Animal welfare vigilance is farmers’ business

Continuing regulatory and media scrutiny of animal welfare practices across Australia and in export markets provides a sobering reason for individual action by livestock producers, according to industry body Dairy Connect.

Member of the Australian Dairy Farmers Animal Welfare Committee & Dairy Connects’ Farmers Group, Terry Toohey said that Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers & Australian Dairy Industry Council Inc produced a landmark guide last September entitled: ‘Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle: A Guide for Dairy Farmers’.  This paper highlighted these national industry guidelines and standards.

“The Farmers Group of Dairy Connect has endorsed these national industry guidelines and recommends them to all dairy farmers, all around Australia,” he said.

“The guidelines and standards were the result of extensive negotiations and consultations across all cattle industry stakeholders, including animal activists groups, and clearly sets out the responsibilities of those caring for livestock.

“Recommendations range from guidelines for feed and water, environmental space, pain avoidance and relief, through to minimising the risk of predation to overall herd management,” Terry Toohey said.

Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said that “Groups who are opposed to the farming of animals are well funded, highly strategic, determined and well-networked with sections of the media anxious for startling video tape of welfare infringements,”

“In this context, the business of animal welfare is the business of all livestock producers, including dairy farmers who continue to need to manage issues related to the transport and dispatch of bobby calves.

“While ever milk is produced in this country, dairy welfare challenges will remain.

“Industry needs to be vigilant in strategically rebutting activist propaganda and in harnessing and retaining the broad support of State regulators and the consumer public.

“We can do this by supporting and pursuing voluntary codes of conduct and by being transparent about our animal husbandry priorities,” Shaughn Morgan said.

With the dairy industry reportedly facing an income squeeze of up to three years, it was important producers did not lose sight of livestock welfare priorities.

A copy of ‘Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle: A Guide for Dairy Farmers’ may be viewed at the following link.

5 August 2016

 

More information?

Member of the ADF Animal Welfare Committee

Member of the Farmers Group and Board Member of Dairy Connect

Terry Toohey

Phone: 0428 663 636