could be pushed down and run over.
Q: How does animal behavior change when their routine is disturbed?
A: Animals can be agitated when their routine is broken. They may push and shove humans or be forceful.
Objective: Students will learn to stay outside animal fences.
Concept: Fences on the farm are important barriers for children to stay safe. They need to understand the importance of the rules concerning fences and abide by them.
Targeted Age: Early elementary
Using the magnetic farm scene board (Available through Farm Safety for Just Kids) or the poster farm scene, place fences and animals where they should be in relation to each other. More details are given with the demonstration and poster/activity. (See paper animal activity poster). Laminating the posters and figures will extend the poster’s usefulness.
This activity can be conducted using children’s toy farm sets or Lego sets.
Q: While watching animals from outside the fence, how should you behave?
A: Use calm, low voices so you don’t startle the animals. Don’t tease the animals. It is best to feed animals from outside the fence. Always have an adult close by.
Q: How does animal behavior change when their routine is disturbed?
A: Animals can be agitated when their routine is broken. They may push and shove humans or be forceful.
Objective: Students will understand risks and horse safety by writing about horse-related incidents.
Concept: Making connections between horse-related incidents and repercussions of resulting tragedy will help students make the association between their action and the consequences of unsafe behavior.
Targeted Age: Middle to high school
Find newspaper articles about injuries associated with horse riding, handling, grooming and transporting. The Christopher Reeves story is an easily identifiable case. Local stories about people the students may know will also make a big impact.
Ask students to identify:
Ask students to rewrite the story using a positive ending. Entitle the story something like “Horse- Related Tragedy Avoided by Quick Thinking Youth.”
Q: Other than riding, what other ways can people be injured by horses?
A: Crushed while feeding; stepped on while grooming; knocked down while leading.
Conduct a contest where students write prevention articles, editorials or public service announcements (PSAs) stressing the importance of wearing proper personal protective equipment and safe techniques when riding. Have a group of local experts such as the veterinarian or horse trainers judge the entries. Submit the winners to the local paper or radio for publication.
Q: How can your writing influence others to safely work, ride and be around animals?
A: Identify the facts about animal injuries. Tell others about the risks associated with animals. Be persuasive when writing and speaking. Write PSAs that are concise, to the point and informative and will help others understand the importance of safety. Write to grab the reader’s attention.
Objective: Students will take care when approaching livestock by identifying where and how an animal’s vision is diff erent.
Concept: Cattle have what is called a panoramic field of vision. This means they can see close to 360 degrees around, leaving only a small blind area directly behind themselves. Due to eye locations, all animals see differently.
Targeted Age: Adolescents beginning to handle and show livestock
Purchase or make a periscope out of cardboard and mirrors like the one shown below. Have a student hold the periscope up to one eye. Tell the student to keep both eyes open and walk around the room. Ask the student his/her perceptions after the experiment.
Step 1: Cut two windows in a long box, as shown.
Step 2: Glue mirrors inside as shown in illustration. When you look through the bottom window you can see out the top.
Refer back to pages 39-41 for additional activities. Alter the instructions to reflect other animals.
Q: How was your perception altered?
A: By seeing in many directions, you (or the animal) has many images to view at the same time. This can be confusing.
Q: Were you startled when other people approached you?
A: The numerous images distort normal vision and cause sensory overload.
Objective: Students will increase their knowledge of concepts related to animal related health issues.
Concept: Working with animals can cause health related problems that aff ect humans. Knowledge of the potential results of exposure to animal diseases can help children understand why they need to stay away from risks.
Targeted Age: Middle school and high school
Materials: Nine cards marked with an X on one side and an O on the other.
The game is played similar to the TV version of Hollywood Squares or tic-tac-toe. Place nine chairs in a square. Have nine students sit in the chairs. Give each student a card, one side marked with an O and one side marked with an X.
Select two additional students as contestants to compete against each other. Assign O to one person and X to the other. After determining who will go first, one contestant chooses a person in one of the chairs.
The “Host” will ask a question of the person in the selected chair.
That person can either:
The first contestant must agree or disagree with the response. If he gives the correct response he “wins” the square. The person in that square holds up an X or O. If he misses, the other person “wins” the square. The only exception to this is if there are already two marks in a row he can not win by default. The other person has to get the answer correct to have a winning row.
The object is to get three marks in a row just like tic-tac-toe.
Questions for this activity can be found on the next page. Create additional questions using information from the educational information section of this packet.
