Animal Welfare And Productive Farming

Animal welfare in Dairy Farming is described as the general health and physiological animal function parameters being in good order. For example a lactating dairy cow may exhibit normal respiratory rates normal heart rate and temperature.  In scientific quantifiable terms, this animal is therefore doing well.

However the affective state of the animal is being overlooked in this scenario. For example – is this animal comfortable or is it hungry and is it stress free? Is it able to exhibit it´s normal behaviour and has joy in living?

Improving Productive Dairy Farming

fleckvieh dairy cow and animal welfare

These other variables have a huge impact on the animal´s health and production as we all know. Every dairy farmer these days talks about cow comfort. Every consumer talks about cow comfort and fair treatment of production animals. I see more and more awareness of animal welfare and how it relates to productive farming practices.

More often than not, there is room for improvement in a production animal such as the lactating dairy cow. for example – a cow will hide pain by instinct. The reason is that if she shows pain in nature, she will be victim of a prey animal.

Therefore as self preservation mechanism, they do not show pain. Not until it is absolutely unavoidable because of the severity.

Then the cow requires medical attention – treatment of a foot abscess for example. Her production will have dropped, she now needs investment of time, effort and money to regain soundness and the desired milk production levels.


As a veterinarian, I have seen treatments done successfully and also unsuccessfully. Often times I wished that this kind of pain could be avoided because it only causes pain and suffering.

Is there a simple answer to this multifactorial issue? One that is tied to so many different perceptions and opinions? I believe not.

However, I believe firmly that with using Fleckvieh genetics (, one can make significant strides in improving general strength, health and well being. All the while the milk production is still maintained.