Care for all animals

Goal 7

Goal 7 Provide best care for all our animals

7.1 All of industry complying with legislated Animal Welfare Standards

2016 performance: In late 2015, all dairy farmers received a copy of the new Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines through their processors. In the 2016 Animal Husbandry Survey, dairy farmers were asked whether they had a copy of the document which provides detail of the new proposed legal requirements and includes recommended industry animal welfare practices. Of those interviewed, 47% said yes, 36% said no and 18% said they don’t know. This represents a decline in recognition from last year, when 56% said they were aware of the new Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. This is being further investigated.

7.2 All of industry adopting relevant recommended industry practices such as those relating to reduced use of routine calving induction; don’t dock tails; disbud prior to 2 months of age; have a lameness strategy; have cool infrastructure; bobby calves fed within 6 hours prior to transport

2016 performance: During 2016, there was an improvement across several of the indicators that demonstrate industry’s adoption of relevant recommended practices for animal care. Farmers that don’t use routine calving induction for farm management improved by 2% since 2015 to 90%, with a 10% improvement since 2014. Farmers who don’t dock tails improved by 6% from 2014 to 91%. Farmers who disbud calves prior to two months was maintained at 63%. Farms with a lameness strategy in place remained at 95%. Farms with cool infrastructure decreased by 6% since last year to 92%. Farmers who feed transported calves between one and six hours prior to transport decreased by 1% since last year to 96%.

Many animal welfare issues are integrated into the industry’s extension and training programs, including:

Cool Cows — An extension project to help dairy farmers manage the risk of heat stress in their herds.

CowTime — Provides ways to make milking easier and reduce stress in the dairy by ensuring a calm, quiet environment in the dairy. Farmers are encouraged to allow the herd to retain its natural social order resulting in smoother cow flow in and out of the dairy. This results in a lowered potential for lameness and reduces time spent in the milking shed.

FutureDairy — Assesses animal behaviour in voluntary (automatic) milking systems.

InCalf — Helps farmers improve the fertility of their dairy herds, reducing the need for intervention such as calving induction.

Countdown 2020 — Helps dairy farmers manage mastitis in their herds, thereby improving herd health and milk quality.

DataGene — Allows dairy farmers to make genetic selection decisions based on traits associated with welfare such as calving ease, improved fertility, mastitis resistance and survivability.

On-farm QA programs — Ensure farmers have processes in place to manage herd health and welfare risks.

Regional Development Programs — Provide access to local networks and service providers such as vets to deliver lameness workshops and calf rearing days for farmers.

The People in Dairy — Project that addresses the capability and skills of dairy workers though improved training on farms, recruitment, induction and supervision of staff. Visit: www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/animalmanagement/animal-welfare/industry-extensionand-training-programs

Caring for dry cows — Dairy Australia has developed a new online resource to improve dry cow management. The tool gives dairy veterinarians and field service officers a structured way of working with farmers to provide a written action plan for the dry-off process, tailored to their farm risks and management goals. Using the online tool takes 10 to15 minutes and walks through a series of questions about the farm system, management goals, past practices for drying off cows and current mastitis risks. A one hour webinar about using the tool is available to watch here. Visit: http://drycowconsult.com.au

7.3 25% increase in the number of consumers who believe dairy farmers do a good job caring for animals

2016 performance: During 2016, consumers participating in the Dairy Monitor 2016 Wave 11 survey were asked whether they believe dairy farmers are doing a good job of caring for their animals. Of those interviewed, 58% agreed, 22% were neutral, 6% disagreed and 15% said they don’t know. This is a slight decline of only 1% from last year, when 59% said they believe dairy farmers are doing a good job of caring for their animals.