July 09, 2018

Animal Well-being Challenges for Today, Opportunities for Tomorrow at WCAP

Animal well-being challenges for today, opportunities for tomorrow

By: Anne Zinn

The July 7 afternoon session of WCAP focused on animal well-being and the current challenges and future opportunities involved. First, Donald Lay, Jr.  of the USDA outlined difficult animal welfare challenges and how pressure on the animal industry to find solutions has continued to rise. Lay described various efforts to address animal welfare that have occurred over the past years and the problems that stand in the way of these solutions. Then Adroaldo Zanella presented on the impact of prenatal and neonatal environments for animal welfare and h0ow the survival, welfare, and health outcomes of offspring are related to the conditions of their parents. 
Following Lay and Zanella, Jacob Hamiidu, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer at Kramer Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, gave a brief overview of a study exploring the otimimization of chick quality as one of the ways Africa’s poultry industry has come back, and veterinarian Devon Wilson of the University of British Columbia discussed male dairy calf transportation welfare and market value in British Columbia. This study examined the male dairy calf health and immune status at the farm of origin before transportation and then determined how health measures correlated to calf price. It was determined that calf health and immune status are highly variable before transportation and improvements to this process could increase the market value of calves and enhance their welfare as they transition from the dairy to calf growing operations. 
To finish off the day, Marina von Keyserlingk, NSERC Industrial Research Chair Professor a the University of British Columbia, discussed maintaining public trust and social acceptability when it comes to farm animal welfare. Animal welfare has emerged as a main point of social concern in agriculture and there has been increased public interest in how animals are housed and cared for on farms. Dr. von Keyserlingk highlighted some of the contentious issues within the farm animal industries that are at risk of being out of step with societal values and possible solutions that may help pave the way forward in how farmers and scientists alike house farm animals. 

The full schedule can be found here