Improving beef cattle welfare


  • Tiffany L. Lee Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506
  • Daniel U. Thomson Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506



cattle, beef, animal welfare


Animal welfare is at the epicenter of values-based and science-based reasoning. A question which must be posed is "Do scientific professionals consider animal welfare an established scientific field?" In many areas of animal production and research, the answer is a resounding yes. However, it must be established in all areas of science involving animals, and it must be maintained as a scientific field. To do so, we must be able to show that animal welfare can be measured and assessed using both subjective and objective measures. Animal welfare can be measured on a day-to-day basis by the producers and veterinarian who work directly with the animals, using outcome-based measures. When outcome based measures are used, we can assess why certain management practices are put into place, and what impact those practices are making on production and welfare. According to the OIE (2008), the criteria for measurement of animal welfare include cattle behavior, morbidity rates, mortality rates, changes in weight and body condition, reproductive efficiency, physical appearance, handling responses, and comĀ¬ plications due to routine procedure management. By using these and other outcome-based measures, animal welfare will become an established scientific field in which observations can be measured and recorded so that management changes and improvements can be implemented to maintain and improve welfare on production units.






General Sessions