Q: What are ways to prevent getting sick when around livestock?
A: Sanitation is essential for prevention of disease. Wash hands after handling any animal. Keep animals healthy by keeping vaccinations current and seek medical assistance if animals are ill.
Q: What should you do if scratched or bitten by an animal?
A: Report any break in the skin to an adult. All wounds should be cleaned with soap and water. If the animal is wild or unknown, go to the doctor for additional testing.
Q & A Section
Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans are called? Zoonoses.
This disease can be transmitted by the saliva from an infected animal. Rabies
If an animal contracts this disease, it is almost always fatal. Rabies
This disease is contracted through the bite of a tick. Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
A fungus which causes round-shaped lesions that are rough, raised and flaky is called? Ringworm.
When do early symptoms of lyme disease appear? 4 to 14 days after being bit
Give one symptom of lyme disease. Fever, chills, headaches or backache
This disease often comes from wild animals. Rabies
If you get a small red bump and it enlarges into a spreading red ring you may suspect you have? Lyme Disease.
Cattle can contract this disease by eating dead animal matter. Mad Cow Disease
This disease can be transmitted to humans through undercooked pork. Trichinosis
What animal most commonly transmits Toxoplasmosis? Cat
This disease is most commonly found in poultry products. Salmonella
What household animal is most likely to cause serious blood infections from bites or scratches? Cat
What are measures to prevent zoonoses? Clean animal facilities, immunizations, sanitary practices
Name a gas produced in swine confinement facilities that can be harmful to humans and animals. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide
What happened in central Europe during the 14th to 17th century related to zoonoses? Black Death or Plague
How was Black Death/Plague transmitted to humans? Flea bites
You can get this infection from stepping on a nail, especially if you are in a livestock area. Tetanus
What must a dog receive to prevent them from contracting rabies? Vaccination.
Lice will not migrate between animals or from animals to people. What is this called? Species-specific
What temperature do you need to cook food in order to kill Salmonella? 160º F
Mosquitoes transmit this disease. West Nile Virus
Objective: The students will increase comprehension of concepts related to manure handling and storage issues.
Concept: Livestock manure storage and handling can be dangerous to the health of people and animals exposed to high levels of the resulting gases.
Targeted Age: Middle school to high school
This game is played like the Jeopardy Game show. Contestants ask for a specific category and dollar level. The answer is uncovered and he/she must give the correct corresponding question within 30 seconds to win the money.
Cover the responses on the answer chart with sticky notes that can easily be removed. If you are using this game with a large crowd you may want to enlarge the board so it can be seen from across the room and use larger cover sheets instead of sticky notes. Additional questions and answers can be developed to address numerous topics.
Two teams can play against each other or each individual can play by themselves by raising their hands when they think they know the correct answer. Contestants for teams can be an individual representing a group or the total group working together to come up with a consensus answer.
Contestants ask for a specific topic and a dollar level (denominations of $100). The Master of Ceremonies (MC) pulls off the sticky note to reveal an answer. The contestant gives an appropriate question to the answer. The MC can be the judge or you can have a group of student judges determine if the response is correct. A score keeper keeps track of the money won or you can run off funny money on the copier or use play money from another game. The player with the most money at the end wins the game. It could be fun to auction off prizes with the “money” won. Prizes could include safety items such as dust masks, ear plugs, flash lights, fire extinguishers, emergency first aid kits, etc.
Q: What animals are often raised in confinement buildings?
A: Hogs, chickens and turkeys.
