Welfare guidelines for dairy herds updated after vets raise concerns over 'excessive' herd expansion
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has launched a new booklet on welfare guidelines for dairy herds, addressing the critical factors associated with dairying, including feed, housing and labour.
The publication, produced by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) entitled 'Animal Welfare Guidelines for Dairy Herds', comes following concerns were expressed by Veterinary Ireland at a meeting of the Council in 2018 on dairy cow welfare particularly regarding lack of investment in calf housing and labour issues.
It was reported at the meeting that veterinarians from UCD had in the course of their work, identified areas of concern regarding nutrition, farm labour and housing. Concern too in some instances of lack of suitable housing due to excessive herd expansion was raised.
Minister Creed today said that with the expansion of the Dairy Herd nationally this booklet will assist Irish farmers to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare.
“It is necessary too that all those engaged in dairy farming ensure their commitment to good animal welfare practices in order to maintain Ireland’s positive animal welfare reputation.
"This is very important given our status as a net exporter of agricultural products.
"Progress continues to be made in the area of animal welfare with ongoing efforts for further improvements acknowledged,” he said.
The booklet notes the recent changes in the dairy industry emphasise the importance of mental and other aspects of the physical health of farm personnel.