I’ve come to the realization that many people think that farmers are willing to sacrifice animal welfare in favor of profits. As part of my 3-part series talking to animal farmers, I asked a handful of them how they strike a balance on their farms between animal welfare and profits.
If you have further questions for the farmers, feel free to check out their Facebook pages, which are linked after the answers, to get in touch with them!
How do you balance and prioritize animal welfare with the need to make profits for your farm?
In general, making sure our cows are comfortable, healthy and well cared for makes for a more profitable cow. We work hard day in and day out to make sure their needs are meant and our cows have the best in wellbeing we can possibly give them. When we are financially able to implement new technology to increase their comfort. Ashley Kennedy, Messy Kennedy, Michigan, Dairy
In my opinion keeping your animals healthy and well cared for easily pays for itself to increase your profits. Healthy, comfortable cows will always milk more than cows who don’t have comfortable/ideal care. Animal welfare easily climbs to the top. Jodi, Of Kids and Cows, Ohio, Dairy
So good animal welfare gives us the best potential for profits. And we need profits so that we can continue raising pigs. By raising the healthiest animal possible, we are able to sell them to our meat packer, where we also receive a premium based on the high quality meat quality. Simply put, our meat packer WILL NOT buy our pigs if they are not cared for. They will ONLY buy healthy pigs. So, literally, we wake up every single day with the goal of how do we provide better care for our animals. Yes, we need profits to exist. We don’t make profits by providing poor animal care. Period. Wanda, Minnesota Farm Living, Minnesota, Hogs
For me, it is easy. Proper animal welfare and running a successful business go hand in hand. Dairy farmers make money by producing milk. So, obviously I want my cows to produce well. How do get cows to produce milk well? By making sure they are happy and healthy. My job revolves around making sure my cows have everything they need to live a long, happy life. In return, they produce milk! Annaliese Wegner, Modern Day Farm Chick, Wisconsin, Dairy
While our animals are a part of what provides food for our family and money to help pay for their feed and care, they aren’t what we base our income on so I don’t feel the need to push for profits, but at the same time, I must be practical. They either contribute or are pets and I definitely limit the amount of pets. Well-taken care of animals provide more products (eggs, milk, meat) and animals handled gently and appropriately are more apt to find a buyer when it comes time to sell them. Regardless that animals treated better give more, I find it ethical to provide the best care according to what they need. And I find it equally important to understand the type of animal they are (cows are not horses etc) and that they aren’t human. Angie, Douglas Falls Creamery, Washington, Assorted Animals
On a dairy farm, taking the best care of the cows is good business. Keeping the cows healthy impacts their milk production. Each cow needs to produce enough milk to at least pay for the feed she eats. If she is unhealthy or stressed out, she is going to have a hard time doing so. Animal welfare and farm profit go hand in hand. You pay your bills with happy, healthy, well cared for cows. Krista, The Farmer’s Wifee, Washington, Dairy
Caring for livestock isn’t only the right thing to do it is the profitable thing to do. Happy and healthy cows are more productive so it only makes sense to pamper them. As in every industry there will always be a few individuals that give everyone a bad name. Animal abuse is never okay and dairy farmers are united in assuring consumers that our cattle are being well cared for. My family is proud to bring nutritious milk from pampered cows to your table. Tim May, Farmer Tim, Ontario, Canada, Dairy Farmer