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Current Options in Farm Animal Welfare Audits - Jim Reynolds


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Dr Jim Reynolds presented this information on February 8th 2012 for DAIReXNET. He discussed the various options available for animal welfare certification on dairy farms, as well as what certification is and how to decide if it's right for you or your clients.

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Current Options in Farm Animal Welfare Audits - Jim Reynolds

  1. 1. Current Options in Farm Animal Welfare Audits and Evaluations Jim Reynolds DVM, MPVM
  2. 2. <ul><li>Current options in Animal Welfare Certification </li></ul><ul><li>The value of certification </li></ul><ul><li>How to determine if you should become part of one of these programs </li></ul>
  3. 3. First: what is animal welfare and how do we assess it? <ul><li>Welfare is something the animal has; </li></ul><ul><li>Not something we do to it. </li></ul><ul><li>We can affect the welfare of animals by our housing and management of them. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is animal welfare? <ul><li>Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives . An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal ; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment. 1 Protecting an animal's welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs . </li></ul> 1-24-2012
  5. 5. Why do we have Farm Welfare Audits / Certifications? <ul><li>There are 2 main reasons for current welfare audits or assessments: </li></ul><ul><li>Response to criticism of husbandry. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry / Retailers set up programs to assure consumers that animals have good welfare. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Management desires to have the best welfare possible for the animals. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The farm intends to provide good welfare and has third-party audits in ensure the programs are working. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Goals for Welfare Assessments and Audits <ul><li>To determine if the welfare for animals on a farm is appropriate for that species </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Verification using a written audit tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses standards developed for that species and production system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can be used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assure consumers animals are cared for properly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal verification for dairy management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Find areas for veterinary consultation </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Welfare Audit Principles <ul><li>Welfare is a combination of facilities and people </li></ul><ul><li>Welfare audits should not dictate the management of a farm </li></ul><ul><li>Audits should verify that animals are cared for properly, to contemporary standards </li></ul><ul><li>The farm management will meet each standard in its own way </li></ul>
  8. 8. Welfare Assessments and Audits <ul><li>Approach to assure consumers animal care meets standards </li></ul><ul><li>Non-governmental </li></ul><ul><li>Market - driven </li></ul><ul><li>Provides an assessment or an audit to the farm regarding animal care and welfare </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment provides report to owner detailing strengths and weaknesses on farm </li></ul><ul><li>Audit covers all areas of cow comfort and welfare </li></ul>
  9. 9. Techniques for assessing welfare <ul><li>2 basic methods: </li></ul><ul><li>1) outcome based </li></ul><ul><li>- Use animals to see if standards are met </li></ul><ul><li>2) protocols </li></ul><ul><li>- Create a system or facility that should result in the desired outcome </li></ul><ul><li>These are used in combination in the various programs </li></ul>
  10. 10. Areas on the Farm Audited or Assessed <ul><li>General Animal Management </li></ul><ul><li>Feed & Water Access and Quality </li></ul><ul><li>Herd Health </li></ul><ul><li>Facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Parlor Behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Special Needs management </li></ul><ul><li>Handling & Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Replacement Cattle </li></ul><ul><li>Management </li></ul><ul><li>All animals on the farm will be observed </li></ul><ul><li>Must have Down Cow and Euthanasia Protocols </li></ul>
  11. 11. Areas for welfare protocols: <ul><li>Maternity pen </li></ul><ul><li>Colostrum feeding </li></ul><ul><li>Holding area </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Calf processing </li></ul><ul><li>Feeding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water and grain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sanitation </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizing illness </li></ul><ul><li>Treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Euthanasia </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency plans </li></ul><ul><li>Handling </li></ul><ul><li>Dehorning </li></ul><ul><li>Castration </li></ul>Veterinarians and Extension can help develop protocols, train and manage workers.
  12. 12. Animal Production Industry Standards <ul><li>1) Must be clear that the welfare and interests of the animals have appropriate weight relative to the human use of the animals </li></ul><ul><li>2) Consumers must have confidence that the standards are taken seriously and that livestock producers will follow the recommended practices </li></ul><ul><li>3) Producers must believe the standards are established and administered fairly </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson, P. B. 2005. Animal agriculture and the welfare of animals. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 226:1325–1327. </li></ul><ul><li>Standards must be real and they must be enforced </li></ul>
  13. 13. Major Dairy Programs Available in the US: <ul><li>American Humane Association </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Humane Certified </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National Milk Producers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program (NYSCHAP) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cattle Welfare Certification Program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Validus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Animal Welfare Review – Dairy (AWR-D) </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14.
  15. 15. American Humane Certified Program <ul><li>An audit program </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed questionnaire, checklist and animal observations developed by the AHA Scientific Committee </li></ul><ul><li>Annual re-certification </li></ul><ul><li>Required by some processors </li></ul><ul><li>Dairy, swine and poultry programs </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizes PAACO certified auditors </li></ul>
  16. 16. National Dairy FARM Program Farmers Assuring Responsible Management SM <ul><li>Mission: “To demonstrate and verify that U.S. milk producers are committed to providing the highest standards of animal care and quality assurance.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A nation-wide, verifiable program that addresses animal well-being. Third-party verification ensures the validity and the integrity of the program to our customers and consumers.” </li></ul>
  17. 17.
  18. 18. National Dairy FARM Program Farmers Assuring Responsible Management <ul><ul><li>Industry established standards developed by NMP via adhoc committee of dairy owners, veterinarians, consultants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire, checklist and animal observations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All on the FARM website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluators certified through NMP FARM program training; can be veterinarians, producer (COOP) personnel, extension, consultants </li></ul><ul><li>Second party evaluations at least every 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Third party evaluations based on random sample of dairies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Third-party evaluations are of the program, not the dairy (process verification) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Well-Being Principles & Guidelines National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative Continuous Improvement Cycle Conduct internal assessment to measure program effectiveness Apply Principles & Guidelines to on-farm well-being programs Third-party program verification Facilitate producer awareness and implement education programs Implement on-farm well-being programs
  20. 20. How does the 2 nd party evaluation start? <ul><li>Sit-down interview and review of pertinent records. </li></ul><ul><li>First 45 questions in the FARM checklist. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What about the evaluation checklist ? <ul><li>Different types of evidence can be used: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(e.g. written documents, employee interviews, visual) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are answered “Yes”, “No” or “Not applicable” to the farm. </li></ul><ul><li>Scoring will be required for lameness, body condition, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>hock lesions and cleanliness. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. How does the 2 nd party evaluation proceed? <ul><li>On-site facility observations, last 32 checklist questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Scoring lameness, body condition, leg lesions and hygiene. </li></ul>
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
  25. 25. NYSCHAP <ul><li>An evaluation program </li></ul><ul><li>Annual review required </li></ul><ul><li>Herd veterinarian must be present during review </li></ul><ul><li>Standards developed by Scientific Committee </li></ul><ul><li>PAACO, ISO, USDA process verified </li></ul>
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Validus <ul><li>Program designed to first provide an assessment, then audit </li></ul><ul><li>Annual recertification required </li></ul><ul><li>Standards developed by Scientific Committee </li></ul><ul><li>Validus trains auditors </li></ul><ul><li>Audits animals in risk groups (sampling size developed for every group) </li></ul><ul><li>PAACO, ISO, USDA process verified </li></ul>
  28. 28. Comparison of Animal Observations Between Programs Dr. Sandy Goff; AABP Animal Welfare Pre-seminar 2011 Program Observations AHA  Random sample/select 20 cows for every 100 lactating and dry cows on-site Validus  Observations focus on risk groups  Reports individual problem pens  Highest number of animal observations  Parlor turns must be evaluated FARM  Observations in every pen  Reports herd averages NYSCHAP  Evaluates SOPs & training records prior to certification visit  Close involvement with herd vet; must be present at certification  Each animal management group scored (milking/dry cows & young stock)
  29. 29. Comparison of Critical Control Points of Animal Observations Between Programs Dr. Sandy Goff; AABP Animal Welfare Pre-seminar 2011 CCP AHA Validus FARM NYSCHAP Lameness 95% score 1 or 2 <5% score > 3 90% score < 2 < 15% score >3 < 1% score 5 (or 1 animal) BCS 98% score >2 & <4.5 <3% score <2 <10% score > 4 90% score >2 & <4.5 < 5% score <2 90% score >1 Leg lesions 80% score 0 or 1 <2% score 3 90% score 1 99% score < 2 Recorded, no CCP Hygiene 90% score 1 or 2 <10% score >2 90% score <3 Minimize score >3*
  30. 30. / PAACO certifies Welfare Audits and Auditor Training. PAACO also trains Auditors for Meat Plant Welfare Auditing.
  31. 31. The Value of Welfare Audit or Assessment Programs <ul><li>Education and Understanding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the real needs of cattle is a process and each program does a great job of education during the assessments or evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine the strengths and weakness regarding welfare on your farm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cows get lame, have LDA’s, and have reproductive problems for reasons that are determined by housing and management </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marketing milk products </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compliance with welfare standards will continue the trust we have with consumers of dairy products. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Should you participate in one of these programs? <ul><li>If you are a producer: Yes , because : </li></ul><ul><li>You will get an evaluation of your dairy </li></ul><ul><li>You will find the strong and weak areas of animal welfare in your operation </li></ul><ul><li>You can prioritize the improvement of welfare over time </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate current practices </li></ul><ul><li>Modify housing as needed over time. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Should you participate in one of these programs? <ul><li>If you provide services to dairies: Yes </li></ul><ul><li>You will be able to identify strong and weak areas of welfare and help prioritize improvements; </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding cattle welfare and integrating welfare needs of animals into management is the least expensive way to improve economic viability. </li></ul>
  34. 34. QUESTIONS?