Over my time of blogging for agriculture, I have realized that animal agriculture has a perception problem. For example, many people that are completely supportive of other modern agricultural production methods think that farm animals are widely abused. While we don’t have animals on our farm and it doesn’t directly affect me, I hate to see that my animal farmer friends are so poorly viewed.
To combat some of these misconceptions, I asked animal farmers pertinent questions about animal welfare, animal care, and the intersection of profits. In this 3-part series, you can get some perspective and feedback from actual farmers on these issues. If you want more information, feel free to check out the link after each answer directing you to the farmer’s Facebook page.
What does animal welfare mean to you?
To me, animal welfare means doing the right thing for your animals basic care because it is the right thing to do. Ashley Kennedy, Messy Kennedy, Michigan, Dairy
Animal welfare means that you are making sure all of your animals needs are met. Do they have ample feed? Clean, easily accessible water and shelter with dry bedding? Good animal welfare means you are doing everything in your power to have a healthy animal, living with adequate care. Jodi, Of Kids and Cows, Ohio, Dairy
When I hear “animal welfare”, I think of the ‘welfare’ (well being) and provision for the animals under my care. One of the first things that come to mind is the word RESPONSIBILITY. I have the honor of taking on the responsibility to get to know each animal and their needs and to provide shelter, feed, water and health care for them. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing that when I go to bed each night (myself warmed and fed), that my animals have all the feed and fresh water they need and shelter from the elements. I also think understanding their behavior and therefore interpreting their actions correctly and not humanizing them is fundamentally important in providing the best in care. Angie, Douglas Falls Creamery, Washington, Assorted Animals
To me, animal welfare is making sure the animals are clean, happy and healthy. It is making sure they have a comfortable, dry place to rest, plenty of space to live and a nutritious diet. It is caring for them when they are sick or injured and doing everything possible to help them regain health. It is working with them calmly and kindly. As a dairy farmer, treating animals well is not only the right thing to do, but it is also my job. Annaliese Wegner, Modern Day Farm Chick, Wisconsin, Dairy
Animal welfare is something that farmers practice daily. It means giving the care an animal needs. This is done by looking at the animal’s perspective of what it requires and needs—not what we as humans would want or need. Much of our animal welfare is determined by working closely with our animal care experts and our animal nutritionist. On our farm, both of these individuals are part of our team. Wanda, Minnesota Farm Living, Minnesota, Hogs
Animal welfare on our family farm is number one priority. As their caretakers, it is our responsibility to make sure they have the best life possible while in our care. We have a close working relationship with our veterinarian. The cows get bi-annual visits from our hoof trimmer, a well balanced diet, a consistent schedule, a clean barn & bedding area. Everything we do is focused around animal care which results in nutritious milk to provide for others. Krista, The Farmer’s Wifee, Washington, Dairy
It is a privileged I work with diary cattle and not a right. As a dairy farmer the welfare of my cattle is of the highest priority and part of the reason that I became a dairy farmer is because I enjoy taking care of livestock. To me animal welfare is giving my animals the best life possible. They provide my family with a living so in return I owe them the upmost care. Dairy farmers are in the barn 365 days of the year looking after their cattle and they are milked at least twice a day so we are very attuned their needs and we can address any welfare concerns promptly. Tim May, Farmer Tim, Ontario, Canada, Dairy