Dairy Cattle Welfare

Canadian dairy farmers pride themselves on a high standard of animal care and welfare, which also leads to improved production, health, growth and reproductive performance. Animal welfare is also an essential component in maintaining a social license to produce milk with consumers. Modern consumers have high expectations for how their food is raised and produced and also have considerable weight in influencing processors and food companies. In addition to providing assurances of welfare standards to producers through proAction, supporting research into cattle welfare is essential for developing science-based best management practices. The University of British Columbia has housed a world-renowned research program in dairy cattle welfare for nearly two decades, headed by Drs. Marina von Keyserlingk and Dan Weary. Alberta Milk continues to support their welfare program by contributing funds to their Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair positions.

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This month’s first research summary is an update on the NSERC IRC in dairy cattle welfare, including the research plan for the next 5 years. Our second research summary is on a recent project conducted at UBC looking at cow-calf separation and cow motivation to return to their calf.


Drs. von Keyserlingk and Weary have held the IRC in Dairy Cattle Welfare since 1997…

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Cow-calf separation is a hot topic for dairy cattle welfare…

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