How to Ship a Cow - Modern Farmer

How to Ship a Cow

Here's how you ship 195 dairy cows to the Persian Gulf.

Renee Strickland runs her livestock exportation business from a ranch in Myakka City, Florida. Strickland Ranch and Exports ships more than three hundred animals across the globe annually. One recent client, the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, requested 195 dairy cows. Here’s how you ship 195 dairy cows to the Persian Gulf.

1. Get the goods.

Most of Strickland’s requests are for U.S. dairy and beef cattle because of their superior reputation. This is why the Sultan wanted 195 Jersey heifers between one and two years old shipped around the world. And he’s not just getting breeding heifers – they were impregnated with IVF “sexed” semen engineered to produce female calves. Boom! Instant herd. Once the cows are selected, then comes the labyrinth of paperwork: every country has its own rules, regulations and health codes that determine how long the cow-to-doorstep process takes. For the Sultan, it was about 60 days.

2. Lock ’em down.

Livestock goes into lockdown in a facility in Dade County Florida. Most countries, including the U.S., require animals to be quarantined before export to weed out disease. USDA veterinarians do tests to make sure the animals measure up to the standards of their new homeland. After the all-clear, an export date is set.

3. Boarding time.

The cows are crated and loaded onto a climate-controlled plane. (Animals sometimes travel by boat, too.) Strickland keeps the overhead lights down low to sooth the cows and help them sleep. Strickland and her husband accompanied the sultan’s cattle on a 20-hour flight from Miami to Oman. Their in-flight meals included hay and grain. Their fellow cargo? Wheels of cheese for the dairy-loving Sultan and a bill for just under half a million.

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