Some believe increased productivity comes at the expense of animal health and welfare. In reality, ensuring that cattle have the highest standards of health and welfare is beneficial to both individual beef producers and the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the entire beef industry .
Cattle can experience stressful events throughout their life cycle just like people. If these events cause cattle to have a decrease in things like feed conversion efficiency , reduced reproductive rates, growth rates, or lead to an increased susceptibility for illness then all three of the beef components of sustainability (environmental , social , and economic ) can be negatively impacted.
The stress level of cattle can be caused by nutrition, heat, genetics , transportation and lameness. while eliminating all stressful events from beef production is unrealistic, techniques and genetic selection can be used to reduce cattle stress, resulting in improvements of animal health and welfare while reducing the environmental impact and maintaining economic viability.
In summary, animal health and welfare are vital to beef sustainability . Animals that are healthy and comfortable have higher production efficiencies and less impact on the environment. With their commitment to animal welfare, beef producers can positively impact all three components of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental).