Opportunities to monitor animal welfare using the five freedoms with precision livestock management on rangelands

Colin T. Tobin, Derek W. Bailey, Mitchell B. Stephenson, Mark G. Trotter, Colt W. Knight, Akasha M. Faist

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Advances in technology have led to precision livestock management, a developing research field. Precision livestock management has potential to improve sustainable meat production through continuous, real-time tracking which can help livestock managers remotely monitor and enhance animal welfare in extensive rangeland systems. The combination of global positioning systems (GPS) and accessible data transmission gives livestock managers the ability to locate animals in arduous weather, track animal patterns throughout the grazing season, and improve handling practices. Accelerometers fitted to ear tags or collars have the potential to identify behavioral changes through variation in the intensity of movement that can occur during grazing, the onset of disease, parturition or responses to other environmental and management stressors. The ability to remotely detect disease, parturition, or effects of stress, combined with appropriate algorithms and data analysis, can be used to notify livestock managers and expedite response times to bolster animal welfare and productivity. The “Five Freedoms” were developed to help guide the evaluation and impact of management practices on animal welfare. These freedoms and welfare concerns differ between intensive (i.e., feed lot) and extensive (i.e., rangeland) systems. The provisions of the Five Freedoms can be used as a conceptual framework to demonstrate how precision livestock management can be used to improve the welfare of livestock grazing on extensive rangeland systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number928514
JournalFrontiers in Animal Science
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • GPS tracking
  • accelerometer
  • animal well-being
  • disease
  • five freedoms
  • grazing livestock

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