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An Overview of Excellent Points in Ruminant Welfare Session

Release time:2018-12-03

On October 24-25th 2018, the Second World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare, jointly hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation, takes place in Beijing. Ruminant Welfare Session, hosted by Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is held in the morning of October 25th.

 Paul Littlefair, Head of International of Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
 Paul Littlefair chairs Ruminant Welfare Session. He makes a welcome speech and sincerely thanks the participants for their support of 2nd WCFAW. He says that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been committed to the prevention of animal abuse and the well-being of animals. It focuses on the establishment of relevant standards, including food packaging, food labeling, feed labeling, etc. Through these labels, people can get a better understanding of the whole process from animal birth, farming to its slaughtering. If a food is marked by such a logo and certification, it means that the animal used for the food production has been raised in high-welfare conditions.

Yu Dongmei, Director of High-tech Industry Development Center of Shengmu High-tech (Organic Milk) Group
Yu Dongmei makes a report on “Human Caring in the Organic Farms of the Mongolian Desert – the Experience of Shengmu High Tech Animal Welfare Technology”.
Inner Mongolia Shengmu High-tech (Organic Milk) Group was established in 2009. The dairy farms are located in Ulan Buh Desert as there is sufficient water source. In total, there are 23 dairy farms. The initial intention is to solve the problem of desertification with industry development. The company has also good practices in animal welfare. Based on relevant evaluation indicators, Shengmu High-Tech provides comfortable living environment and adequate nutrition for dairy cows, cares for the expressions of cows’ natural behaviours and tries to reduce cows’ diseases. For example, 24-hour feeding is practiced in Shengmu so that cows can eat whenever they want. The forages are organically certified. The drinking water is of the standard of residents’ drinking water. The drinking water pool is disinfected at least once a week, and is cleaned at least once a day.


Tim Brigstocke, Chairman, Great Britain Cattle Health & Welfare Group; Policy Director, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers 
Tim Brigstocke makes a report on “Working to Improve Welfare at a National Level: the UK’s Cattle Health and Welfare Group and Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy”. He says that the British cattle industry has fully recognized the importance of health and welfare. By raising the welfare level, we can improve the health of dairy cows. For example, the health of breasts can be improved. The incidence of mastitis per 100 cattle has dropped from 43% in 2013 to 31% in 2017. Dairy cow fertility has also been greatly improved.

Lu Yongqiang, Party Secretary and Deputy Director,Beijing General Station of Animal Husbandry
Lu Yongqiang makes a report on “Beijing Dairy Cattle: Eco-friendly Production and Animal Welfare Practice”. He says that the dairy industry in Beijing is very small, and the overall level is relatively high, because there is a lot of scientific and technological support from universities and research institutes, and more focus is given to ecological farming and welfare-friendly farming. Measures for improving cow welfare including setting up a cow body brush, a constant temperature water tank, using a robot to milk, providing a sports field, and spraying to relieve heat stress, etc. At high welfare levels, cows' stress is reduced and milk production is also increased.

Leisha Hewitt,Independent Animal Welfare Consultant, at the Invitation of RSPCA UK
Leisha Hewitt makes a report on “Improving Animal Welfare During the Stunning and Slaughter of Cattle”. She says that animals should be slaughtered without any pain or stress as much as possible. It means that we have to perform rapid stunning before slaughtering. There are generally three kinds of stunning, namely mechanical stunning, electric stunning and gas stunning. Most beef cattle are slaughtered through mechanical stunning. There are three important points, namely, animals, environment and stunning facilities and handling. It needs to be recognized that animal stunning is complex. Sufficient training and education for the handling staff is required. Besides, the convenience of the environment needs to be ensured.

Qu Xuxian, Researcher and Director of Shandong Province General Station of Animal Husbandry
Qu Xuxian makes a report on “Thoughts on Mutton Sheep Development in Agricultural Areas”. According to him, in Shandong Province, there are a lot of forage resources. There are a lot of species. The climate is pleasant. The development trend is good. Mutton production accounts for about 7% of the country. Cattle and sheep are ruminants, so that concentrated feeds should be reduced as much as possible. It’s also wasteful to feed ruminants on concentrated feeds. The local feed resources should be used as much as possible. Silage maize is the best choice in the farming area. In equipment and handling, we should also pay attention to animal welfare so as to improve health level and reduce the use of veterinary drugs. By improving animal welfare level, we can improve sheep health, the quality of mutton and promote brand-building.

Lesley Stubbings, Director of LSSC Ltd
Lesley Stubbings makes a report on “Combining Sheep Health and Welfare with Profitable Sheep Production”. She says that good animal welfare can help us make profits. There is no contradiction between making profits and protecting animals. High animal welfare can be equated with the introduction of new technologies and key technical indicators.

Guo Tianlong, Head of Animal Welfare Research Unit, Inner Mongolia Academy of Agricultural & Animal Husbandry Sciences
Guo Tianlong makes a report on “Research into Welfare Problems and Solutions to Hypothermic Stress in Extensively Reared Sheep”. According to him, cold stress is a major welfare issue in northern pastoral areas. There are four measures to solve the welfare problems caused by cold stress. First, we can help with improving facilities and equipment. Second, we breed cold stress resistant breeds, Urumqi sheep and Alatai sheep in Inner Mongolia, which can adapt to the local cold stress and desert environments. Third, we regulate the diet through the development of feed formulation and adjust the proportion of rough feeds. Fourth, we research and use suitable feed additives.
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