15 June 2021

Abstract: A scan of animal-related news any given week showcases some inspiring initiatives by Australian agriculture organisations and individual farmers. Here are some recent highlights.

Australia’s agriculture industry continues to display innovation when it comes to improved animal welfare and business returns. Here’s a wrap up of just a few stories that caught our eye since the last edition of Livestock Welfare Matters.

The Western Australian Lot Feeders' Association (WALFA) has re-ignited conversation about a national push to see shade in all feedlots by 2026.

The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) shade for feedlot cattle initiative headlined WALFA’s Better Beef '21 event, held in the South West last month.

ALFA claims 60 per cent of industry feedlot capacity already has shade in place. You can read the full story in Farm Weekly.

Around 23 million day-old male chicks are culled every year in Australia, simply because they are male and therefore can’t lay eggs. A new technology developed by Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, allows early identification and removal of males before any cells start to form recognisable structures inside the egg. This means that any potential to cause stress to either a hatched or unhatched male chick is eliminated. 

With only female chicks hatching (rather than both male and female), it makes sense commercially too, because there’s no longer a need to incubate and hatch double the number of eggs needed to meet the demand for egg-laying hens.

CSIRO’s work in this field was discussed on the RSPCA’s Humane Food podcast. You can listen to the podcast episode here or read more about the issue here.

From planting trees for much-needed shade to installing concrete laneways for her cows to walk on to prevent injury from the very rocky ground, a New South Wales dairy farmer says she and her husband are reaping the productivity and profitability benefits of putting animal welfare at the top of their priority list.

You can read more about this former Young Farmer of the Year recipient in this story published on the Australian Farmers website.