|RAISING FUMES||What is manure gas?||Who are animals and humans?||What is carbon dioxide or methane?||What is ammonia?||What is methane gas?|
|IT GETS TO US ALL||What is hydrogen sulfide?||What is hydrogen sulfide or carbon dioxide?||What are carbon dioxide and methane?||What is asphyxiation?||What may happen when you can no longer detect manure odor?|
|STEP IN THE YUCK||What is a hog confinement unit?||What is a manure pit cover?||What is a dug out?||What is agitation time?||What is explosion?|
|FUNGUS AMONG US||What is a dust mask?||What is a single strap dust mask?||What is animal waste dust?||What is increased ventilation?||What is adding tallow or soybean oil to swine feed?|
|RAISING FUMES||A dangerous and smelly by-product of animal wastes.||The ones aff ected by dangerous animal waste products.||Another word for poisonous gas.||A manure gas heavier than air and irritating to the eyes.||A gas that tends to accumulate near the top of manure pits.|
|IT GETS TO US ALL||Gas found in manure storage units that has a distinctive rotten egg smell.||Gas found in manure storage that is most deadly.||Manure gases that are odorless and therefore hard to detect.||A depletion of oxygen from carbon dioxide exposure can cause this to happen in humans.||A time when a false sense of security takes place around manure storage.|
|STEP IN THE YUCK||A large building where many hogs are raised.||This prevents people, especially children, from falling into a manure pit.||The slang term for a manure lagoon in Canada.||Time when manure fumes are the most dangerous.||Results of oxygen mixing with methane.|
|FUNGUS AMONG US||Protective equipment used over the nose that prevents dust from getting into the lungs.||Type of dust mask not recommended for protection against swine dust due to poor face contact.||A concentration of air particles in animal confinement units that can cause fever, chills, and muscle aches.||Air moving procedure that removes dust particles without wasting heat.||Addition of these substances that reduces dustiness in swine confinement areas.|
Objective: Students will stay away from animal situations where noise levels are high.
Concept: Noise levels from animals, especially in highly populated areas, can be very loud and damaging to the ears if prolonged exposure occurs. There are also times when animals are excessively loud, such as during loading and unloading. Children need to understand the importance of staying away from these situations so hearing is not damaged.
Targeted Age: Preschool and elementary
Materials: Cotton balls
This activity is played like the old telephone game. First, form a circle. As the leader, start a saying or slogan at the beginning of the circle. Say the message only once to each person.
Use slogans that are appropriate to the lesson like:
As the message is passed from student to student, try to be as concise as possible without letting anyone else hear. Have the last student tell what she thinks the message was.
Now have everyone put cotton in their ears and repeat the activity, using a diff erent message. Have the last student tell what he thinks the message was.
Discuss the difference between the two times the activity was done. How is loss of hearing effected by exposure to loud noises even while you are young.
To emphasize prevention of hearing loss, have students make ear plug containers for someone in their family. Collect 35mm film containers. Purchase or ask for donations of ear plugs. Have the students write a slogan, such as “please wear these in loud places so you can hear me say “I love you.” Place the ear plugs in the film containers and attach a cord. Suggest the students take them home and ask their father/mother/grandfather to place them in the barn or hog confinement building.
Q: What causes hearing loss?
A: Most hearing loss takes place when the outer hair cells are damaged. Hearing loss is caused by two factors, the loudness and the time spent in loud surroundings. A younger person can begin to lose their hearing and not realize it until they are older.
Q: What would you miss if you could not hear well.
A: Ability to communicate. Ability to enjoy music. Hearing warning signals, which impacts your safety.
Objective: Students will identify and post a listing of emergency numbers and directions to the farm by all telephones.
Concept: It is important to have everyone in the family be prepared in case an injury occurs on the farm. One potential location where dangers lurk is in the livestock barn. Placing a phone and a list of emergency phone numbers in the barn could prevent an incident from becoming a tragedy. Carrying a cell phone is also an option.
Targeted Age: Elementary
Have emergency numbers available for the children to identify which are appropriate for them. Cover the forms with clear adhesive plastic to make them weatherproof. Discuss ways to quickly find emergency numbers on a cell phone.
The farm directions will require more adult supervision. Help the children come up with clear, concise and accurate directions to their farms.
Q: Why are emergency numbers important on the farm?
A: People living on farms are often a long way away from medical assistance when accidents happen. The sooner help arrives the better the chances of survival. Farm injuries are often severe, seconds count if an injury involves a lot of bleeding. Having emergency numbers and directions to the farm can be the difference between life and death.
Objective: Students will identify the importance of properly caring for a pet.
Concept: Owning and caring for a pet is a great way to teach responsibility to children. Children can also have fun in the process. This experience can help youth become better caregivers of livestock.
Targeted Age: Elementary
Have students brainstorm what responsibility means. List all the duties or responsibilities that accompany pet ownership, such as cost factors:
Role play the scenario of an animal rescue adoption. Have one student be the adoption counselor and another be the person adopting a cat or dog.
The adoption counselor should ask questions, such as:
Have the students perform their discussion in front of the group. Have the audience discuss the answers given and other possible options.
Students could be encouraged to bring their own pets and discuss their time commitment and associated costs with caring for animals.
Q: What are the diff erences and similarities of pet ownership and owning a whole herd of animals?
