Sofia Muñoz is a district vet based on the west coast of Sweden and employed by the Swedish Board of Agriculture - a government agency. She explains that they are not only responsible for border control and official tasks but are also active in both large and small animal practices. “To ensure that all animals have access to veterinary care even if the owner lives in a remote area and therefore we also ensure animal welfare is safeguarded,” she says while explaining about cow inspections, registration systems, low use of antibiotics and protocols for the transportation of cattle for breeding.
What are the main duties for the Swedish Agricultural authorities with regard to cow inspections?
The Swedish Board of Agriculture (SBA) collects data from different sources such as calving, purchase, trading and culling. The SBA also obtains data such as treatments reported by vets and farmers on an individual basis. The data include all herds that send data to the Swedish Cattle Database, that also obtains data from other sources such as on hoof-trimming, artificial insemination, milk analysis, milk production, slaughter data and conformation classification. A livestock cooperative, Växa Sverige, maintains and manages records from the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
What is the aim of the cow register in Sweden?
“I understand that the records are mainly used to be able to trace animals in the event of outbreaks of animal diseases. It has also plays a role in financial support and to help public authorities monitor animal welfare and so on.
What benefits do farmers get for entering data in the cow register?
“The farmers own the data themselves and can decide how their information may be used. It enables them to compare their herd with national benchmarks and to see trends over time. They can also view statistics and how their herd has developed over time.
What is more, all information from the herd is held in the database including information on each individual cow regarding e.g. milk production. It also provides a basis for advisory services such as calculating feeding rations and I can use it in my daily work advising farmers that I see regularly and that enables me to implement improvement schemes.
Many farmers also feel proud to contribute and view the registers as quality measures and a tool for analysis purposes.”