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Animal welfare focus of ASAP Conference in Adelaide

January 1, 2016

Animal welfare means different things to different people.

For some it encapsulates a value system which includes a raft of other ‘values’ which often bundle together phrases such as organic, biodynamic, sustainable, chemical‐free, free‐range, and natural. For others ‘welfare’ is a vehicle to achieve a goal of imposing constraints or even bans on livestock production.

For producers it means providing the best possible life for their animals, reducing pain and suffering, maximising health and maintaining productivity. For scientists, animal welfare presents a complex challenge to identify ways of measuring ‘welfare’ which not only measures the absence of pain and suffering but also quantifies positive experiences such as ‘enjoyment’, and ‘happiness’. Not long ago such words were never used by scientists about animals!.

The Australian Society of Animal Production, an organisation representing all aspects of livestock production from paddock to plate, is holding a conference in Adelaide from July 4‐7 to bring together consumers, social scientists, producers, animal scientists, educators, communication specialists, researchers, and industry representatives to address these important issues.

Animal production is undergoing a global revolution unparalleled in history. A convergence of forces including unprecedented growing demand for animal protein, consumer demands for high animal welfare standards, increased pressure for higher quality animal products, and, of course, all at the lowest possible prices, conspire to make animal production an exciting industry in 2016 and beyond.

The conference keynote speaker is Professor Temple Grandin, an international superstar in animal welfare. Prof Grandin has pioneered animal handing systems worldwide and her unique story has been the subject of a Hollywood movie starring Claire Danes. Prof Grandin’s work has been a showcase of what can be achieved when animal scientists work with producers to implement better animal welfare practices. It is also a great opportunity for the next generation of animal producers and scientists to meet Prof Grandin and hear of her great work.

We have attracted a wide range of high‐quality speakers both nationally and internationally to address the issues facing animal production over the next 50 years. Unlike many conferences this is not just another ‘science’ conference; we are involving consumers, social commentators, industry representatives, educators, extension specialists, processors and producers. And we are bringing together people representing all major livestock species including poultry, pigs, sheep, dairy cattle,and beef cattle.

Adelaide is an ideal place to hold such a conference as our state has a strong focus on quality foodand wine. We have always led the way in plant research at the Waite Institute and Roseworthy Campus is now the nation’s leading animal science precinct.

Details: Registrations open later this month. Visit the conference website for more information at www.asap.asn.au/conference/