Current Progressive Cattle digital edition
advertisement

Letter to the Editor: Low-Stress livestock handling

Contributed by Whit Hibbard Published on 24 June 2016

“Low-stress livestock handling” (LSLH) is currently a popular subject and is getting significant press. However, as evidenced by many articles published by agricultural periodicals, there is a great deal of confusion, misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the topic.

Unfortunately, once in print, the confusions, misunderstandings and misinformation are assumed by the naive reader to be correct and true, ultimately propagating falsehoods. To misrepresent LSLH does it a great disservice. So, the purpose of this letter is to help get it right.

First of all, the term “low-stress livestock handling” was coined circa 1990 by Allan Nation, publisher and editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer, to describe the unique livestock handling of Bud Williams.

So, by definition, the term “low-stress livestock handling” refers to the method of handling livestock as developed by Bud Williams which, in many ways, is profoundly original.

Unfortunately, “low-stress” is bantered around by people who don’t even know what it is; the ill-informed are writing articles, and some teachers use the term but teach something quite different. This does a great disservice to what is a profoundly important and unique form of stockmanship.

As one specific example, in the March issue of this publication, an article, “Making low-stress, safe work of spring working,” advocated several techniques that are not low-stress livestock handling.

For instance, the author recommends the “windshield wiper” pattern for gathering and generating movement in a herd of cattle. This technique was developed by Temple Grandin and not Bud Williams. Bud taught a straight-lined, forward-angled, zigzag pattern which is far more effective than the windshield wiper pattern for gathering and generating movement.

It is incumbent upon anyone who wants to write about LSLH to be adequate to the task. That is, they need to have made a serious study of it, and had enough practical experience doing it, to develop a requisite level of expertise before ever writing about it.

It would be best for people without the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to remain silent.

It’s also incumbent on the editors to vet the authors and even subject their submissions to peer review. To publish misinformation does the publication, the reader and the discipline of LSLH a disservice.  end mark

—Whit Hibbard, rancher and editor of the Stockmanship Journal

LATEST BLOG

LATEST NEWS