A: In both cases, the owner is responsible for the health and well-being of the animals. When a farmer owns a whole herd of animals (cattle, hogs, poultry, etc.) his livelihood depends on the health of the livestock. If livestock become ill, are not fed properly, not vaccinated, or mistreated, they will not provide income when sold.
Q: Where could you find additional information about specific animals?
A: Veterinary offices, pet stores and animal rescue shelters can give you additional information about the characteristics of specific breeds of animals.
Objective: Students will be able to recognize an animal’s physical response to sudden noise.
Concept: All living things have different physiological responses to sound and light. This could affect any of the senses (hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste). Many animals are very sensitive to sound (example: a dog hears a car in the driveway before humans). Sudden or loud noises can frighten an animal, causing a “fight or flight” response.
Targeted Age: Elementary
While discussing the key concepts about animals’ senses, have someone else pop the inflated balloon, startling the students while they are speaking.
Q: How did each person involuntarily respond to the loud noise? Point out the differences among the group.
A: Yelling, jumping, increased heart rate, dilated eyes, release of endorphins
Q: How do animals react to similar situations?
A: Animals are similar to humans when they hear loud noises, except they are much larger and can hurt people around them when they move suddenly.
Q: Give examples of how farm animals are affected by other senses.
A: A horse slapped on the back side is more likely to be startled than one touched firmly. A carnivorous animal (dog) can become tense when blood is present. A flapping or brightly colored cloth or flag may startle a bull.
Objective: Students will wear a helmet when riding a horse.
Concept: The human brain is a fragile organ and must be protected.
The human brain weighs approximately three pounds. Prepare 7 ounces of macaroni by cooking twice as long as suggested to soften the starch. Drain the macaroni but do not rinse. Place in the brain gelatin mold. Prepare a 6 ounce package of peach gelatin using 3 cups hot water Pour over macaroni and chill in refrigerator for several hours.
Discuss the size, shape and fragile condition of the brain without its mold, making the correlation between the skull and the plastic gelatin mold. Unmold the gelatin and drop on a plastic lined floor. Explain the force of the fall is much less than what would be experienced if a person fell from a galloping horse. You may want to do two demonstrations, one with the gelatin mixture inside the plastic container with the cover taped shut and one without the container. Talk about the skull’s importance, then discuss the importance of protecting the skull.
Q: How fast might you travel when riding a horse?
A: A galloping horse travels about 15-20 mph. A running horse travels about 40-45 mph. Imagine what would happen if you fell out of a car traveling that fast.
Q: What protection should be used when traveling on a horse or in a moving vehicle?
A: We use seat belts and air bags in cars. We use helmets for protection when riding horses.
Place a raw egg in a plastic bag and close securely. Throw the egg in the air. The egg will break when dropped to the ground. Compare the dropped egg to a rider who falls off a spooked horse.
Wrap another raw egg in several layers of bubble wrap and securely tape inside a padded box. Drop from the same distance as the first egg. Compare the dropped egg to a rider that falls from a bucking horse. Practice before conducting the experiment in front of your audience. The box and padding represent a horse helmet. Show an actual helmet and its construction. Explain the difference in the two experiments and the protection a helmet gives a rider on a horse.
Q: How are helmets different for diff erent types of travel (horse, bike, ATV, etc)
A: Each helmet has its own requirements dependent upon speed and the size of the traveling object.
Q: Why are there diff erent styles of horse riding helmets?
A: Some helmets are different in appearance, such as English and Western riding helmets. Other helmets used for jumping and riding events provide more protection due to the speed and height of different events.
Purchase a ripe canteloupe or honeydew melon. Draw a face on the melon with a marker. Drop the melon from a distance of 6-8 feet into a plastic container lined with bricks in the bottom. Explain that the split melon represents a child’s head hitting the ground.
Q: What other parts of the body can be injured by falling off an animal?
A: Arms, shoulders, legs, hands and other body parts can be broken by falling from an animal.
Q: What type of clothing should be worn when riding?
A: Hard toed shoes, long pants and shirt sleeves and gloves should be worn to protect the body.
Measure the head using a cloth measuring tape, or a piece of string that you can measure with a ruler afterwards. Place the measuring tape approximately one inch above the eyebrows around the full circumference of the head. Use this measurement, along with the manufacturer’s sizing guide, to identify the appropriate size.
Fit: The helmet should feel snug around the entire head without pressure points. Always wear a helmet low in the front to protect the forehead.
Position: The helmet should sit level on the head and the forehead is covered within two fingers width of the eyebrows.
Side Straps: The side straps should form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of the ears.
Chin Strap: Buckle the chin strap. No more than one or two fingers should fit under the tightened chin strap.
Open your mouth in a big yawn. The helmet should pull down on the head. If it does not, tighten the chin strap.Does your helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows, or does your helmet rock forward into you eyes? If so, the helmet is too loose and may not fit.
Objective: Students will be able to identify the characteristics of shoes needed for working around livestock.
Concept: Farm animals are often large and can weigh over a ton (2000 lbs.). If stepped on by a large animal, your feet could be badly hurt. The connection between having your feet unprotected and the resulting injury will help students make better decisions about the footwear they wear when doing chores.
Targeted Age: Elementary through high school
Insert a wooden dowel into the center of each hot dog. Slip each hot dog into a plastic bag. Place each plastic bag into the big toe area of each shoe.
Discuss the fact that the average adult horse or cow weighs 1000 lbs to 1500 lbs. When leading, an animal can easily step on your feet. Using a horse that is gentle and an adult who is experienced in working with horses, pick up the horse’s front hoof. Place the shoe with the hot dog in it on the ground and allow the horse to place the hoof on top of the shoe. Repeat this with each shoe type.
Discuss the analogy of the hot dog and wood dowel to your own foot and bones and how the thicker the shoe the less damage to the hot dog.
Caution: Anytime large animals are in close proximity to children and youth, take extra precautions to keep them away from the animal. Draw a line or provide a fence between the animal and students. Do not allow students to walk within kicking distance of the horse. Adult leaders that are very familiar with horses should be the only ones doing this activity.
Note to Instructor: Be sure the chosen animal is gentle. This demonstration works well once, but caution should be taken not to frustrate the animal with repeated demonstrations, such as during a day camp where the same demonstration is done over and over for diff erent groups of students.
Q: What farm animals are large?
A: Horses, cattle, sheep and hogs can all weigh many times more than children.
Q: What shoe characteristics would make them safe to wear around large animals?
A: Covering the toe with leather is a top priority. Steel toes are preferable, but not always available.
Objective: Students will safely handle animal medications and injecting needles.
Concept: Animals require medication when they are ill. Vaccinations are administered to prevent disease. Medication can be administered orally in the form of pills and feed supplements; topically by spraying, pouring or rubbing on the skin; or by injecting into the animal’s tissue. Whatever the administration method, care should be taken to follow procedures and recommendations in order to protect animals and humans.
Targeted Age: Middle to high school (youth who are new to administering medication and injections need close supervision by adults)
Show students the proper way to give a subcutaneous injection by lifting the skin (tenting) with one hand and inserting a needleless syringe into the base of the tented area with the other hand. This technique is referred to as a subcutaneous injection - see the following page for visuals. Have each student demonstrate the procedure with a stuff ed animal. With older, more responsible students, you may want to try syringes with needles and oranges. This gives students practice in handling a syringe and needle and feeling what it is like to inject body tissues. Use special caution that students are not horse-playing with the needles.
Make copies of the activity below (on page 69 of the PDF) and hand out to students. Have students indicate where you would give intramuscular injections (IM) with a triangle. Indicate the subcutaneous injection (SQ) sites with a circle.
Indicate where you would give intramuscular injections with a triangle. Indicate the subcutaneous injection sights wiht a circle.
Answer key is provided on below (page 70 of the PDF).
Q: What precautions should be taken when administering any medications?
A: Restrain all animals so you are not kicked, butted or bumped. This will help to safely and properly inject the medications. When carrying needles, make sure they are capped.
Q: What complications can occur if medication injections are incorrectly administered?
A: Damage to the animal tissue can cause bruising. This bruising can impact the quality of the meat; cause adverse reactions to the medication; or even kill the animal. If the person injecting the animal is stuck with the needle themselves, they could have strong reactions to the medication or even die. This can occur when animals move and bolt when they are confined for the injection.
Q: What considerations should you take into account when selecting animal injection needles?
A: Choose the smallest needle possible to complete the injection, but large enough so it will not break. Short (5/8 or ¾ inch) needles are best for subcutaneous shots, while longer (1 to 1 ½ inch) needles work best for intramuscular shots. Purchase high quality needles, changing them often, and dispose of them properly. Animal species hide toughness and medication type will determine the gauge of needle used.
Q: How do you know how much medication to give an animal?
