Animal Welfare And Productive Farming

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[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]nimal welfare in Dairy Farming is described as the general health and physiological animal function parameters being in good order. For example a lactating dairy cow may exhibit normal respiratory rates normal heart rate and temperature.  In scientific quantifiable terms, this animal is therefore doing well.

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[dropcap2]H[/dropcap2]owever the affective state of the animal is being overlooked in this scenario. For example – is this animal comfortable or is it hungry and is it stress free? Is it able to exhibit it´s normal behaviour and has joy in living?

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Improving Productive Dairy Farming

fleckvieh dairy cow and animal welfare

These other variables have a huge impact on the animal´s health and production as we all know. Every dairy farmer these days talks about cow comfort. Every consumer talks about cow comfort and fair treatment of production animals. I see more and more awareness of animal welfare and how it relates to productive farming practices.

More often than not, there is room for improvement in a production animal such as the lactating dairy cow. for example – a cow will hide pain by instinct. The reason is that if she shows pain in nature, she will be victim of a prey animal.

Therefore as self preservation mechanism, they do not show pain. Not until it is absolutely unavoidable because of the severity.

Then the cow requires medical attention – treatment of a foot abscess for example. Her production will have dropped, she now needs investment of time, effort and money to regain soundness and the desired milk production levels.

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As a veterinarian, I have seen treatments done successfully and also unsuccessfully. Often times I wished that this kind of pain could be avoided because it only causes pain and suffering.

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Is there a simple answer to this multifactorial issue? One that is tied to so many different perceptions and opinions? I believe not.

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However, I believe firmly that with using Fleckvieh genetics ( www.fleckvieh.de), one can make significant strides in improving general strength, health and well being. All the while the milk production is still maintained.

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