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 Makes FARM Program Mandatory; Releases Guidance on Willful Animal Mistreatment 

In October, 2014 the NMPF Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution that altered the position of the National Dairy FARM Program. Specifically, the board resolved that any dairy marketing organization or processor participating in the FARM program must ensure that all of its farmer-suppliers complete an on-farm 2nd party evaluation by December 31, 2016. The NMPF board also reviewed new provisions in the FARM program that establish a clear process to investigate allegations of animal mistreatment on farms enrolled in the program. Any such farm will be subject to an independent review and may be temporarily suspended from the program if the allegations are substantiated. A corrective action plan will be developed to address any issues. Once any needed remedial actions are taken, the dairy operation can be reinstated in the FARM program. 


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 2013, the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible ManagementTM released an updated Animal Care Manual that details 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 is 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.