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Disaster Training for Large Animal Rescue Hosted in Benton County

Purina Animal Nutrition, Farmer’s Cooperative, and the University of Arkansas Extension hosted a two-day training course in late August at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Bentonville, AR. The objective of the training was to raise awareness and provide operational level instruction for disaster emergency response specifically for large animals.

Participants included firefighters, law enforcement officers, animal control officers, and cattle producers. The participants worked with both live animals; including sheep, cattle, and horses, as well as a 750 lb. equine mannequin. They were taught how to respond to trailer accidents, horses stuck in ponds or ravines, flooding and more. Skills learned included large animal restraint and handling and on-site large animal care and emergency rescue.

“Disaster training for large animal rescue is a unique class that requires a certain level of expertise and training resources,” said Jay Carter, CEO Farmer’s Cooperative. “We were honored to work with our fellow partners, Purina Animal Nutrition and the University of Arkansas Extension to bring this vital training to our Northwest Arkansas community.”

The course provided continuing education hours for attendees. Lead instructors were from the Louisiana Tech University’s School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry’s Disaster Training Program in Ruston, Louisiana. The Louisiana Tech program has been greatly assisted by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation (AAEPF), which recently provided a grant for the purchase of the equine rescue mannequin and large animal glide, both critical for teaching hands-on rescue techniques. The AAEPF continues to support programs with a track record of building community resilience in disaster planning and mitigation.

Also participating were instructors from American Humane Association, Oklahoma State University, the University of Arkansas Extension Services, and Farmer’s Cooperative. A public town hall meeting followed the last night of training to discuss community involvement, responsibility, and expectations of parties in disaster situations.

Future courses are in development to provide further training, identify community players and their involvement in large animal rescue operations, and define the veterinarian’s role, because “saving animal’s lives saves people’s lives”!

Please contact Farmer’s Cooperative through the Contact Us button on their website at www.farmercoop.com, and enter Large Animal Course Interest in the message box, if you’d like to be informed when new courses are scheduled.