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OVMA Position Statements August 2017

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OVMA 420 Bronte Street South, Suite 205, Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9 T. 905.875.0756 or 1.800.670.1702 (toll-free) F. 905.875.0958 or 1.877.482.5941 (toll-free) OVMA Position Statement – Recumbent Farm Animals OVMA is seriously concerned with the present lack of consistent standards for the humane care and disposition of `downer animals,' hereafter referred to as recumbent animals in this document. A recumbent farm animal is any farm animal which, due to old age, injury, metabolic or systemic disease, etc. is unable to raise itself without assistance to a standing and walking state. Several problems have been identified with the handling and treatment of such animals on farms, on transport vehicles, and at stockyards and slaughter plants. Of paramount importance is the humane treatment of the animal in a timely, efficient and effective manner. Decisions on the disposition of these animals must be made on humane grounds. In an effort to establish some recommendations for veterinarians as to the treatment and disposition of recumbent animals, the following guidelines have been developed. Requirements for Recumbent Animals: a) Housing i. Comfortable housing that ensures protection from hard and rough surfaces in an effort to reduce the incidence of decubitus pressure sores, abrasions etc. ii. Adequate footing (ie. non-slip flooring). iii. Sufficient space to provide enough room to roll the animal regularly. iv. Shelter from the elements. b) Management of the Animal i. A recumbent animal must be turned regularly to minimize sequelae common to this condition. ii. Where it remains in the animals' best interest to be moved, movement must be done in a humane fashion (See Appendix 1). iii. Dragging of the animal is not permitted except in emergency situations. iv. Dragging refers to attaching a chain, or rope to part of the animal's body and pulling it along the ground and/or onto a vehicle. v. An emergency situation would be where the animal must be moved to alleviate its distress, provide emergency treatment, or ensure public safety (Moving the animal must be done as humanely as possible. Padded belts or straps should be attached to the non-injured limbs, but never the head or neck, and the move should be limited to the shortest possible distance). vi. Fresh food and water must be provided and be readily available to the animal. c) Condition of the Animal The condition of the animal must be evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure that:

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