A: The medication instructions give amounts based on species and size. The cc or ml are marked on syringes.
Q: Where on the animal should injections take place?
A: See pictures above.
Q: When selecting needles for animal injections, what considerations should be taken into account?
A: Needles are measured in two ways (1) gauge and (2) thickness and length. Consider the animal species, type of medication and the animal’s size and age when determining which needle to use. See the following pages for reference.
Note to instructors: This material is applicable for a limited audience. Due to the dangers associated with demonstrations, extra precautions should be taken to secure the safety of the participants.
|Type of Injection||Placement||Placement Tips|
|Subcutaneous (SQ)||Under the skin||Inject only into dry, clean areas. Slide needle under the skin away from the site of skin puncture before injecting treatment.|
|Intramuscular (IM)||Into the muscle||Use proper needle size to ensure medication is placed into the muscle. Avoid IM injections to the shoulder or hip area as it can cause damage to muscle tissue. Injections into the neck area are best.|
|Swine - IM||Gauge||Length|
|Baby pigs||18 or 20||5/8" or 1/2"|
|Nursery pigs||16 or 18||5/8" or 3/4"|
|Sows or Boars||14 or 16||1 1/2" or 1"|
|Swine - SQ||Gauge||Length|
|Nursery||16 or 18||1/2"|
|Sows or Boars||14 or 16||1"|
|Cattle - IM||Gauge||Length|
|Calves (under 300 lbs)||18||1" to 1 1/2"|
|Calves (300 - 700 lbs)||16 to 18||1" to 1 1/2"|
|Cattle (over 700 lbs)||16 or 18||1" to 1 1/2"|
|Cattle - SQ||Gauge||Length|
|Calves (under 300 lbs)||18 to 20||1/2" to 3/4"|
|Calves (300 - 700 lbs)||16 to 18||1/2" to 3/4"|
|Cattle (over 700 lbs)||16 or 18||1/2" to 3/4"|
|Sheep - SQ||Gauge||Length|
|All Sheep||18||1/2" to 5/8"|
|Horses - IM||Gauge||Length|
|All Horses||18 to 20||1" to 1 1/2"|
Pictures taken from Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Iowa State University
Objective: Students will learn a location where dangerous animals may be in close proximity.
Concept: Wild animals are often found within the rural environment. Most of these animals are easily scared away by noises and movement. However, if the tracks of aggressive and dangerous animals are identified, it is wise to leave the area.
Targeted Age: Middle school
Materials: Paw Identification Sheet (page 79) (A variety of websites off er more detailed information about each species. Some sites also feature audio of the animals, helping students identify the animal by sound.) Match up the animals with the correct paw print. Discuss the actual size of the print and how close to reality the sizes represent. More ideas! Find additional information (sound, manure, foot pattern, etc.) on the internet to further help identify each animal. Classify the animals into pets and wild animals. Take a trip to a rural location and look for animal tracks. Using an animal guide, try to identify the specific species.
Q: What should you do if you find a nest of baby rabbits when mowing the yard?
A: Leave the nest alone and do not touch the babies. This is true of all animals. The mother is probably close by and will return when you leave. Rabbits are usually not aggressive so they will probably not attack you, but in the case of more aggressive animals, you may be in a dangerous situation.
Q: What characteristics help you identify animal tracks?
A: Shape of the paw print is the first clue. Number of toes and in what direction they face. Size of the toes in relation to the total paw print. Overall size of the print. Animals walking foot pattern.
Objective: Identify attitudes in relation to safety while around animals.
Concept: This activity investigates and clarifies individual attitudes concerning children when they are around animals found within the rural environment. It also helps others see different views to sensitive issues in a non-threatening format. Statements are designed to be progressively more controversial to foster discussion. This activity is appropriate for adults, families and youth. If children participate with their families, parents may need to help them understand the concept of “level of agreement” and translate their answers into numerical values.
Targeted Age: Middle School and above (this activity works especially well with family groups where various age groups learn from each other)
Ask each participant to number from 1 to 8 on a piece of paper. Read the following statements. After each statement have each person place a numerical value from 1 to 10 as to their level of agreement. Ten equals 100% agreement and one equals 0% agreement.
Explain that one wall of the room is a continuum with 1 at the far left and 10 at the far right. All other numbers fall in between (taped numbers on the wall will help). With answers in hand, have participants walk to the number they answered for number 1. Do not read the statement until everyone is positioned. Encourage people to be honest and not go with the crowd. Move to the number for the second statement. Discuss after each statement.
