GLOBAL - A zero tolerance policy must be taken on animal cruelty even if it means losing a herdsman, farmers at the Large Herd Seminar have been told.
Dairy Coach and staff advisor Tom Wall said that giving senior staff an easy ride sends the wrong message and ultimately can result in giving the industry a bad name.
If a senior member of staff is getting away with kicking a cow, then this is sending a bad message to young and impressionable workers, he added.
Addressing the recent British Columbia cow cruelty scandal at Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Mr Wall said that recruitment policy and training are key in preventing such malpractice.
Videos of untrained employees whipping and kicking cows on Canada’s largest dairy surfaced earlier this month. Mr Wall said responsibility ultimately comes back to the employer as the ‘custodian of the farm’.
In an era of herd expansion and growing teams of workers, Mr Wall said that a farm owner is increasingly a steward of people, as well as being a steward of land and cows.
On the importance of employee protocols, Mr Wall said: “Farmers have a plan for every building that goes up and every change in ration, but when it comes to people, as an industry we often just wing it.”
He added: “You get the best out of your staff by giving them respect, having order and offering them opportunity.”
When dealing with staff, Mr Wall likened a manager’s job to that of a gardener ‘weeding out damaging plants’.
This not only gets rid of the bad, but it also allows the good to prosper.
And while close circuit television sees things a boss cannot, recordings can be dangerous if taken out of context.
“A video we recently saw was of a spot of blood on a post-fresh cow,” said Mr Wall. “This has been taken out of context as the cow has just calved.”