Factory farming has been used as an emotive expression used to denigrate the livestock industry. If you assess what it infers, it’s industrial processes applied to animal production, which grates against our desire for foods to be natural and wholesome. So, the term is meant to shock us into rejecting animal production.
The term originates from Ruth Harrison’s Animal Machines (1964) which was crucial in raising awareness to the welfare of animals. However, it has now been converted into a movement which has no clear concept of what a factory farm is. The reality is the most intensively managed species is our own. There is nothing natural about the way we live or raise our children in modern society.
So when I read the Guardian headline “Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?” I was shocked. Here is a respected newspaper using a phrase linked to the pandemic as a blatant strategy to sell copies. The article lacks the depth of analysis that I used to love and respect – I used to read it daily. This article misses the point completely – Covid19 came from bats, possibly via Pangolins so to make this an article about livestock production methods reveals the sinister agenda behind this paper. Where is the evidence and balance in this article and paper?
It would be interesting to explore these points:
It’s not size that matters….it sounds obvious, but there are parallels in all aspects of life. I went to a school with 50 kids and then a school with over 2000 kids. The strengths and weaknesses were different and could not be generalised to other schools. This applies to our village compared to the metropolis – the welfare of inhabitants are determined by many factors.
The UBC team have done another excellent job of reviewing the evidence and showing the same principles may apply to large vs small herds. The fact some people perceive large dairies as factory farms shows the lack of depth with which we judge the modern farmer. Some farmers demonstrate the modern day factory standards can be applied to care of staff, quality of production and most importantly, care of animals in a positive way. Of course there are good and bad in any production system but when you ask yourself which farm would you rather be on then you might start asking the right, in-depth questions.
To read the article please follow this link: Is Animal Welfare Better on Smaller Farms?http://www.fondation-droit-animal.org/proceedings-aw/is-animal-welfare-better-on-smaller-farms/
There are two options for foot trimming training:
Lameness and foot health courses can be tailored to dairy staff, trimmers, consultants, industry and vets. Normal courses will include:
Actiphage looks the test of choice for confirming Johne’s status of cows positive by milk Elisa, but it also has potential for bTB eradication. However, the laws on the use of novel bTB tests are strict. More information can be found here. More details about the lab providing the Actiphage test can be found here.
Thanks to Sam from Radio York for the chance to talk about “Fit Bit for cows”. The affordability of 3d accelerometers (pedometers) has been talked about for a number of years but it has needed some clever engineering to make the equipment tough enough for the cow, to gather sufficient data, transmit it effectively, hold it in the cloud, process it usefully and then report back to farmers in a simple and meaningful way. The prospects for real-time monitoring of cow comfort and health has never been more real! Thanks go to IceRobotics (www.CowAlert.com) and Omnisense (our original research collaborators) for providing kit for some interesting studies. The main priorities for cow comfort are:
Acknowledgement of co-workers: participating farmers, Writtle College (Jon, Holly, Zoe), Essex Uni (Edd), Nottingham University (Jorge, Martin), RVC (Sophie, Jacqui, Charlie), Exeter Uni (Darren)
Is there anything else?