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New UC-Davis animal welfare institute examines agricultural practices
Davis, Calif. - The newly formed International Animal Welfare Training Institute is exploring new approaches to animal handling and housing practices for animal agriculture.
Davis, Calif. -
The newly formed International Animal Welfare Training Institute is exploring new approaches to animal handling and housing practices for animal agriculture.
In September, the institute at the University of California-Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine brought in veterinary experts, faculty members and representatives from the beef and dairy industries to examine and address animal welfare issues.
The goal, the university reports, is to develop new approaches and examine agricultural practices that will benefit the welfare of food animals.
Jim Reynolds, DVM a UC-faculty member at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, and chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Committee, suggested several ways for producers to seek help from their veterinarians to conduct assessments and implement sound welfare practices.
"Owners' values and attitudes influence welfare more than the size of a farm," Reynolds said in a prepared statement.
Matt Byrne, executive director of the California Cattlemen's Association, states that the infamous video from a Hallmark slaughterhouse of disabled animals became the catalyst for different types of producers to address welfare issues.
"Recognizing that consumers do not always see the distinction among different kinds of cows," he states, "we need to address the issues, good and bad."
Participants discussed the need for more science-based information to determine the most effective way to improve animal welfare in livestock. They outlined several existing programs and potential research projects:
• Measurement of animal stress and pain;
• Length of time of animal transport and transport conditions;
• Optimal training methods for producers and animal handlers;
• Bridging gaps in implementation of welfare strategies;
• On-farm assessments and welfare audits;
• Providing the most humane end of life for agricultural animals, appropriate techniques, and training in methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association;
• Costs of welfare practices;
• Roles of producers, animal health technicians and employees; and
• Demonstrating and communicating welfare successes.