This activity will spur good interaction and discussion about attitudes toward animal safety. Explain that no answer is right or wrong.
Ideas to be brought out during discussion:
Color the picture and remember to always wear your riding helmet!
Jessie, Paul and Nathan plan to ride out to the back pasture to check on the cattle. They have a choice of three horses to ride and each of them also chooses something to wear on their head. Using the following clues, see if you can determine who rode each horse and who made the safest choice of head protection.
Clue 1 The person who rode the black horse used the cowboy hat.
Clue 2 The person who rode the white horse did not use the protective helmet.
Clue 3 Paul rode the paint horse.
Clue 4 Nathan did not use the cowboy hat.
|Paint||Black||White||Cowboy Hat||Protective Helmet||Baseball Cap|
The protective helmet is the only headwear to give protection to the rider. Who wore it?
Look at the animals on this page. Close the book and see how many you can remember. Which animals show signs that you should stay away? Cross out the animals you should stay away from.
Mother animals can be protective of their young. This is called maternal instinct. Be careful around mother animals in this state. One of the following mother animals is looking for her baby. Find out which one.
The mother animal that has lost her baby is the one where all the lines meet.
Draw a line from the animal to its matching paw print.
Find people in the room that can say yes to each statement. Have them write their name in the square. No person can fill in more than one square. Call out BINGO when a line is completely filled in across, vertically or diagonally.
1. Moral values
4. Burning a mark in the hide of an animal
6. Full growth or development
8. Skill gained from practice
9. Possibility of harm
2. Eager to know or learn
3. Understanding gained through learning
7. Physical closeness
11. Result of wound
2. Informed how to do something
3. Conduct or actions
5. Farm animals
8. A custom that is handed down
9. Dangers or risks
10. Livestock operations show a __________ injury rate than crop operations
11. Distinct qualities
1. Children within __________ populations are at a greater risk of animal-related injuries on the farm
4. Children’s lack of certain characteristics put them at a great __________ of injury
7. Animal care is a chore often assigned to __________
12. Damages to the body
3. Protective head coverings
6. Unable to see
8. A daily or routine task
9. To shout
1. Adult male cattle
2. Unable to hear
5. How big or small something is
7. A female horse
8. Young male horse
5. Many animals have __________ hearing
6. Animals that have problems with depth perception
8. Use __________ sense to stay safe around animals
9. Disturbing an animal’s normal routine may cause them to become __________
11. Male bovine animal
13. Male horses
14. __________ movements can frighten animals
16. An ailment caused from dirty bedding or wet and muddy conditions
1. Not anticipated
2. This type of bedding can cause several ailments
3. Horses can do this to you with their teeth
4. This instinctive emotion can cause an animal to act defensively when they are afraid
7. Hostile feeling
12. Approach large animals at the __________
14. Individual places for animals
15. Grooming animals is a __________ given to youth
4. A flesh injury
5. Another name for spit
7. Animals that wear saddles
8. To keep something from happening
10. In the winder, birds often ______ south
1. Animals that bark
2. This is also called influenza
3. Disease from wild animals
6. Professionals that take care of you when you are sick
9. Animals that meow
4. Disease that affects cattle, goats, and swine
6. Children with lower __________ levels are at a greater risk of diseases
9. This is the most important factor in protecting people and animals from disease
10. Animal by-product
11. One of the things that battles zoonotic diseases
14. Organism that lives on another organism
18. Single most common cause of food poisoning
21. Clean or hygienic
1. One of the early signs of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
2. Animal suceptible to Lyme Disease
3. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is carried by this insect Crossword Puzzle: Animal Health and Hygiene 2
