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Public perceptions of potential adaptations for mitigating heat stress on Australian dairy farms Hendricks, Jillian; Mills, Katelyn; Sirovica, Lara; Sundermann, Louise; Bolton, Sarah; von Keyserlingk, Marina


This study investigated Australian public perceptions of heat stress mitigation strategies for dairy cattle, including perceptions of 1) cow welfare, 2) confidence in the dairy industry, and 3) trust in dairy farmers. Through an online survey, participants were presented with one of the following heat stress mitigation options: 1) indoor barn system, 2) indoor-outdoor choice system, 3) gene edition of cattle for resilience to heat stress, and 4) pasture system. Participants perceived cow welfare as lowest in the indoor system and highest in the choice and outdoor systems. Confidence in the industry was lower for the indoor system than in choice and pasture systems, and lower in the gene edition system compared to the choice system. Trust in farmers was similar across all treatments. Of value to participants was the ability of the farm system to provide cows access to pasture, accommodate their freedom of movement and choice, and align with their natural living environment.

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