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Science and Research

A Greener World’s farm standards are developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management.

As well as providing practical advice for farmers and ranchers, our Technical Advice Fact Sheets, Information Sheets and Briefing Papers explain the scientific assessment and reasoning behind many of our key farm standards. We hope the information will help those with an interest in the program to have a greater understanding of our position on key management issues and animal welfare.

Technical Advice Fact Sheets (TAFS)

  • TAFS 1 – Welfare and Belgian Blue Cattle
    This technical paper examines the Belgian Blue breed, the phenomenon of double muscling and the welfare implications to the animal. It concludes that the pure purebred Belgian Blue has no place in beef production systems that aspire to attain good welfare.
  • TAFS 2 – Management to Avoid Tail Docking Sheep
    This technical paper provides basic advice and key management techniques to minimize fly strike risks without having to tail dock lambs. Key topics include the pros and cons of tail docking, minimizing soiling, insecticide use and general management.
  • TAFS 3 – Urinary Calculi in Goats
    This technical paper provides advice on urinary calculi in goats, outlining best practice advice on minimizing the risk of this disease through diet and other management practices to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS 4 – Reducing the Risk of Internal Parasites
    This technical paper provides basic advice and key management techniques to reduce the risk of internal parasites. Key topics include understanding the parasitic worm life cycle, ‘best practice’ pasture management and key livestock management techniques.
  • TAFS 5 – Injurious Feather Pecking in Laying Hens
    This technical paper explores injurious feather pecking in laying hens, examining the key causes of feather pecking, before providing extensive practical advice on methods to prevent this serious welfare issue in poultry.
  • TAFS 6 – Range Management in Poultry
    This technical paper offers advice on range management for poultry, examining the welfare and other benefits associated with increased ranging behavior, with practical advice on encouraging birds to make better use of the range.
  • TAFS 7 – Foot Pad Dermatitis in Poultry
    This technical paper examines foot pad dermatitis– also known as pododermatitis or ‘foot burn’–in poultry, with practical advice on identifying and reducing this potential welfare issue.
  • TAFS 8 – Mortality in Poultry
    This technical paper explores the most common causes of mortality in pasture-raised poultry systems, offering advice on preventing mortality problems during the brooding phase, as well as out on the range.
  • TAFS 9 – Castration of Cattle
    Modern research shows that certain methods of castration, castration without anaesthetic, and castration beyond a certain age, can all impact cattle welfare. This technical paper outlines best practice advice on castration to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS 10 – Castration of Sheep
    Modern research shows that certain methods of castration, castration without anaesthetic, and castration beyond a certain age, can impact sheep welfare. This technical paper outlines best practice advice on castration to ensure the highest levels of welfare.
  • TAFS 11 – Horns and Thermoregulation
    This technical paper explores the science on the role of cattle horns and horn structure, and whether horns are involved in cattle temperature regulation.
  • TAFS 12 – Soil Testing
    This technical paper looks at the importance of soil testing in sustainable livestock systems. Key topics include the reasons for soil testing, the benefits of soil testing and best practice for pasture production.
  • TAFS 13 – The Prolific Hen
    This technical paper examines the welfare concerns about modern prolific laying chicken breeds and considers egg production numbers, health problems arising from high numbers of eggs per cycle and advice on suitable and unsuitable breeds.
  • TAFS 14 – Farm Health Plans: A Practical Guide
    Introducing a farm health plan–and keeping it up to date–can help prevent health problems in livestock and significantly improve overall farm performance. This technical paper offers advice on the creating and maintaining a dedicated farm health plan.
  • TAFS 15 – Record Keeping
    This technical paper explains how record keeping can benefit your farm and ranch business, explaining what records are required by AGW, what constitutes a ‘record’, and just how easily you can incorporate record keeping into your daily routine.
  • TAFS 16 – Nose Ringing Pigs
    This technical paper examines the practice of nose ringing pigs. Key topics include understanding the welfare implications of nose ringing and management options as an alternative to nose ringing.
  • TAFS 17 – Age of Weaning Lambs
    This technical paper examines the impact of different weaning ages on the welfare of ewes and lambs, the importance of good nutrition during lactation, and the impact of weaning age on lamb growth and productivity.
  • TAFS 18 – Why Pre-Slaughter Stunning is Important
    This technical paper examines the issue of pre-slaughter stunning. Key topics include minimizing pain and stress at slaughter, evidence of pain at the bleed cut and the time to loss of consciousness without prior stunning.
  • TAFS 19 – Avoiding the Need to Teeth Clip Piglets
    This technical paper examines the practice of teeth clipping piglets. Key topics include why teeth clipping is carried out, problems with teeth clipping, and management of the sow and litter to avoid teeth clipping.
  • TAFS 20 – Pre-Slaughter Stunning – Why it is Important for Poultry
    This technical paper explores the issues of pre-slaughter stunning of poultry. Key topics include minimizing pain and stress at slaughter, evidence of pain and the time to loss of consciousness without prior stunning, and what happens when an animal is stunned.
  • TAFS 21 – Weaning Age in Beef Cattle
    This technical paper examines the impact of early weaning on calf and cow (including scientific evidence of stress and production issues), and the benefits of later weaning for both calf productivity and cow condition.
  • TAFS 22 – Fecal Egg Counts
    This technical paper discusses fecal sampling to monitor the internal parasite burdens of livestock, explaining what’s involved and how the results can be used, as well as providing links to public and private laboratories that can carry out the tests.
  • TAFS 23 – Feed Calculation for Ruminants
    This technical paper explains how farmers can calculate how much their animals are eating each day and how much non-forage feed they can provide while maintaining compliance with AGW standards. Includes useful reference tables to aid feed calculations.

Information Sheets

  • Guidelines for Farms that Host Open Days Hosting farm visits offers the public a real insight into practical farming–and farmers the opportunity to show off their farms, livestock and the high welfare food they produce to interested customers! But as well as being informative and enjoyable, every farm visit should be a safe experience. This information sheet offers basic guidance on key health and safety measures to ensure everyone has a great day out.

Briefing Papers

  • Comments on Holt white paper on range access for hens
    In 2011, Dr. Peter Holt, published an important article in Feedstuffs: The weekly newsletter for agribusiness. Dr. Holt claimed the welfare benefits of free range poultry systems are primarily based on welfare perception, rather than scientific welfare facts. By examining the limitations of the scientific research upon which he bases his argument, and by presenting a range of alternative research, Dr. Holt’s conclusions are robustly challenged.
  • Comments on Glasgow research on antimicrobial resistance
    Following the publication of a research paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal, several agricultural industry websites and magazines used the research to argue that antibiotic resistance does not result from the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. But upon closer examination, AGW subsequently uncovered numerous weaknesses in the analysis used, questioning the controversial conclusions of the research paper.
  • Trichinella and Pastured Pigs
    Numerous reports and articles claim that eating meat from pastured pigs represents a greater risk of contracting the parasitic disease, trichinellosis. This briefing paper gives details of the disease, its source and transmission, and examines results from the national trichinellosis surveillance system and various research papers. A review of current research concludes that the risk of contracting trichinella from eating pork from well-managed pastured systems is no greater than from indoor pork.

Science and Research Menu

Our science and research information is listed in the following categories:

Technical Advice Fact Sheets – In-depth, referenced information that gives background and justification for the standards, offering ‘best practice’ guidance for farmers

Information Sheets – List of approved products, instruction/guidance for farmers on non-technical issues

Briefing Papers – Still some technical information, but designed to comment on issues of the day and set the scene for “big picture” issues

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