Animal Care

Useful Links Relating to Dairy Animal Care and Animal Welfare

  • American Association of Bovine Practitioners - An international association of veterinarians organized to enhance the professional lives of its members through relevant continuing education that will improve the well-being of cattle and the economic success of their owners, increase awareness, and promote leadership for issues critical to cattle industries, and improve opportunities for careers in bovine medicine.
  • Animal Agriculture Alliance - Communicates the importance of modern animal agriculture to consumers and the media.
  • National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative - Protects consumer trust and confidence in the dairy industry by demonstrating dairy producers’ commitment to animal well-being.
  • National Dairy FARM ProgramTM - A nation-wide, verifiable program that addresses animal well-being. Its mission is to demonstrate and verify that U.S. milk producers are committed to providing the highest standards of animal care and quality assurance.
  • National Institute of Animal Agriculture - Provides a source for individuals, organizations, and the entire animal agriculture industry to obtain information, education, and solutions for challenges facing animal agriculture.
  • Dr. Temple Grandin - Provides resources on livestock behavior, design of facilities, and humane slaughter.


NMPF Board of Directors Approves Resolution Specific to Tail Docking

The NMPF Board of Directors approved a resolution on July 23, 2012 that altered the position of the National Dairy FARM Program specific to tail docking. The board voted to approve the following language:

NMPF’s National Dairy FARM Animal Care Program opposes the routine tail docking of dairy animals, except in the case of traumatic injury to an animal. This practice is recommended to be phased out by 2022. Switch trimming is recommended as a preferred alternative. Acknowledging existing animal cruelty laws, NMPF opposes efforts to prescribe specific on-farm animal care practices through federal, state, or local legislative or regulatory action.

The decision aligned the organization’s position with the leading veterinary care organizations for dairy, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, both of which also were opposed to tail docking. The board’s position also reflected discussions that took place among the animal care specialists serving on the FARM Program’s Technical Working Group and the NMPF Animal Health & Well-Being Committee.

Specifying a ten year-long period to phase out the use of tail docking would allow individual farmers an opportunity to put into place any on-farm management changes necessary to address the reasons frequently cited by current proponents of tail docking, including animal cleanliness, facility design, and worker safety, among others. Those that may need to update or redesign their milking parlors would be able to use this time to adapt to the change.


National Dairy FARM Animal Care Manual

In 2010, the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible ManagementTM released a new Animal Care Manual that detailed best management practices for a variety of animal care issues, including animal health from birth to end of life, facilities/environment, nutrition, and transportation and handling. The manual should be used as an educational resource for producers, evaluators, and verifiers participating in the National Dairy FARM Program. The Animal Care Manual was designed to be a comprehensive animal care resource tool.


National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. Announce National Dairy FARM ProgramNational Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management

NMPF and Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) announced on January 21, 2009 the introduction of the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management. A joint effort of the two organizations, the FARM Program was formed to bolster consumer trust and confidence in the U.S. dairy industry and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the highest levels of animal care and quality assurance.


NMPF Submits Comments to USDA Regarding Proposed Rule Changes for Non-Ambulatory Animals

NMPF sent a letter to USDA on September 29, 2008 to express support for the proposed changes to the "Requirements for the Disposition of Cattle That Become Non-Ambulatory Disabled Following Ante-Mortem Inspection." Under the proposed new rule, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) personnel would no longer be allowed to determine the disposition of cattle that become non-ambulatory after having previously passed ante mortem inspection, assuredly keeping them out of the human food supply.


USDA Formally Moves to Prevent All Non-Ambulatory Cattle from Human Food Supply

In an announcement that was published in the Federal Register on August 29, 2008, USDA proposed a formal ban from the human food supply the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory. Back in April, NMPF had requested the elimination of the provision that allows certain non-ambulatory cattle to pass into the human food supply. This newly-proposed rule accomplished exactly what NMPF requested in its petition.


Dairy Industry Distributes Animal Handling Guidelines"Top 10 Considerations for Culling and Transporting Dairy Animals to a Packing or Processing Facility"

In an effort to reinforce the importance of caring for dairy cattle at all stages of their lives, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), along with Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), announced on July 7, 2008 the distribution of a basic educational poster that was distributed to all dairy producers across America.


Electronic copy of "Top 10 Considerations for Culling and Transporting Dairy Animals to a Packing or Processing Facility"


Listen to Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, speak to Andy Vance from the Agri Broadcast Network about the animal handling guidelines poster.


NMPF Statement on Humane Society Undercover Video of Livestock Markets

In response to the HSUS release on June 25, 2008 of another undercover video regarding the treatment of livestock, NMPF issued this statement.


NMPF Statement in Support of USDA Decision to End Use of Downer Cattle

When USDA announced on May 20, 2008 that it would move to ensure that all non-ambulatory, or downer, cattle stay out of the human food supply, NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak released this statement.


NMPF Asks USDA to End Any Use of Downer Cattle in Human Food Supply

On April 24, 2008, NMPF, the American Meat Institute, and the National Meat Association released a joint statement requesting that USDA keep all nonambulatory, or downer, cattle out of the human food supply. A copy of the citizens' petition is available here.