Grandin Questions Cattle Industry on Feet, Legs and Carcass Weights

Are carcass weights too high? Are we not putting enough emphasis on quality feet and legs?

These are questions Temple Grandin, well-known cattle handling expert, had ranchers and reporters asking themselves as they filed out of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association’s 103rd annual general meeting and convention.

As part of her presentation, Grandin described a survey conducted by one of her students, who looked at lameness in feedyard arrivals.

“There’s hints of problems,” she said in a media scrum. “We have got to select cattle breeding stock for feet and legs before we have a problem.”

Grandin told reporters that some purebred show animals are so post-legged they can barely walk, adding that breeders are using tactics to hide poor foot/leg presentation. They’ll use photoshop, or pens filled with plenty of straw to cover foot issues.

Temple Grandin (file photo)
Temple Grandin (file photo)

“There’s still a place for visual appraisal in breeding,” she emphasized.

As for carcass weights, there are concerns there too.

“There’s a point where cattle can get so tall they won’t fit in the liner,” she said, suggesting slaughter plants implement size limits.

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