Abstracts: Male dairy calf welfare

Male dairy calf welfare is a key issue in the Canadian cattle industry. The welfare of male dairy calves can be explored through the aspects of health and biological functioning, affective states, and natural living.

Presently, the main welfare issues associated with the production of male dairy calves include morbidity and mortality, colostrum and feeding management, transportation, isolation, castration and disbudding, and euthanasia.

Opportunities to improve male dairy calf welfare include improving accepted industry practices, enhancing education and compliance with industry codes of practice, and increasing veterinarian involvement in on-farm animal welfare.

The benefits of improving male dairy calf welfare include maintenance of the cattle industry’s social license and improved producer mental health and occupational satisfaction. The main barriers to improving male dairy calf welfare are economics and cultural attitudes within the industry towards male dairy calves.

Lexie M Reed 1David L Renaud 1Trevor J DeVries 1

Can Vet J. 2022 Feb;63(2):187-193.

1Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (Reed, Renaud, DeVries), Department of Population Medicine (Reed, Renaud), Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph; Department of Animal Biosciences, Ontario Agricultural College (DeVries), University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1.

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