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Back to Research & Development

Animal welfare


MLA’s investment in animal welfare seeks to reduce livestock mortality and the impacts of pain and disease through good husbandry practices, diagnosis and treatment options.

These investments cover the research, development (R&D), adoption, engagement and communication activities leading to practice change and the continuous improvement of the welfare of Australian livestock.

The primary opportunities to further increase animal welfare in the red meat industry are in the areas of neonatal mortality, predation and husbandry practices.

Core activities

Current R&D investment areas include:

  • measuring public attitudes toward animal welfare and treatment
  • replacing aversive husbandry practices with painless methods (such as polledness, instead of dehorning; immunocontraception as a replacement for castration, flank spaying, webbing and the Willis spay technique)
  • relieving unavoidable aversive procedures through the use of pain relief
  • identifying and assessing objective measures of animal welfare
  • providing workers with education and skills to meet current welfare standards
  • supporting industry adoption of high-quality welfare systems and practices.

Benefits to industry

  • Improved husbandry practices and improved capacity to diagnose, prevent and treat disease increases animal welfare, individual animal and herd performance and reduces livestock morbidity and mortality.
  • Enhanced animal 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.