New preliminary study aims to prevent bull calf euthanasia

Animal Health

Almost 1.5 million dairy calves are bred annually in the UK. But there are significant problems that are challenging to overcome. Approximately 60,000 dairy bull calves have no market and are at risk of euthanasia.

The goal of Ruminant Health & Welfare’s (RH&W's) small-scale preliminary study in South Wales is to connect solutions into a long-term, and lucrative system.

“Approximately 60,000 dairy bull calves have no market and are at risk of euthanasia.“

Gwyn Jones, vice chairperson of RH&W explains the focus will now be on “cows which are a minimum 470kg yet still profitable for milk solids production. We also need to ensure calf genetics are suited to the rearing system and end market, and sexed semen is used strategically so calves can be reared efficiently and profitably.”

The supply chain is another factor that must be looked at for the breeding and upbringing of calves. “As part of this we need high quality rearing and stockman ship, and there’s scope to reduce mortality and morbidity across the industry in the first 12 weeks.”

“The UK dairy industry prides itself on being a pioneer in dairy cattle welfare. It is a top priority for the sector, and it is important to the public as well. We know this project on sustainable dairy bull calves will offer wide-reaching opportunities to improve reputation as well as profitability.”

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