Animal Welfare or animal comfort refers to the overall well-being of animals in a livestock operation. Animals should be in good health, comfortably housed, properly handled and receive adequate nutrition, in order to support good performance and production.
Animals should be protected from:
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Pain, injury, parasites and disease
- Fear and social stressors
- Environmental discomfort such as heat stress and excess rainfall
It is the responsibility of the farmer to ensure that all the physical, nutritional and social needs of the animals are met. Farmers should ensure the following are observed:
- Animals should be provided with adequate feed and water.
- Feed and water supplied should be of the best quality.
- Animal should be protected from adverse weather conditions.
- Animals should be inspected regularly.
- Housing for animals should provide suitable flooring, shelter and ventilation.
- Ensure management practices are adhered to during breeding, calving and weaning.
- Animals are kept in good sanitary conditions.
- Ensure milking procedures allow for stress free extraction of milk under conditions that are favourable to both dairy milkers and cows.
- All management practices should ensure the safety of animals and staff.