Animal Welfare Approved

Science and Research

 

The information in this section allows Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) to share the assessment and reasoning that lies behind our standards. This is very much the beginning of the journey and this section will be constantly reviewed and updated. We hope the information will help those with an interest in the program to have a greater understanding of our standards.

We have broken the information down into the following categories:

Technical Papers – In depth, referenced information that gives background and justification for the standards as well as best practice for farmers

Information Sheets – List of approved products, instruction/guidance for farmers on non-technical issues

Briefing Papers – Still some technical information but designed to comment on issues of the day and set the scene for “big picture” issues

Technical Advice Fact Sheets (TAFS) *

  • TAFS1–Welfare and Belgian Blue Cattle 9-22-2009
    This technical paper provides advice on Belgian Blue cattle. It examines the breed, the phenomenon of double muscling, and the welfare implications to the animal and concludes that the pure bred Belgian Blue has no place in beef production systems that aspire to attain good welfare.
  • TAFS2–Management to Avoid Tail Docking Sheep 9-22-2009
    This technical paper provides basic advice and key management techniques to minimize the risk of fly strike without having to tail dock lambs. Key topics include the pros and cons of tail docking, minimizing soiling, insecticide use and general management
  • TAFS3–Urinary Calculi in Goats 9-22-2009
    This technical paper provides advice on urinary calculi in goats. This technical paper outlines best practice advice on minimizing the risk of this disease through diet and other management practices to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS4–Reducing the Risk of Internal Parasites 10-26-2009
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with basic advice and key management techniques to reduce the risk of internal parasites. Key topics include the life cycle of parasitic worms, pasture management techniques and livestock management.
  • TAFS5–Injurious Feather Pecking in Laying Hens 10-26-2009
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on injurious feather pecking in laying hens. Possible causes of feather pecking are examined, together with extensive practical advice on methods to prevent this serious welfare issue in poultry.
  • TAFS6–Range Management in Poultry 10-26-2009
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on range management for poultry. Information is provided on the welfare and other benefits associated with increased ranging behaviour in poultry, as well practical advice on ways to encourage birds to make better use of the range.
  • TAFS7–Foot Pad Dermatitis in Poultry 10-26-2009
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on foot pad dermatitis in poultry.
  • TAFS8 – Mortality in Poultry 3-21-2011
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on minimizing mortality in poultry. The paper looks at ways to prevent mortality problems during the brooding phase, as well as out on the range.
  • TAFS9–Castration of Cattle 10-26-2009
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on the castration of cattle. Modern research shows that certain methods of castration, castration without anaesthetic, and castration beyond a certain age, can impact animal welfare. This technical paper outlines best practice advice on castration to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS10 -  Castration of Sheep 3-21-2011
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on the castration of sheep. Modern research shows that certain methods of castration, castration without anaesthetic, and castration beyond a certain age, can impact on animal welfare. This technical paper outlines best practice advice on castration to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS11–Horns and Thermoregulation 10-15-2010
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with information about horned cattle and thermoregulation. Key topics include the facts about horn structure and whether cattle horns are involved in cattle temperature regulation.
  • TAFS 12–Soil Testing 11-1-2010
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with information about soil testing. Key topics include the reasons for soil testing, the benefits of soil testing and best practice for pasture production.
  • TAFS 13 – The Prolific Hen 3-9-2011
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with information about prolific hens. Key topics include egg production numbers, health problems arising from high numbers of eggs per cycle and information on suitable and unsuitable birds for the AWA program.
  • TAFS 14–Farm Health Plans: A Practical Guide 12-13-2010
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on the creating a dedicated farm health plan. Introducing a farm health plan – and keeping it up to date – can help prevent health problems in livestock and significantly improve overall farm performance.
  • TAFS 15–Record Keeping 12-13-2010
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with advice on record keeping. This technical paper explains how record keeping can benefit your business, what records are required by the program, what actually constitutes a ‘record’, and just how easily you can incorporate record keeping into your daily routine.
  • TAFS 16 – Nose Ringing Pigs 1-6-2012
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the Animal Welfare Approved program with information about nose ringing pigs. Key topics include understanding the welfare implications of nose ringing and management options as an alternative to nose ringing pigs.
  • TAFS 17 – Age of Weaning Lambs 11-7-2011
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the AWA program with information about the age of weaning lambs. Key topics include the impact of different weaning ages on the welfare of ewes and lambs, the importance of good nutrition during lactation, and the impact of weaning age on lamb growth and productivity.
  • TAFS 18 – Why Pre-Slaughter Stunning is Important 1-6-2012
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the Animal Welfare Approved program with information about the pre-slaughter stunning. Key topics include minimizing pain and stress at slaughter, evidence of pain at the bleed cut and the time to loss of consciousness without prior stunning, and what happens when an animal is stunned.
  • TAFS 19 – Avoiding the Need to Teeth Clip Piglets 4-20-2012
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the Animal Welfare Approved program with information about teeth clipping piglets. Key topics include why teeth clipping is carried out, problems with teeth clipping, and management of the sow and litter to avoid teeth clipping.
  • TAFS 20 – Pre-Slaughter Stunning – Why it is Important for Poultry 10-31-2012
    This technical paper provides farmers who are participating in the Animal Welfare Approved program with information about pre-slaughter stunning of poultry. Key topics include minimizing pain and stress at slaughter, evidence of pain and the time to loss of consciousness without prior stunning, and what happens when an animal is stunned.

Information Sheets *

  • Guidelines for Farms that Host Open Days 9-24-2013Allowing people access to farms is an important part of working with your local community – and your potential customers. It provides visitors with a real insight into practical farming and gives you the opportunity to show off your farm, your livestock, and the high welfare food you produce.Farm visits provide an important opportunity to educate members of the public about farming, many of whom may have no idea where their food comes from or how it is produced. But as well as being informative and enjoyable, every farm visit should also be a safe experience. To ensure everyone has a great day out – and to guarantee the wellbeing of your visitors and your livestock – it is important to be aware of a number of key health and safety issues.

Briefing Papers *

  • Comments on Holt white paper on range access for hens 1-13-2012
    This briefing paper provides a critique of a recent “white paper” written by Dr. Peter Holt, published on December 5, 2011 in Feedstuffs: The weekly newsletter for agribusiness. In the paper, Dr. Holt claims that the welfare benefits of free range poultry systems are primarily based on welfare perception, rather than on actual scientific welfare facts. By examining the limitations of the scientific research upon which he bases his argument, and by presenting a range of alternative and more recent research, Dr. Holt’s conclusions are robustly challenged.
  • Comments on Glasgow research on antimicrobial resistance 2-1-2012
    A recent research paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal sought to compare the development of antibiotic resistance in animals and people in Scotland in a major strain of salmonella. As a result, several agricultural industry websites and magazines used the research to argue that antibiotic resistance does not result from the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Animal Welfare Approved sought expert advice on the paper and subsequently uncovered numerous weaknesses in the analysis used, questioning the controversial conclusions that the researchers reached.
  • Trichinella and Pastured Pigs 7-10-2012
    A number of reports and articles state that eating meat from pastured pigs gives you a greater chance of contracting the parasitic disease, trichinellosis. This briefing paper gives details of the disease, its source and transmission, and examines results from the national trichinellosis surveillance system and various research papers. A review of current research concludes that the risk of contracting trichinella from eating pork from well-managed pastured systems is no greater than from indoor pork.