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Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) Program

Updated June 10, 2020

Heidi Carroll

SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Field Specialist & Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator

2017 Animal Care Wednesday Webinars

The scene of an accident is not the place to build your team! The BERP program was the featured discussion for the May Animal Care Wednesday Webinar. Lisa Pederson with North Dakota State University discussed how and why the program began, who the audience is for the program, and the impact this program is having.

Program Background

Nearly 10 years ago, a semi-truck of Canadian cattle overturned and both humans and cattle sustained serious injuries. None of the first responders knew what to do with the cattle and none of the local veterinarians were available to euthanize the cattle. This resulted in a dangerous and chaotic situation. Each day, more than 100,000 head of cattle are on the road. Accidents with animals on the road occur daily, and it is important that those traveling with the animals and responding to the scene of the accident know how to care for the animals.

What is the BERP program?

The BERP program is a training targeted at dispatchers, first responders, emergency managers, veterinarians, extension educators and others directly or indirectly involved in responding to vehicle accidents involving cattle and other animals. The program provides the education for emergency personnel to develop their own dispatch tree and emergency response plan when cattle are involved. Emergency responders will feel more prepared and knowledgeable if they are prepared for these situations.

Program Impact

Since the BERP program began, 83% of BERP participants feel the training helped mitigate emergency events involving cattle and 49% of those that have taken the program have an improvement in knowledge regarding handling cattle involved in accidents. One of the biggest impacts of the program is that 80% of those that have taken the BERP training have shared the knowledge they gained with others.

The knowledge gained and the sharing of knowledge has led to the development of an emergency response plan in communities that have gone through the training or have had the training shared with them. Also, euthanasia guidelines have been written, which is critical to have in place if cattle need to be euthanized during an accident on the road. These plans and guidelines help ensure cattle well-being during an accident, and also help people responding to the accident to be prepared and minimize mental and emotional stress.

Cattle and other livestock are transported daily on the road. The BERP program provides response training for dispatchers and first responders when there is an accident involving cattle.

For questions regarding the BERP program, please contact Lisa Pederson.

Animal Care Wednesday Webinars

For more information about upcoming Animal Care Wednesday Webinars, please contact Heidi Carroll. To join webinars, log in to the Zoom meeting a few minutes prior to the start of the webinar.