←Go back to RSPCA

RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase

Search:     Advanced search

RSPCA Policy B4 Farm animal husbandry and management

Article ID: 167
Last updated: 01 Nov, 2010
Revision: 1
Views: 12189
 4.1 RSPCA Australia believes that farm animal husbandry and management practices should provide for the behavioural, social and physiological needs of the individual animal and not cause unnecessary injury, suffering or distress.
 4.2 RSPCA Australia encourages the principle of planned herd or flock health management and encourages farmers and veterinarians to work together to prevent, monitor and respond to existing and emerging farm animal welfare concerns. 
 4.3 RSPCA Australia believes that those husbandry and management procedures that require an animal to be handled or restrained must take place in an appropriate location with facilities and equipment that do not cause injury, suffering or distress to the animal concerned. 
 4.4 Housing of farm animals  
  RSPCA Australia believes that housing systems for farm animals must be designed and operated in such a way to safeguard the health and welfare of the species concerned, from birth to slaughter, while at the same time providing freedom of movement and satisfying the animal’s behavioural, social and physiological needs. 
 4.5 Identification of farm animals 
 4.5.1 RSPCA Australia supports the identification of farm animals for on-farm management and to enable tracking from birth to slaughter.
  • The preferred method is by eartag, microchip or other electronic methods which cause minimal pain or suffering.
  • Tattooing, branding or tagging must be carried out humanely and according to best practice.
  • Where branding is mandatory or considered necessary, freeze branding should be used. The branding site must be chosen to avoid sensitive areas such as the cheek.
 4.5.2 The RSPCA believes that hot iron (fire) branding and ear mutilation (notching/cutting) are unacceptable means of identification.
 4.6 Invasive animal husbandry procedures
 4.6.1 RSPCA Australia is opposed to any invasive animal husbandry procedure for which there is no established need, which only benefit the human handler of the animals concerned, or that is performed to overcome the adverse effects upon animals of the production system they are in.

If an invasive procedure is to be performed, it must be undertaken at the earliest age possible, be performed by an accredited operator and be accompanied by appropriate pain-relieving and/or pain-preventing products. 

See also PP B4 Invasive farm animal husbandry procedures

 4.7 Electroimmobilisation of animals
 4.7.1 RSPCA Australia is opposed to the technique of electroimmobilisation to prevent voluntary movement of fully conscious animals. RSPCA Australia supports the use of alternative, humane restraining devices that do not cause injury, suffering or distress to the animal concerned.
 4.8 Induced calving 
 4.8.1 RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of induced calving as a husbandry practice to regularise milk production in a dairy herd as it causes serious welfare problems for the cow and calf, often resulting in the death of the calf. 
 4.8.2 RSPCA Australia supports herd management programs that allow cows to reach full term and calve unassisted. 
 4.9 Forced moulting of layer hens
  RSPCA Australia is opposed to the practice of forced moulting, where food and water are withheld for extended periods to extend the productive life of layer hens, as it causes the hen unnecessary distress.  
 4.10 Use of electric prodders and other handling aids 
 4.10.1 RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of electric prodders for moving farm animals. 
 4.10.2 RSPCA Australia advocates the use of handling aids that are suitable for the farm animal being handled and that do not cause pain, injury or distress. Handling aids used to move farm animals may include flappers, backing boards, rattlers, canes with flags attached, hand, arm or body of the animal handler and effectively controlled dogs.
 4.11 Grazing for the control of toxic weeds
  RSPCA Australia is opposed to the grazing of sheep, goats or other animals as a means of controlling toxic weeds where there is a potential deleterious effect of these plants on grazing animals.

(adopted 01/08/08)

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Attached files
file PP_B2_Welfare_of_bobby_calves_on_farm.pdf (71 kb)
file PP B4 Invasive farm animal husbandry procedures.pdf (153 kb)

Also read
document Why are painful procedures performed without anaesthetic?
document Can the RSPCA prosecute farmers for performing painful husbandry procedures without anaesthetic or pain relief?
document Can the RSPCA prosecute farmers for keeping animals in intensive systems?
document What happens to bobby calves?
document How are beef cattle reared?
document Why does the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme allow for beak trimming of hens?
document Why are livestock left in paddocks without shade?
document What is mulesing and what are the alternatives?
document What are the animal welfare issues with individual shedding of sheep?
document What are the animal welfare issues associated with feedlots?
document What is calving induction?
document Why are cattle dehorned and is it painful?
document Why are the tails of dairy cows docked?
document Why do dairy cows become lame?
document What is mastitis in dairy cows?
document Is hot iron branding of livestock legal?
document Why does the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme allow for beak trimming of turkeys?

Prev   Next
RSPCA Policy B3 Breeding of farm animals     RSPCA Policy B5 Euthanasia of farm animals