Dr David Beggs said the beef industry has a great story to tell and we should look after our animals in a way that makes us proud and tell everyone about it, in his address to the Western Victorian Angus Region annual dinner, in Warrnambool last week..
Dr Beggs has practiced as a Vet for nearly 30 years. He is a senior lecturer in Cattle Medicine at the University of Melbourne, Editor in Chief of the Australian Veterinary Journal and has a PhD in animal welfare and he spoke to the dinner about animal welfare and the ethics of farming in Victoria – the good, the bad and the ugly.
In an insightful and interesting presentation, he highlighted the need to differentiate between science and ethics when discussing animal welfare.
Dr Beggs said some of the key issues are:
The importance of animal welfare and perceptions of farming.
It’s important animals under our care have a life worth living and a humane death. Animal welfare is about how the animal feels, and that is a science. Animal ethics is how people feel about our use of animals and that is a system of personal or cultural beliefs.
People should be tolerant of other people’s beliefs.
We should be proud of our farming systems. He said the average beef farm owned by people at the dinner has cattle that are protected from disease, parasitism and are allowed to socialise outside.
He pointed out there is “way more biodiversity” on most western Victorian farms than on most cropping farms. Native animals can live safely and there are plantations for birds to nest.
By comparison he said if you look at a canola or soy crop, it flowers for one month of the year and then nothing for the next 11 months. No wonder the bees die.
The beef industry has a great story to tell. We should look after our animals in a way that makes us proud and tell everyone about it.