Sudden changes in temperature are a serious hazard for both animals and humans, with significant health effects ranging from dehydration, cramps, syncope, arrhythmias and many other conditions that can even lead to death. After what has been the fourth hottest summer since 1950, and with heatwaves looking set to become more frequent, systems that can control temperature and prevent sudden changes are essential if animal welfare is to be guaranteed.
In this way, the accredited certifications in animal welfare promoted by the Spanish interprofessional organisations Interovic and Provacuno and the Hungarian JTT become a key management tool that can, among other aspects, combat heat stress in animals as they are based on scientific parameters and have registration systems that allow monitoring and, if necessary, introduce appropriate improvements in conditions.
Combating heat stress based on scientific rigour and continuous monitoring
Continuous improvement does not allow for one-off corrections, but requires a record of continuous measurements based on scientific criteria such as, for example, the measurement of humidity conditions, ventilation, CO2 levels, etc. These records of measurable, reproducible and scientifically based parameters are what allow farmers and technicians to improve the facilities and living conditions of farm animals.
«In the case of beef cattle, sheep and goats in Spain and Hungary, a farm with accredited animal welfare certification is obliged to keep a continuous and daily record of more than 80 parameters based on scientific criteria, including those that control the effect of temperature changes on the state of health and welfare of the animals», Tomás Rodríguez, director of Interovic.
For this reason, every day more and more farmers and farm technicians see the great advantages that the accredited certifications in animal welfare, promoted by the interprofessional organisations Provacuno, Interovic and JTT, can bring them. On the one hand, in terms of credibility and reliability for the consumer, as an ENAC-accredited body is the one that guarantees these records, and on the other hand, in terms of the continuous improvements in productivity and even profitability that the monitoring, control and traceability systems that accredited certifications provide them with.
«The monitoring of scientifically based parameters generates great peace of mind for the farmer who has the confidence that his animals are always in optimum condition and that he has a system that warns him in real time of any incident that may affect them,» adds Javier López, director of Provacuno.