Defining the Basic Needs of a Bovine…

What are the basic needs of a bovine which ensure good care and welfare?

I believe that cattle need the following things to thrive and achieve their God-given potential in the production of beef:

  • A consistent and clean source of feed and water.
  • A comfortable environment in which to live and express normal bovine behavior.
  • Good preventative health care that includes proper vaccination, deworming, and vitamin/mineral intake.
  • A caregiver who understands how to properly interact with the animal, and works to consistently reduce the stress that the animal experiences.

I believe that this care can be provided in a variety of environments—on a grazing pasture or in a feed yard. 

There will certainly be times when weather challenges make them temporarily difficult to obtain, but these cornerstones of good care drive quality bovine welfare.

In order to ensure the practical application of these welfare cornerstones, the Beef Quality Assurance Program focuses on 3 basic areas of education for cattle farmers:

  • Feed Ingredient Selection
  • Processing (vaccination) and Animal Treatment Records
  • Animal Care and Husbandry (welfare) Practices

Because cattle are food animals, two other areas of focus exist in the BQA program, to ensure that the beef that our animals produce is safe and healthy:

  • Feed Additives and Medications
  • Injection Site Management

He is grown with the express purpose of providing a high quality source of protein for all of us to eat…

When I asked Dr. Griffin what the most important function of the BQA program was, he responded:

The major focus of BQA today is the accumulation and dissemination of animal husbandry (care/welfare) ideas and techniques from people all across the United States.   As cattle caregivers become more knowledgeable stewards, this allows cattle to grow and reproduce at their God-given genetic potential in the environment in which the cattle are raised and kept. Animal husbandry-appropriate to the animal’s needs- and within its given environment, will accomplish the objectives that we all seek … sustainability and the production of safe beef.

After the Thanksgiving Holiday, we will take a closer look at each of the 5 areas of focus for Beef Quality Assurance and discuss their role in ensuring good cattle welfare.



Filed under Animal Welfare, General

4 responses to “Defining the Basic Needs of a Bovine…

  1. cowdoc lana

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Although alluded to in your list, one of the things many farmers and ranchers of all species appear to struggle with is the notion that animals can be in situations that result in “mental suffering” which not only affects their “mental health” and welfare but also their productivity. So while the focus of our work is often on the tangible and measurable – food, water, housing, health, and productivity – the mental state of the animal -the “happiness” or contentment, which we strive for and assure by providing freedom from fear, discomfort, and distress, pain, injury and disease, hunger and thirst and allowing our animals to express normal behaviors (the “cowness” of the cow) all go toward ensuring good mental health for our animals.

    • Good point, Doc. Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I probably have some of you loyal readers confused since posts came up Monday and Wednesday this week, but I was in the Nebraska Sandhills on Tuesday (where there is no internet to speak of) and with Thanksgiving on Thursday I figured that Monday and Wednesday were a better fit for the week.

      I hope that you have a wonderful turkey day!

  2. Rex

    Excellent summary of animal husbandry and beef quality assurance.

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