Undercover videos are a major concern for dairy producers. Just one clip of improper handling of cows or calves can put an operation at risk of losing it all.
Merck Animal Health’s Dairy Care365 initiative is working to change that through employee training and producer outreach.
Jane Dukes, director of food & consumer communications at Morgan & Myers, has been working with Merck to spread the word about Dairy Care365 and the significance of the program. She spoke last leek at Dairy Today’s Elite Producer Business Conference in Las Vegas.
“Dairy Care365 is an important tool that is available to all to help you be proactive and prepared to implement the policies and procedures in place that will protect not only your animals, but your businesses and your reputations,” Dukes says.
Since 1998, there have been at least 126 videos filmed by animal rights activists who posed as employees on farms. The majority have been taped by the group Mercy For Animals.
“The idea of an undercover investigation is to catch you doing something wrong,” Dukes says.
Individual farms typically aren’t the target; they serve as a vehicle to expose consumers to questionable practices in an effort to advance the agendas of animal rights organizations.
To prevent video investigations, dairy producers should have sound policies, hire the right people and ensure those employees are properly trained.
Dairy Care365 provides those tools through training workshops and numerous online modules. A free helpline is also available to support producers who attend the trainings at 1-844-MAH-CARE. The hotline is available to answer questions in case an animal welfare challenge should happen on farm.
Thus far, Dairy Care365’s free trainings have the reached ownership or veterinary care of approximately 25 percent of the U.S. dairy cow herd.