For many years, we have worked with our farmers and ranchers to identify practical ways to reduce the stress and sometimes pain that beef cattle and dairy cows experience after routine husbandry practices such as castration. Previously, there were no medications available to farmers which could be easily used in the field, or that provided effective pain control to the animals.
In June of 2011, we initiated the review and revision process of our beef cattle, dairy cattle and young dairy beef standards with a week-long meeting of dairy and beef science members of our Scientific Committee (you can see a complete listing of the members here). The focus of the meeting was to review and evaluate the farm animal welfare research that had been done since the last revision of the standards, and to incorporate the new findings into the standards. When we learned of new, safer and easier to administer methods of providing animals with the needed analgesia, it was important to integrate them into the HFAC standards.
There is now an effective painkiller that can be easily administered by a farmer during routine handling, and that provides relief to the animal from the pain of procedures such as castration. Due to this new finding, HFAC standards now require cattle to receive pain control when undergoing painful procedures.
The revised standards, which became effective January 15, 2012 are the end product of that review and revision process. The revised standards require that cattle must receive pain control when undergoing painful husbandry procedures
HFAC is the only national animal welfare organization to make pain control a key component of farm animal welfare certification standards. We have been working to educate farmers and ranchers on how to implement the new standards and meet the requirements for providing pain control. Our commitment is to maintain the nation’s strongest farm animal welfare standards, and the introduction of new pain control requirements illustrates that fact.
Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and a member of the HFAC Board of Directors, notes that “once again, Certified Humane® is tackling the big issues and helping to redefine what it means to promote animal welfare, especially the humane treatment of farm animals.”
The revised standards also clarify the importance of maintaining safe and humane conditions in the transportation of animals, and prohibit the use of genetically modified or cloned animals. Additionally, the standards now include a series of scientific appendices that provide critical information to farms on topics such as temperature/humidity indexes, methods of weaning, lameness scoring for dairy cows, and body condition scoring.