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An 80-strong herd of cattle have become the first livestock to populate the Brazilian Model Farm, enabling the project – which seeks to demonstrate humane and sustainable farming methods – to launch its first training programme.
The Model Farm Project, a joint initiative of FAI and WSPA, is designed to show farmers and animal transporters that treating animals with respect also makes economic and environmental sense.
This is achieved through practical demonstrations of and training in humane farming methods on a working farm, backed by sound research.
“We were fortunate enough to join forces with some of the finest researchers on Animal Welfare in the country who are bringing knowledge, training and research to the project,” says Antonio Augusto Silva, Regional Director, WSPA Brazil.
“The farm will be a hub nor only for Brazil, but training will be available to all Latin American partners.”
The humane cattle handling courses – to be run on the Model Farm from April – are much needed in Brazil, where approximately 45.4 million cattle are transported and slaughtered every year.
Bad handling practices are commonplace when loading and unloading, with the use of inappropriate aids such as sticks or electric goads.
“We already have the support of the Ministry of Agriculture to change this reality. We will do our part with training government inspectors and researching and the government plans to tighten the enforcement of welfare laws” says Antonio.
The first animals arrive at the Brazilian Model Farm
Aggressive forms of cattle management are not only cruel and unnecessary; they damage the flesh of the cattle that the farmers have spent so much care rearing.
This means both farmers and transporters are keen to see how Model Farm methods can help.
The managed pastures and herds of the Model Farm allow cattle to become accustomed to being near people. This proximity means the farm’s experienced staff can train other farmers and transporters in humane handling methods.
Cattle that are familiar with people respond to voice commands and flags, rendering the sticks and prods that farmers regularly resort to unnecessary.