Output Tool Technical Report 2
Jingwei Ke, Pexels

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Assessing animal welfare in New Zealand pastoral farms

September 2021

This report outlines how to assess the impact of regenerative farming on the welfare of animals raised for production.

The possible effect of diverse pastures on the nutrition of grazing animals is one of five domains recommended for assessing animal welfare in New Zealand pastoral farms: good nutrition, good environment, good health, appropriate behaviour, and opportunities for positive mental experiences. The report outlines how each domain could be measured by farmers and communities, as well as by academic-driven research and through collaboration.

“Increasing the diversity of plants in pastures affects animal production, environment and welfare, depending on the function of the plant species,” says Professor Pablo Gregorini, lead author of the report.

Animal welfare is a complicated and emotive subject, says Professor Gregorini, and whether we know it or not, we all value animal welfare. “What animals experience, how they perform and whether they are being treated with respect are important both to them and to us,” he says. “Regenerative agriculture is a holistic approach to modern farming that encompasses far more than simply ensuring that enough dry matter and crude protein are available for an animal to consume.”

Regenerative agriculture represents a holistic approach to farming which encompasses animal welfare as a core pillar. As a result, it is appropriate to set aside the ‘Five Freedoms’ model and embrace the more modern and widely accepted ‘Five Domains’ model for considering animal welfare, argues the report.

Contract Report: LC3954-11

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