Ranching is a lifestyle. Livestock production in California would not be sustainable without a strong commitment to maintain the health and welfare of California’s cattle herd. The first responsibility for cattlemen and women is the proper care of their livestock including providing the necessary food, water and attention to raise healthy livestock. Without the ongoing dedication by California producers to maintaining the highest standards for animal welfare, a rancher’s livelihood in the cattle industry would not be possible.
Although maintaining a commitment to the highest level of animal care is a rancher’s responsibility, California livestock producers also operate under the most comprehensive set of laws and regulations governing animal health and welfare in the country. California cattle producers are the most progressive in the country and as a result, California consumers can have confidence and faith that the beef they are consuming from California ranchers were raised with the highest health and welfare standards, period.
For example, livestock producers in California work routinely with veterinarians to care for their cattle and adopt extensive herd health standards and procedures. The use of antibiotics to treat, control and under limited circumstances, prevent disease, must be done in collaboration with a veterinarian through a prescription or Veterinary Feed Directive. SB 27 (2015) is the country’s most progressive law governing the use of antibiotics in livestock production. Ranchers agree that combating antibiotic resistance in human and animal medicine is of the utmost importance, and work collaboratively with government officials, veterinarians, and other animal health professionals to accomplish this goal. Learn more about the California Department of Food and Agriculture Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship program by visiting their website.
Ranchers’ strong commitment to animal health and welfare is also demonstrated through their voluntary participation in the Beef Quality Assurance program (BQA). BQA offers continued education opportunities for ranchers on animal health, welfare and livestock handling practices to ensure ranchers are constantly employing the best, most up-to-date and research-based practices possible.