Australian dairy farmers are showing their commitment to the welfare of their animals by staying up-to-date on recent changes to industry policy.
A stronger industry policy has been implemented by the Australian Dairy Industry Council on emergency euthanasia, under which dairy farmers must create provisions for on-farm euthanasia by using a licensed firearm or captive bolt device.
To comply with the new industry policy, farmers must not use euthanasia by blunt force trauma, except in emergency situations.
Dairy farmers are also actively encouraged to ensure they are able to perform euthanasia humanely and in line with best practice, and provide training for their staff.
The changes come after the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework was strengthened in 2018 by a fourth pillar striving for health, welfare and best care for all animals throughout their life.
Gippsland dairy farmer Sharon Mattern sees the changes as an opportunity to refresh her knowledge of best practice. "Nowadays, you have to keep up-to-date," Ms Mattern said. "Animal welfare is a big issue, as it should be you want to ensure that you are doing the right thing for your animals."
Ms Mattern has been farming alongside her husband since they were married and started a family in 1998, trading her laboratory role in product testing at Murray Goulburn for a job closer to home.
She milks 1100 cows through a 52-unit rotary, with a split-calving pattern.
To get across the latest animal welfare standards, Ms Mattern took advantage of Euthanase Livestock courses being offered regularly through her local Regional Development Program.
"Through the courses, I gained confidence that I was undertaking best practice procedures on-farm," she said.
"You hope that you don't have to use the knowledge often on your farm, but it's important for every farmer to have the ability to do what's best for their animals."
Ms Mattern manages the farm alongside a farm team of her husband, four full-time staff and three casual staff.
For Ms Mattern, a key priority is ensuring her staff understand best practice, so they handle animals humanely and in line with industry standards.
"I know that if my staff go to training, they are going to be taught up-to-date information by someone who has the time and experience to get the information across to them," Ms Mattern said.
"I can now have confidence that my staff are capable of making good decisions when it really counts."
Dairy farmers can access Euthanase Livestock courses by contacting their Regional Development Program.
Article courtesy of Dairy Australia
This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer
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