Improving end-of-life decision making and timely euthanasia of dairy cattle and calves


Norman Hayward Fund



Research Period


Area of study



Investigator(s): Joseph Neary

Timely euthanasia of cattle and calves on dairy farms has been identified as an area in need of significant improvement by the recent AWF Delphi report. Industry stakeholders provide on-farm euthanasia decision making guidance, but the guidance falls short of providing clear definitions of when cattle should be euthanised. Unless “the animal is in such distress that immediate euthanasia is required”, the best course of action is not clear. The purpose of this study is to improve end-of-life decision making and more timely euthanasia in dairy cattle and young stock. Through phone interviews and online questionnaires they will identify issues faced by farmers and veterinarians to on-farm decision making. They will also undertake an assessment of farm records to characterise the timeliness of on-farm euthanasia decision making and deaths.