Welfare of the dairy animal

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The welfare of dairy animals lends itself to an integrated systems approach as different management strategies interact with each other to maintain wellbeing and productivity. The International Dairy Federation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have published an internationally accepted guide to good animal welfare in dairy production that will be reviewed in this module. It emphasizes the benefits of good animal welfare for the producer, processor and consumer of dairy products as it is acknowledged that there is a link between animal welfare and milk safety. There are, according to the original document published in 2008, five pillars for good animal welfare: stockmanship, feed and water, physical environment, husbandry practices and health management. Although the later edition emphasizes that animal-based criteria are essential, the above-mentioned pillars form a logical framework for evaluating animal welfare on a dairy farm. Recently, it was proposed by the OIE that the International Standards Organisation would also develop technical specifications for dairy animal welfare, to set a benchmark for welfare auditing in the dairy industry.

License Condition: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0  
Education Level: 
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Academic Year: 

Prof Cheryl McCrindle

Emeritus Professor: Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Extraordinary lecturer, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa