Animal Health and Welfare


The conference will deal with three topics: Health and Welfare, Breeding Technology and Disease Control, and then conclude with a Leaders’ Forum.

Session 1: Health and Welfare

  1. Marie Haskell, SRUC: Cow characteristics and herd health and welfare

Cow personality and behavioural traits have a direct impact on herd health and welfare. Marie Haskell will describe significant cow traits and how they can be selected and managed to achieve optimum health and welfare outcomes.

  1. Jennifer Walker, Dean Foods: Animal welfare and the consumer

Consumer attitudes to animal welfare are becoming increasingly important in managing industry reputation and shaping consumption trends. The speaker will examine the evolution of consumer attitudes, how they affect the industry and the types of strategies being developed in response.

  1. Luc Maribito, OIE and IDF: The Animal Welfare Index and its application on farm

The practical use of the Animal Welfare Index in a farm environment is a powerful tool to demonstrate good animal husbandry. Luc Maribito will elaborate on the index, its application on farm and the lessons that can be learnt from its use.

Session 2: Breeding Technology

  1. Trygve Solberg, Geno: Breeding and genetics for a sustainable and robust cow

Breeding and genetics provide the industry with a variety of routes to improve the sustainability of the dairy herd. The speaker will use the examples of reduced somatic cell counts, improved longevity and the introduction of polling to demonstrate practical applications of the latest techniques.

  1. Jason Osterstock, Zoetis: Making use of genetic data

Advances in genetics are making far more information available to farmers.  Jason Osterstock will explain how it can be utilised in conjunction with available genetic techniques to develop the dairy cow of the future.

  1. Katie Olson, ABS Global: Gene Editing

Gene editing is a rapidly advancing technology that holds great potential for the future. Katie Olson will explain the technique, the practical advantages it provides to dairy farmers and its potential benefits in the future.

Session 3: Disease Control

  1. Dr Matthew Stone, OIE: Global view on disease eradication, control and management.

Disease control is an issue that affects the entire global dairy industry. Dr Matthew Stone will provide a global perspective on efforts to eradicate, control and manage disease challenges around the world.

  1. Ann Lindberg, Swedish National Veterinary Institute: Control and Eradication of BVD in Scandinavia

Identifying and implementing the right strategy for the control and eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is a significant challenge for the dairy sector. Ann Lindberg will present on the differences between using voluntary and compulsory measures to eradicate the disease in Scandinavia.

  1. Jolanda Jensen: Getting farmer buy-in to disease prevention and control

For any national industry tackling specific diseases fundamentally requires changing the mindset of a diverse population of dairy farmers. The speaker will present on the use of social science techniques to get the best take up of disease control on the ground.

Leaders’ Forum

The conference will conclude with a Leaders’ Forum that will draw upon the speakers presenting throughout the day and provide an opportunity for the delegates to engage in an interactive debate on the welfare of dairy cattle.

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