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FrieslandCampina Emphasises on Animal Health, Welfare

15 October 2018

NETHERLANDS - A wholesome dairy farm stands or falls with healthy animals. Cows that are taken care of properly live longer, require less medication and produce more sustainably. The improvement of animal health and welfare is an important and ongoing aspect of FrieslandCampina's sustainability program, the company reports.

Objectives

The company's main goal of continuously improving animal health and welfare is supported by two sub-objectives:

  1. Prolonging the average lifespan of a cow by 6 months compared to the year 2011 (5 years, 8 months and 11 days),
  2. Responsible use of antibiotics: maintaining the current standard of low usage and applying antibiotics only if there’s no other option.

The company says: "Our objectives have been translated into reality at the farm. Through our quality and sustainability program Foqus Planet, basic requirements are being set and dairy farmers are encouraged to keep improving the animal health and welfare at their farms.

"These basic requirements include the well-being and housing of the cow, and the responsible use of veterinary medicines. Furthermore, dairy farmers are encouraged to improve animal healthcare with regards to topics such as udder health, calf breeding and prolonging lifespan."

Care for cows

FrieslandCampina has observed that healthy cows tend to produce milk of a superior quality. This explains why dairy farmers ensure that their cows are well taken care of. Everyday, they register and monitor the health and welfare of their cows.

According to the company, every dairy farmer works closely with an Assured Vet. Preventative use of antibiotics is prohibited, so cows are medicated with antibiotics when they fall ill. The cows are housed at temperatures between -5°C and 18°C. Should the temperature rise above 21°C, more efforts need to be made to ensure that the cow is being maintained at a cool body temperature.

Heat stress can arise at very high temperatures. The dairy farmer helps the cow by ensuring that its living environment is as optimal as possible. For instance, the barn must suit the needs of the cow or the cows must be let out to graze during the night.

Comfort of the cow

When cows are not out in the meadow, they are in their sheds. When indoors, cows must have:

  • Unlimited access to water,
  • Personal food plans,
  • Freedom to move,
  • Soft lying areas, and 
  • Comfort enhancers, such as cow brushes.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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