CSIRO Livestock Industries scientist, Dr Caroline Lee, monitoring cattle behaviour at Armidale, NSW. (CSIRO)
Animal health and welfare
We are working to ensure that livestock production systems are managed through ethical and socially acceptable practices that reduce the incidence and level of diseases, stress and pain in farm animals.
20 January 2011 | Updated 12 November 2012
Improving livestock health
Parasites, such as ticks, are increasingly developing resistance to anti-parasite drugs, and new drugs are needed. On the other hand, some animals are naturally resistant to parasites and these animals may be good candidates for breeding programs.
We are working to improve the health of livestock by developing a range of solutions to control parasites that affect cattle and sheep, including worms, ticks and flystrike.
We are doing research to help breed production animals that are better adapted to a range of production environments.
This research is focused on:
- developing DNA tests to identify cattle and sheep that are naturally resistant to parasites and flystrike
- identifying drug resistance genes in parasites, using modern DNA sequencing technology
- developing a cell-based test system, which does not require the use of animals, for generating improved anti-parasite vaccines
- developing high-throughput tests that identify and characterise new classes of anti-parasite drugs.
Improving livestock welfare
We are supporting ethical livestock production through a range of approaches that aim to minimise the stress of modern production systems on the animals.
This research includes:
- assessing current standards of husbandry practices and wherever possible developing improved alternatives that cause minimal pain to production animals
- developing objective measures of animal welfare, such as stress levels, preferred feed, and stocking density of animals in a range of situations, including transport
- developing new methods to assess the emotional states of livestock (how they feel) in response to common management practices.
Based on this research we are providing scientific advice on the development and refinement of welfare regulations, guidelines and codes of practice used by Australian livestock producers.
We also work to ensure our code of practice for livestock protection and welfare is communicated and implemented within CSIRO.
Our research and outcomes
Our key collaborators and supporters are: