Stockmanship is the single most important influence on the welfare of farm animals. Stockmen, working either as self-employed farmers or employees, have demanding responsibilities as they strive to understand and cater for the needs of their animals.
The report outlines the “three essentials of stockmanship”, which provide the foundations of sustainable livestock farming. Based on these, a major focus of the report is the provision of effective education and training of stockmen on a regular and progressive basis.
There are difficulties in educating and training stockmen that are common to all sectors of livestock farming. These include single-handed working, remoteness from colleges and universities, and access to trainers and courses off-site. These problems can be overcome by industry-led schemes that can be both feasible and effective.
The report also recommends that both the farming industry and government should evaluate the benefits of education and training in terms of staff satisfaction and retention, the value to farming businesses, and the standards of animal welfare on British farms.
You can read more about the work of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.