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Animal health & welfare

Overview

MLA’s investments in animal health and welfare aim to reduce the impacts of animal disease, illness, injury and unavoidable pain through faster, cheaper and more accessible diagnoses, preventative measures and enhanced treatment options.  

Good animal health management contributes to improved biosecurity that benefits the wider community. MLA’s investment also responds to the community’s high and increasing expectations of the red meat industry regarding the way livestock are treated. 

The main opportunities to further increase animal health and welfare in Australian livestock relate to the management, reduction and treatment of endemic and exotic diseases, pests (parasites and invasive species), maintaining vigilant biosecurity practices to safeguard the future of the industry and pain management to mitigate the impact of husbandry procedures 

Further opportunities include creating, implementing and maintaining best practice guidelines for the management and husbandry of livestock to ensure the highest quality welfare standards of the industry.

Core activities 

Investment and development in projects related to: 

Benefits to industry 

  • The maintenance of Australia’s freedom from exotic disease and the capacity to minimise the impact of endemic diseases is critical for increasing the health and welfare of livestock, sustaining industry productivity and preserving market access (domestic and international). 
  • Good health and welfare of livestock provide productivity advantages. The outcome of improved husbandry practices (refining/replacing aversive practices, relieving pain) and improved capacity to diagnose, prevent and treat disease contributes to an increase in individual animal and herd performance and a reduction of livestock mortality.  
  • Enhanced animal health and welfare management responds to community expectations about the way livestock are treated. Positive public perceptions of the red meat industry are driven through community confidence that the industry is continuously striving towards animal welfare improvements. 
  • Faster, cheaper and more accessible diagnosis for diseases, along with enhanced treatment options improve the health and welfare of Australia’s livestock. 
  • Preventative measures that rely less on chemicals and more on exploiting a host’s resilience and immunity improves the antimicrobial resistance of the red meat industry.