Forum :: 8th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being

8th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being, Niagara-on-the-Lake (Canada), 2015

8th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being

While the dairy and beef industries focus on calves meeting key health measurements, animal behaviour and veterinary research suggests that farmers and veterinarians should consider the well-being of the calves a basic component of health. This and other factors impacting calf health were the focus of the 8th Boehringer Ingelheim Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being held in Ontario, Canada in June 2015.
The Forum brought together dairy and beef calf researchers, practitioners and other industry professionals to present new information on how to better manage the early stages of a calf’s life, especially from a calf’s perspective. Speakers also talked about new ways of measuring and mitigating pain, sustainable agriculture, consumer attitudes towards farming, and approaches to communicate learnings to farmers.

LECTURES

Dr. Joseph Stookey

Measurements to assess pain in young calves

Dr. Joseph Stookey

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Pain is a subjective state that can only be measured indirectly. In the recent years, much progress has been made in understanding calves’ behavior as an indicator of pain. If we learn to recognize pain in calves, we can not only measure it in research, we can also advise farmers on how they can recognize that their animals are in pain, both in beef and dairy.

Dr. Claire Windeyer

It’s a hard knock life: Impacts of dystocia and the assessment of compromised calves

Dr. Claire Windeyer

University of Calgary, Canada

Parturition is a challenging process and a high-risk time for both the mother and her offspring. The quality of maternal care contributes to the motivation and success of the calf in performing neonatal behaviors that will lead to ingestion of colostrum.

Dr. Cassandra Tucker

Pain sensitivity and healing of hot-iron cattle brands

Dr. Cassandra Tucker

University of California, Davis, California, USA

In North America, hot iron branding is an important practice for extensively managed herds, where there is no alternative for a simple and permanent visual identification that is 100 % reliable. Since the procedure is undoubtedly painful, research has looked at what contributes to pain in hot-iron branding and at possible pain alleviation methods.

Dr. Derek Haley

Stress at weaning

Dr. Derek Haley

University of Guelph, Canada

For many young farm animals, separation from their mother occurs earlier than might happen naturally. This causes stress, which is independent of the dietary transition. Breaking the maternal bond is stressful to the calf, and may have an impact on immune function and thus disease susceptibility. Good weaning management will benefit the farmer, the calf and the cow.

Dr. Ed Pajor

What are the possible drivers for improving farm animal well-being?

Dr. Ed Pajor

University of Calgary, Canada

Although animal welfare has been a historical concern for producers and society, its importance to animal agriculture and the scrutiny to which animal agricultural practices are under has never been greater and are only expected to increase in the future. The purpose of this presentation is to identify potential drivers for improving farm animal well-being.

Dr. Dan Weary

How pain in young animals affects their ability to learn and respond to novelty

Dr. Dan Weary

University of British Columbia, Canada

Emotional responses in humans are associated with changes in cognitive functioning. Emotions have an effect on judgment making such as risk-taking, future expectations, and interpretation of ambiguous stimuli. Recent research has attempted to use changes in cognitive processes as a method of assessing emotions of animals.

Dr. John Campbell

Pain mitigation after castration of young calves and its effect on performance and behavior

Dr. John Campbell

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Opinions on the optimal age for castration and the method of choice with regard to efficacy and minimization of pain and stress in the calf vary widely. By studying behavior and performance of the calf, research tries to identify the best method to mitigate pain.

Mr. Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell

What is the significance of considering the welfare of food-producing animals to the consumer?

Mr. Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited

In January, 2014, McDonald’s made a commitment to begin sourcing a portion of their global beef supply from verified sustainable sources in 2016. They also committed to setting a global verified sustainable beef sourcing target for 2020. To inform those commitments McDonald’s launched a Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot project in Canada in 2014. The Pilot project will serve as a learning opportunity to understand how we can measure, verify, and communicate to consumers the sustainability of beef production.

Melissa Downing

Challenges of a growing niche market

Melissa Downing

Quality Control Coordinator, Spring Creek Ranch

Animal welfare in food production has long been on the agenda for activists, but in recent years it has also become a trendy topic amongst general public. Social media has played a huge role in this trend and has triggered consumers to ask more questions about their food in general. The disconnect between food producers and consumers has become increasingly vast, presenting an opportunity for us to educate the public about the outstanding job ranchers do.

PROCEEDINGS

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