CZAAWE Resource Article

Welfare Problems in Cattle, Pigs, and Sheep that Persist Even Though Scientific Research Clearly Shows How to Prevent Them
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Poor production and handling practices continue to persist that are both detrimental to animal welfare and financially burdensome. These practices continue to persist for three reasons: (1) a segmented marketing chain where a producer is not held financially accountable for losses; (2) failure to measure and assess chronic painful problems such as lame livestock; and (3) repeating old mistakes, such as housing fattening cattle for long periods of time on bare concrete. Two examples of the first type of losses are bruises caused by poor handling and sick cattle at feedlots caused by failure to vaccinate and precondition weaned calves at the farm of origin. In some segmented marketing systems, there is no economic incentive to vaccinate. When the animals get sick, the responsibility gets passed to the next person. Buyers of meat products can reduce these “passed on” losses by source verification. The first step to reducing problems, such as lame livestock, is to measure the percentage of lame animals and work with the producers to reduce them. Also, transportation payments should be changed and contracts should be based on the condition of the animals at delivery.