GERMANY, Krefeld. Questions on ethics in farm animal husbandry are attracting more and more attention in the social discussion and are having an influence on production, which is why this topic was the focus of the third Sunday Talk of the Initiative Dialog Milch.
According to Prof. Peter Kunzmann from the Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Ethology (ITTN) at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover(TiHo
), compliance with the five freedoms is a basic requirement for animal husbandry. "This principle includes freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, from discomfort, from pain, injury and disease, from fear and suffering, as well as the freedom to act out normal behaviour," explained the habilitated philosopher.
Dr Kirsten Kemmerling, a lecturer in the staff unit for farm animal strategy at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture
and a dairy farmer, made it clear that what is good from the point of view of humans does not necessarily have to be good for animals. She pointed to the different temperature sensations as an example. "We humans are happy to be outside at 25°C and enjoy the weather. But the cow feels more comfortable at 7°C degrees and goes into the shady barn under the fan at 25°C," the dairy cow farmer said. She also said her experience of the contentious issue of separating cow and calf early tended to be positive. "We often observe that the animals react very positively when the calves go to the 'nursery group' after their time with the cow in the calving pen and the cows can rejoin the herd," Kemmerling reported.
Kunzmann also pointed out that "what is a disaster from a human point of view can be completely different for the animal". With regard to the often criticised "turbo cows", Kemmerling pointed out that these were generally kept differently to animals with lower performance. Such high herd performances are only possible if optimal husbandry and care of the entire herd is guaranteed. Both speakers emphasised that the proposals of the Borchert Commission went in the right direction. The ethics of farm animal husbandry must extend to the supermarket, they said, and society as a whole must support this and compensate the financial outlay of livestock farmers for even greater animal welfare.
Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE