Build Your Box
Our Cow

The Our Cow Approach to Animal Welfare

Tuesday 21 May 2024
The Our Cow Approach to Animal Welfare

Focusing on animal welfare across the Australian Beef Industry

Animal wellbeing and welfare is a current area of focus across the Australian beef industry. It is acknowledged that large and extensive industrial properties can face practical challenges in ensuring and enforcing standards, particularly across areas such as preventing infectious disease spread amongst cattle, and transitioning from horned to polled (hornless) breeds of livestock. The latter is an important factor in the quality of life for animals, because those with horns are more likely to hurt themselves or other animals, which causes unnecessary pain to both animals and requires medical treatment that could otherwise be avoided.

What are the challenges?

The cost of implementing new practices for properties of scale are extensive, and therefore may be difficult for many to adopt. Despite this, as the recent 2022 Australian Beef Sustainability Report notes, the industry aspires to reach 100% use of pain relief for procedures such as dehorning, castration and spaying (procedures which cause considerable pain to the animal) in the coming years, which we completely agree with*.

While it is positive to see a 5% increase in the use of pain relief since 2021, with the current rate of pain relief usage for these procedures sitting at only 35% across Australia, there clearly needs to be greater and faster action implemented to help all farmers reach 100% in only eight years time.*

That's why, here at Our Cow, we only work with farmers who either already use pain relief for any and all animal treatments deemed necessary, or have implemented breeding techniques, such as polling (selective breeding to intentionally remove horns through genetics) that ensures their cattle have no need for treatments of any kind. In our opinion, pain relief for any procedures on animals should be a compulsory requirement for all farms.

We fully support the Industry’s goal of reaching 100% use of pain relief by 2030, however in order to reach this goal it must be made more affordable for farmers, involve compensation and be more easily accessible. Such changes are especially difficult and expensive for large-scale properties.

This is another great reason why we choose to work with smaller-scale farmers who are able, willing, and have already made changes to their practices that significantly improves their animal’s wellbeing and quality of life.

We guarantee the ethical treatment of our animals

Take farmer Adrian Spencer, for example, from Ironbark Herefords in Barraba NSW. Adrian is incredibly forward-thinking in the care of his Herefords and a huge part of this is his use of pain relief. Now a proud advocate within the industry, Adrian ensures his cattle are as well fed and cared for as possible. “We love our cattle and we fought for them during the drought…they are very important to us. Any cattleman that’s not looking after his cattle and not looking for new and better ways to do so is not in it for the right reasons”, says Adrian. We couldn’t agree more!

Access to shade is also extremely important for cattle, especially in the extreme temperatures we are all familiar with here in Australia. Just like people, animals pant, sweat and overheat, and need to be able to cool down to avoid dangerous heat stress. The 2022 Australian Beef Industry Annual Update notes that only 58.9% of feedlot cattle have access to shade*, a figure they clearly seek to improve, despite noting the significant expense erecting such large shade structures would necessitate for farmers.

At Our Cow, all animals are free range in open paddocks, with abundant natural trees and native forests for shade and plenty of water to drink and cool off in. Our Cow cattle are never confined to small spaces or packed in together, hence achieving a healthy, stress free and natural environment. Additionally, unlike high protein diets typically used in feedlots that increase the core body temperature of livestock, all Our Cow cattle are grass-fed, further ensuring their optimal health and wellbeing.

For example, Our Cow Cattle Farmers and Founders Dave & Bianca often find their cattle wallowing in the dam during a hot day or finding a shady tree to lay under while chewing their cud. Whilst this seems pretty basic, for many animals in Australia it is sadly considered a luxury that not all animals have access to.

As Bianca describes, “We really believe that because of their living environment, the low stress and ability to just be themselves, our meat tastes so much better, and it’s just the right thing to do. Our animals deserve respect, and we give it to them”.

Finally, at Our Cow we even go above and beyond in considering how our cattle are transported to minimise as much stress as possible. We work with our individual farmers to ensure abattoirs are as close to their farms as possible, to intentionally limit transport time for the animals and therefore reduce stress. Investigating each individual abattoir takes some time, but we feel that it’s time well spent.

Clearly animal welfare is a priority for us at Our Cow, and for each and every one of our individual farming families. We are so proud to only work with farmers who share our mission and philosophy in caring for our animals, and we truly believe that everything we do makes a difference to the quality of life for every single one. Living a natural, stress-free and healthy life is a key factor in producing exceptional quality meat, and that’s yet another reason why Our Cow meat really is ‘a cut above the rest’.

Directly support our hardworking Aussie Farmers today by building your box with your favourite meat cuts.

*Australian Beef Sustainability Framework Annual Update 2022

© Our Cow 2024. All rights reservedLiquor Licence LIQP770017832Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy