Emerging topics in dairy cattle welfare
Perspective for progressive practitioners
Since cattle were domesticated thousands of years ago, production practices and cattle care have continued to evolve, improve, and progress. What is emerging, is the ethical concerns of society for how the global dairy industry cares for cattle, our scientific understanding of the impact of production practices on the cattle as well as science that provides a better understanding of the needs of the cattle in our care, and practices that help to best meet those needs. These factors create an opportunity for the industry to make production decisions that benefit the dairy, consumers of dairy products, and most importantly the cattle in our care. Veterinarians, as trusted experts in the care of cattle by both producers and consumers, can provide a key link in opening the discussions on welfare topics with producers and helping to illuminate these animal care opportunities at the production level. This presentation will highlight several of these “emerging” topics and provide discussion of the mutual benefits that can be realized by proactively addressing those areas, in order to help bovine veterinarians successfully facilitate those conversations.