Best care for animals

Best care for animals - Commitment 3

We commit to striving for health, welfare and best care for all our animals throughout their lives

In 2018, our commitment to dairy sustainability was strengthened by using a fourth pillar; striving for health, welfare and best care for all our animals throughout their life. It is our commitment to recognise community standards around how our industry adopts welfare practices that improve conditions and health issues affecting our farm animals.

Our challenge and opportunity

Community acceptance of the way we work with animals is critical to our industry's success. We need to focus on the adoption of good animal welfare practices and have transparent dialogue with consumers. Concern about animal welfare and issues such as antibiotic resistance have increased, and the dairy industry has adopted an Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) policy.

The commitment's goal and targets are focused on whole industry adoption of animal welfare practices and standards and the improvement of consumer perception.

Commitment goals and performance results for 2018
Best care for animals for whole of life
For full details, download the report
For emerging issues and 2030 targets, see overview

Goal - provide best care for all animals for whole of life


Animal wellbeing is essential to the success of every dairy farming business and underpins our social licence.

How we performed in 2017/18: 

  • The dairy industry is phasing out routine calving induction and we’re set to meet our 2020 target with less than 5% of dairy farmers using routine induction in 2018
  • According to the Dairy Trust Tracker 2018, 72% of consumers believe dairy farmers do a good job caring for animals (a rise of 14% since 2016)

This table shows our year-on-year progress for Goal 7 against 2020 targets:

Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework - Commitment 3 - Goal 7 Scorecard

Case study

Goal 7 Best care for animals 

The dairy industry’s phasing out of routine calving induction has changed behaviour on dairy farms across Australia.

  • Tony Clarke, a Tasmanian dairy farmer, used to routinely induct 80 out of 1000 cows, until the industry phase-out. His farm no longer uses calving induction

Key initiatives

These initiatives are driving change in providing best care for all our animals.

  • Animal health and welfare policy
    Dairy Australia provides policy support for improving animal health and welfare

  • Monitoring animal husbandry practices
    The ‘Dairy Animal Husbandry’ survey to monitor dairy farmers animal health and welfare practices has been in place since 2005

  • Industry workshops
    Dozens of industry workshops were held across Australia to assist farmers in taking care of their animals and better manage their farms

  • Promoting responsible antimicrobial use
    A new course that helps upskill all dairy advisors in milk quality investigations and promoting responsible antimicrobial use

  • Biosecurity app
    Agriculture Victoria is developing an app that will create a customised farm biosecurity plan

Website initiatives:

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle These guidelines must be met by all dairy farmers and cover all elements of cow welfare considerations. 
Dry Cow Consult tool This tool helps farmers and their vets adopt selective treatment of cows with antibiotic therapy through the dry period. 
Cool Cows program This program gives practical information on how to reduce the impact of high temperatures on cow productivity. 
DataGene 
This tool recently released a new breeding value which allows farmers to breed animals with improved tolerance to hot, humid conditions.
 
Mastitis Focus Report 
Around 400 of these reports, which help farmers with early detection of mastitis issues, were generated last year. 

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How do you think our industry is tracking on best care for animals? Let us know.

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Review industry progress Against each commitment

  • COMMITMENT 1

    How we're tracking on community, industry and investment.

    Read more
  • COMMITMENT 2

    How we're tracking on providing nutritious, safe, quality dairy food.

    Read more
  • COMMITMENT 3

    How we're tracking on the health and welfare of all our animals.

    Read more
  • COMMITMENT 4

    How we're tracking on climate change and stewardship of our natural resources.

    Read more