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Strategies to minimise the impact of climate change and weather variability on the welfare of dairy cattle in New Zealand and Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-19, 02:37 authored by Jenny Jago, Pierre Beukes, Emma Cuttance, Dawn Dalley, Paul Edwards, Wendy Griffiths, Katie Saunders, Liz Shackleton, Karin SchutzKarin Schutz

This perspective paper provides industry leaders, researchers and policy developers strategic approaches to ensure that the welfare of dairy cattle is protected at the same time as the industry increases its resilience to climate change. Farm systems and practices will evolve in response to the direct impacts of climate change and/or from responses to climate change, such as mitigation strategies to reduce dairy’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The five domains framework (nutrition, physical environment, health, behaviour, mental state) was used to assess the potential impacts on animal welfare and strategies to minimise these impacts are outlined. Given that the future climate cannot be certain these approaches can be applied under a range of emissions pathways to (1) ensure that the effects of GHG mitigations on animal welfare are considered during their development, (2) engage with end users and the public to ensure solutions to the effects of climate change and weather variability are accepted by consumers and communities, (3) identify and measure the areas where improved animal health can contribute to reducing GHG emissions from dairy production, (4) ensure those supporting farmers to develop and manage their farm systems understand what constitutes a good quality of life for dairy cattle, (5) ensure effective surveillance of animal disease and monitoring of welfare outcomes and farm-system performance in response to climate change and GHG mitigations. Overall, these strategies require a multi-disciplinary co-development approach to ensure that the welfare of dairy cattle is protected at the same time as the industry increases its resilience to the wider impacts of a changing climate.


AgResearch Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) funding for Animal Welfare


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© 2023 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing

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  • Non revenue


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title

Animal Production Science



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