5. This disease was transmitted from rats to humans by fleas
6. Cats are the main carriers of this disease
7. Pet that could get rabies
8. Chemical given in shot to prevent zoonotic diseases
13. Professionals that recommend a tetanus vaccination be given every year
14. Chicken meat
15. Staphlococcus is a bacteria that is part of the natural __________ in an animal’s mouth
16. Deadly virus usually transmitted by wild animals
17. Cut in the body where bacteria can enter
19. Blood-sucking parasites
20. Disease that occurs from bites of the Deer or Lone Star tick.
2. A place for storing hay
4. A substance used to produce results
5. The sun casts many __________
6. High volume of sound
9. The quality of being strong
1. A fungus
3. Able to catch fire easily
7. Strong smell
8. Airborne dirt
5. Measurement of noise
8. Hydrogen sulfide smells like a rotten __________
9. Loud, unpleasant sound
10. Gases produced by animal __________ that can be dangerous to children and adults
12. Bright light source
13. Result of slippery surfaces
14. Floors with spaces that allow animals to stay dry
1. This toxic gas is odorless and lighter than air
2. __________ is a critical job on any dairy farm
3. The main hazard of methane
4. Oxygen depletion can result in __________
7. These items should be strong enough to contain large, crowded livestock
11. These outlines on the wall tend to make animals more skittish
12. This one color chute wall will help prevent animals from being spooked
5. Untreated bites can lead to an __________
7. If bitten, wash wound with __________ and water
10. Angry sound a dog makes
1. Before biting, a dog will show a __________ sign such as growling or stiff ening of the body
2. Wash __________ after touch an animal
3. Animal that meows
4. Make sure your dog is on a __________ in public
6. To be in good health
8. To initiate or bring on an attack
9. Animal that barks
3. To coach
4. Treat animals with __________ and respect
5. Dog bites are more common in the spring and __________
11. Make sure your dog is on a __________ in public
12. If bitten, wash wound with __________ and water
13. Untreated dog and cat bites can lead to __________
14. An animal that barks
1. A stern warning sign
2. An animal that meows
3. Never __________ an animal
6. Dogs bite 1.7 __________ Americans each year
7. Avoid a dog bite by curling your fingers into a __________
8. Dogs show displeasure by giving a __________
9. Most serious disease associated with animal bites
10. __________ pets for specific diseases
1. Slow-moving vehicle
3. Worn to protect your hands
5. Approach a horse from an __________ at the shoulder
6. Used to control a horse
7. Always wear long __________ when riding a horse
9. Saddle a horse on this side
1. A leather seat for a rider
2. Worn to protect the rider’s head
4. Loop for rider to place foot
8. Speak __________ when around horses
1. The upper-front part of a saddle
3. Always saddle a horse from the __________ side
4. These hold packs and saddles in place
6. Loop hung from a horse’s saddle to support the rider’s foot
9. Harness fitted on a horse’s head to restrain or guide
10. Worn to protect your hands
12. Slow-moving vehicle
14. Approach a horse from an __________ at the shoulder
15. Rgw offers padding for the horse
1. Always wear long __________ when riding
2. Move to the opposite side of a horse by walking a long ways __________
5. Horses tend to be __________
7. A leather seat for a rider
8. Worn to protect the rider’s head
11. Speak __________ when approaching a horse
13. The rear part of the saddle
3. To veer or turn sharply
9. Never raise a baby wild animal as a __________
1. Keep a snake bite below __________ level
2. Where there is one animal, there is usually __________
4. Undomesticated animals
5. A wild cat with tufted ears and short tails
6. A small wild dog
8. A scaly, legless reptile
7. Where there is one animal, there is usually __________
9. Each wildlife species has its own __________
10. If bitten by a snake, keep bitten area below __________ level
12. A wolf-like animal
13. Never try to __________ baby wildlife as pets
1. Feeding wildlife can cause the spread of __________
2. Undomesticated animals
3. When driving at night, look for __________ eyes of animals
4. A wild cat
5. To veer off or turn sharply
6. Mammal with a black-ringed tail
7. A large animal with broad, flattened antlers
11. Large mammal with a shaggy coat, large claws, and short tail
Paw Identification Sheet
We would like to thank the following individuals and agencies who have provided input on the content of this educational resource:
Cargill Animal Nutrition
Linda Yoder and Jodi Davis
Big Sandy FS4JK Chapter
Darlene and Eric Finzer
Tuscarawas County FS4JK Chapter
Stone Creek, OH
Cody Hartman/Joan Adkins
Northeast Nebraska FS4JK Chapter
Town and Country FS4JK Chapter
South Central FS4JK Chapter
South Central FS4JK Chapter
South Central FS4JK Chapter
Cargill Animal Nutrition/ PNW District FS4JK Chapter
SW Center for Ag Health FS4JK Chapter
Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom
USDA Farm Service Agency and Ashe and Alleghany Safety FS4JK Chapter
The material developed and disseminated by Farm Safety for Just Kids was peer reviewed and is intended for general information and educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as medical or legal advice. If legal, medical, or other expert assistance is required, the services of the appropriate professional should be sought.
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