Profession animal handler

Animal handlers are in charge of handling animals in a working role and continue the training of the animal, in accordance with national legislation.

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Personality Type

  • Realistic / Social
  • Realistic / Conventional
  • Realistic / Investigative

Knowledge

  • Physiology of animals

    The study of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biochemical functioning of animals, their organs and their cells.

  • Biosecurity related to animals

    Awareness of hygiene and bio-security measures when working with animals, including causes, transmission and prevention of diseases and use of policies, materials and equipment.

  • Environmental enrichment for animals

    Types, methods and use of enrichment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, including the provision of environmental stimuli, feeding activities, puzzles, items for manipulation, social and training activities.

  • Animal welfare legislation

    The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.

  • Anatomy of animals

    The study of animal body parts, their structure and dynamic relationships, on a level as demanded by the specific occupation.

  • Animal behaviour

    The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.

  • Signs of animal illness

    Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.

  • Safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and working environment.

  • Animal welfare

    Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are: need for a suitable environment need for a suitable diet need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Skills

  • Implement exercise activities for animals

    Provide exercise opportunities that are suitable for respective animals and meet their particular physical requirements.'

  • Implement training programmes for animals

    Implement training programmes for animals for basic training purposes or to meet specific objectives, following a developed training programme, and reviewing and recording progress against set objectives.'

  • Control animal movement

    Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal's, or a group of animals', movement.

  • Provide an enriching environment for animals

    Provide an enriching environment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, and including adjusting environmental conditions, delivering feeding and puzzle exercises, and implementing manipulation, social, and training activities.'

  • Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and work environments.

  • Provide first aid to animals

    Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Provide animal training

    Provide training in basic handling, habituation, and obedience to enable the completion of day-to-day tasks while minimising the risks to the animal, the handler, and others.'

  • Handle veterinary emergencies

    Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.

  • Monitor the welfare of animals

    Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals' accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.

  • Handle working animals

    Handle and care for working animals. This includes preparation of animal, working environment and equipment, control and monitoring of the animal during work activities, and care afterwards.

  • Treat animals ethically

    Carry out activities according to accepted principles of right and wrong, including transparency in work practices and conduct towards clients and their animals.

  • Manage animal hygiene

    Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.

  • Manage animal welfare

    Plan, manage and evaluate the application of the five universally recognised animal welfare needs as appropriate to species, situation and own occupation.

  • Provide nutrition to animals

    Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.'

  • Manage animal biosecurity

    Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.

  • Assess animal behaviour

    Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.'

Optional knowledge and skills

load animals for transportation interview animal owners on animals' conditions understand the animal's situation maintain welfare of animals during transportation groom animals continue learning assess animal's condition make decisions regarding the animal's welfare animal production science take advantage of learning opportunities in veterinary science calculate rates per hours handle animals for semen collection maintain animal accommodation apply numeracy skills cope with challenging circumstances in the veterinary sector

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