Report Synopsis

Animal Welfare Bridging the gap from producer to consumer

Thomas Green

Globally, livestock producers show a high level of care and skill when raising animals. This skill in combination with new technologies have seen rapid increases in production efficiencies in developed countries. This has resulted in the non-agricultural public now questioning the ethics of the livestock production industry.

This report explores the complexity of animal welfare in livestock production with a focus on the beef feedlot industry. Animal welfare is an emotive and subjective topic, and it is hoped this report can inform the reader and give confidence to be part of the conversation that is currently surrounding livestock production and animal welfare.

It was discovered that there are vast differences globally regarding animal welfare standards, with main drivers being government legislation, wealth, culture, and religion. Animal welfare is largely misunderstood with many accompanying misconceptions. An example of this is the association of large-scale livestock production with poor animal welfare standards. This was not found to be the case as part of this research.

Livestock producers in developed countries are increasingly removed from the end consumer due to complex supply chains. These supply chains are designed to extract as much financial value as possible and allows little room for transparency between producer and consumer. These livestock producers and peak bodies have recently been seen to be defensive and reactive to claims of poor animal welfare. This is making agricultural sector appear that they have something to hide.

Livestock production is crucial globally and should be celebrated as producing nutrient dense protein with micronutrients essential to human health. Livestock production also plays a critical and underestimated role on soil health and carbon sequestration. Given their importance, livestock producers have a responsibility to care for animals in a transparent and sustainable manner, in line with stakeholder shared values.

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