Forum :: 9th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being

9th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being, Montreal (Canada), 2016

9th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being

Improving animal welfare is a priority within the dairy and beef industries, however, it is important for producers to recognize that it may not always be possible to realize an economic benefit from these actions. “Sometimes the economic outcome of an animal welfare measurement is redundant because it is just the right thing to do,” said Dr. Tye Perrett, Managing Partner with Feedlot Health Management Services, speaking at the 9th Boehringer Ingelheim Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being. “If it is the right thing to do, just do it. Use economics to drive other decisions.”
This concept, and other strategies for better welfare that improve animal health and farm economics, were the focus of the expert forum held in Montreal, Canada in June 2016. More than 80 international delegates heard presentations by North American and European experts and veterinary researchers on a range of topics including the role of big data in improving animal welfare on dairy farms, social license in agriculture, and animal welfare audits.

LECTURES

Wim Verbeke

Farm animal welfare through the eyes of key stakeholders versus consumers

Wim Verbeke

Department of agricultural economics at Ghent University, Belgium

Veterinarians consider maintaining health and controlling pain a priority for ensuring good well-being on farm. Consumers are more concerned about “lack of naturalness” and perceived cruelty. A better understanding of the differences in perception may be beneficial for facilitating public debate and improving communication between beef and dairy producers and citizens.

Dave Dykshorn

The many eyes on farm animal welfare: the veterinarian’s response, responsibility and leadership

Dave Dykshorn

Abbotsford Veterinary Clinic, Canada

Veterinarians may make assumptions that producers don’t want to spend money to improve the well-being of their animals. Such assumptions are often false perceptions. Testimony of a practice that has set up a successful strategy around animal welfare.

 Tye Perrett

Welfare related benefits in health and economics are arguments a producer understands

Tye Perrett

Feedlot Health, Canada

Although ensuring animal well-being may for some stakeholders be perceived as an ethical rather than an economic discussion, there are some direct production benefits from pain relief and better well-being. Ensuring proper animal husbandry can be a first step and improved production outcomes can be the first argument to convince a cattle producer.

Cassandra Tucker

From the lab to life: taking research findings into the world

Cassandra Tucker

UC Davis, USA

Pain, whether caused by disease or management procedures, causes some behavioral changes in the cow which may indirectly have its repercussions on production. On overview of the current scientific knowledge on the short and long-term benefits of pain relief in dairy and beef production.

Michael Ballou

Influence of stress and pain on immunity

Michael Ballou

Texas Tech University, USA

Weaning is an extra-ordinary stressful moment in a young calf’s life. Knowing the mechanisms by which stress interferes with immunity helps to change strategies which will benefit both health and welfare of the calf.

David Kelton

Can Big Data help improve animal welfare on dairy farms?

David Kelton

University of Guelph, Canada

New technologies such as activity meters, calf feeders or data recordings on milking machines have become broadly available on dairy farms. The data they provide have a tremendous potential to record and improve well-being on today’s dairies.

Hans van Trijp

Compromise products to encourage animal friendly consumption

Hans van Trijp

Wageningen University, The Netherlands

In surveys, consumers identify animal welfare as a top priority in their buying decisions. However, buying behavior does not reflect that. Including compromise products in the assortment leads to a reduction in the market share of meat produced at minimum welfare standards and less consumers who refrain from choosing meat.

Crystal Mackay

The importance of social license in agriculture

Crystal Mackay

Farm and Food Care, Canada

In past times, more people had a direct connection to farming and understood how meat or milk is produced. Farmer’s didn’t have to explain why they do certain things. Now the majority of people live in urban areas. Moving forward, beef and dairy producers will need to invest more in communication in order to guarantee their “social license to produce”.

Bernard E. Rollin

Veterinary ethics

Bernard E. Rollin

Colorado State University, USA

Animal welfare is currently driven by consumer pressure in industrialized countries. How does that fit into a global market where food is more and more produced in countries where animal welfare is not a concern of society?

Jennifer Walker

Living up to consumer expectations – Animal welfare audits in dairy, the new normal

Jennifer Walker

Dean Foods Co., USA

The economic benefit of improving welfare and animal well-being is not just the potential of higher production benefits. Producers should consider it a way to open new markets or secure their existing market.

PROCEEDINGS

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