Theme: Animal welfare
Priority: Animal husbandry techniques
Producer: Howard Smith
Location: Central Highlands, Queensland
"The business overall benefits, because good animal welfare and good production go hand in hand."
“I am passionate about promoting pain relief in the industry,” said Howard Smith, beef producer and past president of the Cattle Council of Australia.
“There’s no downside – it’s a win for animals, for farm businesses and for industry.”
Howard is a strong advocate for Tri-Solfen – a pain-relief and wound-healing treatment suitable for use in routine animal husbandry procedures.
In partnership with his three brothers, Howard runs about 6000 Brahman cross cattle and Angus over four properties near Rolleston in Queensland’s central highlands.The farm business began using Tri-Solfen in mid-2018 for disbudding and dehorning, when it was approved by Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for this purpose. They also routinely use it in castration, and have treated around 2000 animals with the product so far.
“We recognised a significant difference in the animals’ behaviour as soon as we started using it,” said Howard.
“The calves were a lot calmer and went back to their mothers immediately after the procedures – a sign of reduced stress.
“There was also much less blood loss, which is good for both the animals and the handlers.
“And the business overall benefits, because good animal welfare and good production go hand in hand. The cost is not prohibitive, and the advantages far outweigh the costs.”
Given his former representative role, Howard is well aware of the need to ensure that animal welfare is a priority for the industry.
“Using pain relief also provides insurance for the industry,” he said.
“We need to be constantly improving our animal welfare performance to meet community expectations. Industry needs to take advantage of new tools and products which support this.”
The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle state that castration, dehorning and spaying are done only when necessary and in a manner that minimises the risk to the welfare of cattle, particularly pain and distress (objective 6).
“When we have products readily available that help us meet this objective, there’s really no reason not to use them. Ignorance is not an excuse anymore.”
Human trails of Tri-Solfen have recently begun in the UK.
“That just shows how effective it is,” said Howard. “Bring it on.”
Categories: Animal welfare