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THE farm animal veterinarian is ‘the pivotal link to continual improvements in farm animal health and welfare’ and second only to the stockperson in ensuring the humane treatment of farm animals in Great Britain, says a recent report by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC).
Its ‘Report on Farm Animal Welfare: Health and Disease’ discusses the impact of physical and mental disease on farm animal welfare and some of the critical issues in farm animal disease and welfare, such as responsibility and cost sharing, public and private surveillance, resistance to antibiotics and anthelmintics, breeding for disease resistance and what it describes as ‘the veterinarian's trilemma’ – a duty to the animal, the client and the business.
Writing in a foreword to the report, Christopher Wathes, chairman of the FAWC, notes that there is a considerable body of scientific evidence that farm animals are sentient and can suffer. ‘Therefore, the effects of disease on mental wellbeing, eg, fear, distress, anxiety, do affect their welfare,’ he says. ‘By focusing on the direct impact of disease, and understanding the interactions (positive and negative) between physical and mental health, the report seeks to highlight the potential to reduce individual animal suffering.’
The report covers the main species of farm animal – cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs – but the …
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