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Animal Welfare Specialist Calls for Outcome Based Animal Welfare Audits

by 5m Editor
23 April 2007, at 11:50am

CANADA - A Colorado State University animal science professor is calling for outcome based animal welfare audits that focus on improving conditions for the animals, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Internationally renowned animal welfare specialist Dr. Temple Grandin was on hand Friday evening in Winnipeg for a Manitoba Farm Animal Council and National Centre for Livestock and the Environment fund raiser.

She says, when it comes to animal welfare audits, record keeping is certainly important but what goes on inside the barns and the packing plants is where the priority needs to be.

Dr. Temple Grandin-Colorado State University

There's a tendency on a lot of auditing things for both animal welfare and food safety and maybe environmental management and other things to just look at paperwork.

I want to get away from paperwork.

I want to look at things I can directly observe.

I can directly observe ammonia levels, I can directly observe skinny animals, I can directly observe dirty animals.

Those are things that I can look at and they're also things that people can't hide from me.

Let's say I got a high electric prod score or I've got a very high squealing score.

Is it caused by the pigs balking and backing up and refusing to go in?

I've got a facility problem or is it caused by a lack of training?

Now I can measure how many pigs back up and turn back and I've got a lot of pigs backing up and turning back, that makes good handling absolutely impossible.

I can also track is my handling improving or is my handling getting worse?

Let's look at loading trucks, I can measure electric prod use, measure pigs falling down.

That's a really good score.

I want to look at things I can directly observe.

There's too many audits turning into paperwork audits and sit up in the office and go over all of this paperwork but I want to look at stuff they can't hide from me, skinny pigs, lame pigs, pigs with sores on them, dirty filthy pigs, high ammonia levels, things that are directly observable.


Dr. Grandin stresses record keeping is important and, in a well designed audit you want to have points off for not having record keeping but, on the core criteria like too many lame or skinny sows, you need to take off enough points that they fail.

5m Editor