Western Dairy is proud of the animal welfare standards that exist on WA dairy farms, but we never stop thinking about strategies for achieving even better welfare outcomes. Former Western Dairy chair Dale Hanks penned the foreword for a soon-to-be-released document that will assist WA dairy farmers interpret the pending National Standards for Animal Welfare legislation.
“I have great pride in the reputation that the Western Australian dairy industry holds internationally as a quality and reputable source of dairy products. I attribute a big part of this reputation to our approach of ensuring optimum welfare of our cattle. As owners and carers of dairy cattle, we have a responsibility to have the best-possible animal welfare practices on our farm, every day. We must ask ourselves: “could a reasonable person drive onto this property today and would our practices stand up to any reasonable scrutiny?” If that answer to that is ‘well, perhaps not every day’, then that is reason enough to read on. You see, it is the ‘odd day’ when the reasonable scrutiny might throw up an uncomfortable question. That ‘odd day’ is the day from which we need to protect ourselves, our neighbours and our industry. It is also because of those ‘odd days’ that we now have new Australian cattle welfare standards that are soon be legislated by the federal government. I am confident that these standards as they relate to dairy cattle production are reasonable and can be readily met on every WA dairy farm. In response to the pending regulation, Western Dairy has a project that will help interpret and comply with the standards and to provide a guide to how these standards can be met. This document is being developed by farmers for farmers and intended as an asset that will help us demonstrate to the community at large that we understand the standards and know how to meet them. Our industry’s acceptance of these pending guidelines will only help to preserve and even further improve the reputation of excellence we so proudly hold.
Harvey Dairy farmer and former Western dairy director
Other relevant documents and links relating to dairy animal welfare: