How the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations support sustainability
Animal welfare and sustainability are two of the hottest topics within farming. Like every farm, animal welfare is at the top of your priority list. But how do sustainability and animal welfare relate? The two have to go hand-in-hand.
This article looks at the key principles of the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations and how they can support the greater sustainability movement within agriculture.
What is the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations?
The Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations applies only to England and came into force in 2007. As an update to the 2000 regulations, the 2007 version offers extra protection for farm animals on top of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
There are several in-depth requirements within the regulations, but the general duties broadly cover:
Animals should always receive adequate food and be supplied with fresh water.
For animals not kept inside, there should be adequate protection from the weather, predators and other health risks.
Movement shouldn’t be restricted in a way that can cause suffering or injury.
Staff should be adequately trained to look after the animals.
Regular inspections should be carried out to ensure the well-being of animals.
Records should be kept of all animals and their medical treatments.
Equipment should be inspected and managed to ensure it’s safe for use on animals.
There are requirements around breeding.
Electrical immobilisation is banned.
How do the regulations support sustainability?
As sustainability increasingly becomes a focal point for the agricultural sector, how can the Welfare of Farmed Animal Regulations help you achieve sustainability on your farm?
The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) published advice after they believed that, in some cases, animal welfare was not being considered when addressing sustainability within farming.
“Agriculture cannot be considered sustainable if it is achieved at an unacceptable cost to animal welfare.” - Farm Animal Welfare Committee
So, how can the Welfare of Farmed Animal Regulations support greater sustainability for your farm?
A key focus of the regulations is around staffing and adequate training. Suppose the staff on your farm are dedicated to good stockmanship. In that case, they’ll know how to spot opportunities for greater sustainability and ensure the good health, welfare and productivity of your animals.
As animal welfare becomes a growing concern for the public, the perception of sustainability has started to include animal well-being. It can be argued that the health of animals is now just as crucial to overall sustainability as environmental impact is.
Finally, a requirement of the Welfare of Farmed Animal Regulations is animals should always have access to adequate feed and fresh water. This puts greater responsibility on farmers to ensure food is nutritious and water supplies are maintained, positively impacting sustainability.
Best practice for farmers
What should you start investing in and practising to ensure the best animal welfare and sustainability are achieved on your farm?
Start by always keeping animal welfare front and centre. Not only is it a legal requirement, but it’ll also have a secondary sustainability impact, keeping your farm profitable and environmentally focused.
Consider investing in the right technology to help track, analyse and manage your herd, animal wellbeing and farm sustainability. Whether it’s cow collars, farm management apps or robotic feeders, new technologies can help you achieve your productivity and sustainability goals.
Finally, invest in your farm infrastructure. Make sure your farmland is suitable for your animals, enhancing their wellbeing and the environment around you. Invest in the right farm buildings with the right equipment to help you ensure animal welfare, as well as consider sustainable initiatives at the same time.
See how Breedr can help
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