AssureWel ran a workshop ORC conference 2011 to consult delegates on a) which outcome measures were considered necessary to assess dairy welfare and b) how to use welfare outcome assessment to promote actions to improve welfare where necessary. Delegates identified that: the relationship between the assessor and farmer; assessor knowledge; and training to encourage uptake of the approach as a routine management tool are key to promote welfare improvement. Key measures highlighted include response to stockperson, dirtiness, broken tails, body condition, heifer survivability and cull and casualty cows, and mobility as an individual and herd management measure.
Over the past year, AssureWel has been working closely with Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) Dairy Scheme to pilot and finalise across scheme protocols. In summer 2012, Soil Association and RSPCA have trained and embedded the approach within their scheme assessments. Two forums (May and October, 2012) were held to consult and engage with industry stakeholders to ensure a joined up strategy and roll out of the approach led by DairyCo, and this work is on-going. This workshop will update delegates on progress and plans for the approach going forward. It also includes a discussion and feedback session with a Soil Association licensee who has recently undergone an assessment at annual inspection; demonstrating the on farm benefits that this approach offers in providing immediate animal focussed feedback, discussion and support where necessary.