Food-animal veterinarians are becoming more and more involved in animal welfare programs every day to help their clients ensure a healthy, well-cared for animal for the food supply.
At the winter Academy of Veterinary Consultants meeting in Denver, Dave Sjeklocha, DVM, Cattle Empire, Sublette, Kan., spoke about the cattle welfare and quality assurance programs already in place in the cattle industry such as Beef Quality Assurance program. This training program includes include training and certification on animal handling, recordkeeping, feedstuffs management, biosecurity, environmental resources and even equine welfare.
These are the things our industry needs to tell people about how cattle are being raised by well-educated, well-trained individuals with a stake in ensuring the longevity and sustainability of beef cattle production. And veterinarians are an integral part of that.
Sjeklocha, incoming president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, suggests that veterinarians remember these simple, key messages about beef cattle production when talking to those unfamiliar with our industry:
1. We take good care of our beef cattle and we think people who abuse animals should be prosecuted.
2. We encourage producers to work with their veterinarian on animal health and well-being best management practices for their cattle.
3. The tools are available for training individual employees on animal care practices and for on-farm assessment of animal welfare and food safety.
4. We continuously work through research and practice to improve upon today’s animal health and well-being practices.