In June 2019, over 100 welfare specialists and vet practitioners from 17 countries participated in the 12th Boehringer Ingelheim Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-Being in Prague, Czech Republic. This edition focused on how welfare can be improved across the supply chain to better meet public expectations and specifically asked: ‘Do consumers and citizens want the same thing?’
Because farm animal
12th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being, Prague (Czech Republic), 2019
Do farm assurance schemes address consumers‘ expectations for better animal welfare?
In the UK, farm assurance schemes certify most of the livestock products, offering defined standards for animal welfare, food safety and environmental practices. Compliance with such schemes has become a market qualifier for farmers to supply UK supermarkets, but the potential benefits generated by this method of product differentiation for animals and farmers may not have been fully captured to date, due to an uninformed consumer base.
Citizens, consumers, farm animal welfare and willingness-to-pay
Prof. Lynn J. Frewer
Newcastle University, UK
The sustainable intensification of animal production systems is increasing as a consequence of increased demand for foods originating from animals. Production diseases are particularly endemic in intensive production systems, and can negatively impact upon farm animal welfare. Hence, there is an increasing need to develop policies regarding animal production diseases, sustainable intensification, and farm animal welfare which incorporate consumer priorities and willingness-to-pay.
Ranking global food companies on farm animal welfare
Dr. Rory Sullivan
Chronos Sustainability Ltd
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare is the leading global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and disclosure in food companies. It enables investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to understand corporate practice and performance on farm animal welfare, and it drives – directly and through the efforts of others – corporate improvements in the welfare of animals reared for food. The last annual report identified consumer and customer demand as the key driver of change.
Aligning the food value chain on animal welfare
Dr. Jeff Brose
Cargill Animal Nutrition, USA
For more than 150 years Cargill has been a global leader in the food supply chain, acting both at farm level and at consumer level. Cargill´s Dairy Integrity™ services help align the values of a dairy brand with the supplying farms. On-farm experts provide transparency and routinely evaluate dairy farm suppliers in 8 critical integrity areas ranging from animal welfare and employee safety, to milk quality, traceability and overall dairy sustainability.
Setting up a safe and sustainable supply chain
Robert M. Erhard
Nestlé works with almost 165,000 direct suppliers and 695,000 individual farmers worldwide. Their Responsible Sourcing Standard describes the requirements and ways of working that are applied to ensure sustainable long-term supply whilst reducing the impact on the planet’s resources. The Standard sets out ways of working with regards to sourcing and production for supply chain tiers, from Nestlé to suppliers, through intermediaries and all the way back to the origins of the goods and services provided to Nestlé.
Antimicrobial resistance and animal welfare: two sides of the same coin?
Prof. Xavier Manteca
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public and animal health issue. Although the factors responsible for AMR are complex, it is widely accepted that the large amount of antimicrobials used by the livestock industry may play a significant role. Massive use of antimicrobials has been considered as an indicator of poor animal welfare. It has been suggested that improving farm animal welfare may be an effective strategy to reduce the use of antimicrobials with prophylactic purposes.
The OIE Global Animal Welfare Strategy
Animal welfare is a complex, multifaceted, international and domestic public policy issue with scientific, ethical, economic, legal, religious and cultural dimensions plus important trade policy implications. It is a responsibility that must be shared between governments, communities, the people who own, care for and use animals, civil society, educational institutions, veterinarians and scientists. The OIE with its long-established role in setting global standards for animal health can make a unique global leadership contribution to advancing animal welfare.
Is lying time a relevant indicator of cow comfort around parturition?
Marianne Villettaz Robichaud
University of Montréal, Canada
Parturition is a stressful period in all species and is associated with a higher risk of disease, injury and mortality. The post-calving inflammatory response has been well investigated in both healthy and diseased cattle. However, the pain component is less documented. Even though calving is believed to be painful for both cows and calves, especially when strong assistance is provided, the animals’ discomfort is difficult to measure. Many research studies have used lying behavior as a non-invasive indicator of discomfort and pain in cattle.
From field to fork: ethical beef for everyone
StraightLine Beef is the result of one man’s vision to grow great tasting beef but with a conscience. The StraightLine Beef model uses retained ownership at all stages: from calving to processing with a balanced, vertically integrated model of production achieved. This initiative has been developed to bring about continuous improvement in sustainability within the supply chain- from the dairy to the restaurant plate or retailer shelf. Knowing the end customer’s requirements has led to early success.
50 Shades of Pain
University of Guelph, Canada
How do we measure pain in cattle, and what differences matter? This research area has unique challenges, but is important in informing best practices for mitigating painful conditions and procedures such as disbudding, castration, lameness, and surgery. Differences within and between studies will be discussed, with a focus on how to evaluate the quality of evidence provided from such work.