Sunday, May 9, 2021
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HomePoliticalHeat Stress A Priority During Busy Year For Animal Welfare Work

Heat Stress A Priority During Busy Year For Animal Welfare Work


A significant amount of work is under way this year to
update animal welfare codes and provide updated advice to
farmers for issues such as heat stress, says the Ministry
for Primary Industries.

MPI veterinarian and director
for animal health and welfare Dr Chris Rodwell said early
next month MPI, in collaboration with industry partners
through the Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum, will
review its work programme after recently completed shade and
shelter research.

Dr Rodwell says that while
mitigating heat stress in livestock is complex, MPI is
confident that this pan-sector discussion will ensure a
joined-up approach is taken.

“The industry has already
been proactive on this issue and we are looking forward to
keeping that momentum going in order to deliver the best
welfare outcomes for outdoor livestock.”

Dr Rodwell
says it’s important that all options for shade and shelter
are on the table, not just man-made infrastructure
solutions, such as barns.

“Ultimately New Zealand’s
outdoor farming system is a good thing for our animals. It
allows them to behave naturally – including lying down in
paddocks – and it reduces the possibility of disease
spread.

“We want to ensure that during adverse weather
animals have access to protection from the elements – hot,
cold or wet weather. That may be by using natural features
such as trees or scrub, or artificial
structures.

“As well as permanent shelter, farmers
can use short-term solutions to protect animals from heat
stress, altering farm management practices such as mustering
and milking times, for example.”

Improving
regulatory standards to manage heat stress in livestock is
amongst several pieces of work currently being undertaken by
the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC).
NAWAC is an independent committee formed to give advice on
animal welfare to the Minister of Agriculture and the
Associate Minister of Agriculture (Animal
Welfare).

Working groups are currently reviewing
existing codes for Dairy cattle and Pigs, and a further
group is about to commence work on the Sheep and Beef code.
Amongst other things, NAWAC will be looking to strengthen
the standards to ensure protection from thermal stress.
These drafts will be available for public consultation later
in 2021. At that time the public will be asked to provide
their thoughts and feedback on the draft documents.

In
other work, NAWAC is developing a code of welfare for
breeding birds in the poultry industry, and for farmed fish.
Further information on NAWAC’s work programme can be found
on their web page

Information
about NAWAC

Shelter
requirements for farm
animals

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