Earlier this week researchers visited the SFREC beef herd to perform the first run of a newly designed assessment method. With growing interest in animal health and welfare, especially in regards to livestock used for human consumption, there is a need for an assessment tool that is consistent, well-designed, and agreeable amongst multiple audiences.
This assessment evaluates the health and handling of cow-calf herds.
Members of the UC Davis Animal Science Department took on this challenge by proposing a project to develop and administer a cow-calf health and welfare assessment tool that will generate baseline information regarding beef health and handling. Some of the specific details involved with this cutting edge design involve a pre-visit survey that determines components of the operation, animal handling observations, and an animal health assessment.
Animal health observations are factored into the assessment.
The assessments are confidential and will be used to generate training materials that producers can then utilize to improve the health and welfare of their herds. The leaders and key individuals involved with this project include Cassandra Tucker of the UCD Department of Animal Science, Bruce Hoar – the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, and UCD graduate student Gabrielle Simon.
The Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center was the first livestock management system to be assessed through this proposed program. Researchers are currently seeking participation from additional cow-calf operations to test and fine-tune the assessment tool.
Researchers are looking for additional operations to assess.
Here are a few useful links to additional information and resources about beef health and welfare: