FARM Animal Care Task Forces

Locomotion | 2018 - Ongoing

The Locomotion taskforce was a joint effort from the National Milk Producers Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the North American Meat Institute. The goal of this task force was to explore the possibility of  a uniform locomotion scoring system for consistency across all three organizations’ quality assurance programs and for both beef and dairy cattle.

The taskforce identified two key opportunities:

  • Developing consistency of the locomotion scoring systems used across sectors
  • Improving awareness, identification, and communication about fitness for transport across the cattle industry

The taskforce sees value in maintaining aspects of the sector-specific needs, namely the parameters or aspects of locomotion that are evaluated within each sector. However, the cattle industry would benefit from some common language describing locomotion.  A consistent locomotion scoring system will provide an opportunity for the cattle industry to address one aspect of fitness for transport with a unified voice, given that decision makers span sectors.

Ultimately, the task force recommended a four-point system with 1 being the most sound animals and 3/4 scoring animals being unfit for transport.

Tie Stall | 2017-2018

The Tie Stall taskforce goal was to identify primary areas of customer concern and any animal care issues related to tie stall facilities and then formulate best management practice recommendations for tie stall facilities that are outcomes based on current science and industry recommendation. The task force was made up of farmers who own tie-stall facilities, dairy veterinarians, academics, and FARM participating organization representatives. A situation analysis was been produced. Based upon this analysis, the task force recommended the following:
  1. Utilizing the outcomes based measures, particularly locomotion, lameness, hock and knee scores, hygiene and other body injuries to determine if facilities are designed in accordance to:
  2. Information collection through FARM Animal Care Evaluation, keeping areas outcomes-based and facility neutral, to gather data on the primary housing type for each age classes and determining if the dairy allows for adequate freedom of movement. By gathering this informational data, true correlations with facility type and outcomes based measures, along with status of what industry practices currently are can be achieved.
  3. There is significant need for additional research related to tie stall facilities and welfare indicators.
The Impact of Tie Stall Facilities on Dairy Welfare and the Broader Dairy Industry

Hygiene | 2017

The Hygiene taskforce goal was to assess the impact of hygiene on dairy cattle welfare. Scoring hygiene allows for the cleanliness of the lying, standing and walking areas to be determined. Based upon this goal, the taskforce aimed to develop a scoring system that would allow for evaluators to better and more accurately assess hygiene.

The Hygiene taskforce proposed a three-point scoring system, for simplicity and consistency of scoring, comparatively to the current four-point scoring system.

Both sides of the animal will be scored, with the highest sides’ score being assigned as the final score. The area being assessed will be from the bottom of the hock and knee up to the belly/flank area and the entire rump/back leg area from the top of the tailhead down. Outlined definitions and multiple photographic examples for each score will be provided for training of evaluators.