Last Thursday (8th March) our 2018 Animal Health and Welfare Day saw the best turnout yet. The day, which we jointly hosted with the University of Bristol Veterinary School is an annual event which brings together academics, researchers, NGOs, major retailers, journalists and industry partners across the food sector. The theme of the day was all about how the industry, in general, can progress animal welfare.
Cross-species and wide-ranging agenda
Topics across the day included: the future of free farrowing for sows, Brexit and the welfare of animals used in farming, updates on two Winterbotham Darby research projects related to pain relief for pigs and housing conditions and also a presentation on boar taint. Speakers from the Bristol Vet school also presented research on keel bones fractures in laying hens, antimicrobial resistance, also known as AMR, and electrical stunning for humane and Halal-compliant slaughter of cattle. The day ended with an interesting and thought-provoking debate on higher welfare and the business case for action. On Friday delegates got the chance to look round the pig and poultry facilities and tour the abbatoir.
David Houghton, Technical Director for Winterbotham Darby said:
“We are so pleased to host this event in conjunction with the University of Bristol. Each year we see our delegate list grow – a testament to the fact that this is the only event of its kind. We want this event to be a facilitator of change and to motivate; we want to raise the profile of the challenges and solutions that we need to face into when it comes to animal welfare. Whilst it is a complex issue we have been committed to improving animal welfare since 2000 and are keen to take our industry partners on this journey too.”
Becky Wray, Professor of Animal Welfare and Behaviour at Bristol’s Vet School, said:
“It is increasingly clear that consumers are wanting assurances that their food has been farmed with the welfare of the animal being of paramount importance. However, the supply chain is complex and while farm methods are much better, there is still a need to improve them across Europe.”