Animal welfare issues associated with extensive livestock production: The northern Australian beef cattle industry

Petherick, J. Carol (2005). Animal welfare issues associated with extensive livestock production: The northern Australian beef cattle industry. In: Tina Widowski and Victoria Sandilands, International Society for Applied Ethology Special Issue. 37th International Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Abano Terme, Italy, (211-234). June 2003.


Author Petherick, J. Carol
Title of paper Animal welfare issues associated with extensive livestock production: The northern Australian beef cattle industry
Conference name 37th International Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology
Conference location Abano Terme, Italy
Conference dates June 2003
Proceedings title International Society for Applied Ethology Special Issue   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name Applied Animal Behaviour Science   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Publication Year 2005
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2005.05.009
ISSN 0168-1591
1872-9045
Editor Tina Widowski
Victoria Sandilands
Volume 92
Issue 3
Start page 211
End page 234
Total pages 24
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The animal welfare issues faced by the northern Australian beef cattle industry are similar to those faced by extensive livestock production industries in other countries. However, northern Australia is characterised by climatic extremes and large areas/distances and these factors, together with low management inputs, mean that the industry faces significant challenges to assure high standards of animal welfare. In this review, the following issues are discussed: behavioural restriction; ‘natural disasters’; nutrition; health; a number of aspects relating to human–animal interactions, particularly mustering (gathering/rounding up) andmovingcattle,andtheconsequences for welfareof the timingandfrequency of handling; ‘surgical’ procedures; identification; transportation, including live export; and predation. The use of cattle adapted to the northern Australian environment alleviates many potential welfare problems. In addition, significant improvements to animal welfare could be made very quickly with a few straightforward management changes, such as improved planning for extended dry periods and drought; wider use of conservative stocking rates and supplementary feeding; broader implementation of vaccination programs; and greater implementation of weaner training programs. Further, a dramatic improvement for very large numbers of cattle could be made through the selection and use of polled genotypes to eliminate horned cattle. Research from Europe suggests that current Australian recommendations for the duration of land transportation journeys may be excessive and could compromise welfare, but further research under northern Australian conditions is required. Research and development is also needed in non-invasive alternatives to castration and spaying, but in the meantime the welfare of males could be improved by castrating earlier in the animals’ lives. However, it is acknowledged that this would require major changes to current cattle management practices.
Keyword Extensive livestock management
Animal welfare
Beef cattle
Animal production
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
 
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