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Assessment of animal welfare in 80 dairy cow herds in cubicle housing # animal health and other animal-related parameters

By C. Rouha-Mulleder, R. Palme, S. Waiblinger

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Abstract

Introduction: With growing concerns about farm animal welfare (e.g. by consumers; WILDNER, 1998), knowledge about the actual situation with regard to animal welfare on farms is important. Valid assessment of animal welfare requires the use of animal-based parameters, while environmental parameters alone are not sufficient (WINCKLER et al., 2003; MULLEDER et al., 2007). Suitable animal-related measurements comprise behavioural, physiological, health and, at least partly, production parameters (TERLOUW et al., 1997; KNIERIM, 1998). The aim of this study was to assess animal welfare in dairy cows in cubicle loose housing in Austria by using animal-related parameters to identify problem areas and need for improvements. Material and methods: 80 dairy herds with herd size of 21 to 55 Simmental cows were visited once on 2 consecutive half days. Animal-related parameters from all parameter groups mentioned above were recorded, i.e. rising up/lying down behaviour, avoidance distance towards humans, social interactions (behaviour), lameness, skin lesions, body condition, somatic cell count in milk (health), adrenocortical activity (physiology), milk yield and cleanliness. Data collection took place in spring 2002 and from October 2002 to March 2003. Associations between animal-related parameters were calculated by means of Spearman rank correlation coefficients. Results: Data revealed substantial variation between farms in most parameters and considerable problems regarding animal health and behaviour: prevalence of lameness was 36% (0-77

Date 2010
Publication Title Wiener Tierarztliche Monatsschrift
Volume 97
Issue 9/10
Pages 231-241
ISBN/ISSN 0043-535X
Language German
Author Address Aus dem Institut fur Tierhaltung und Tierschutz (Department fur Nutztiere und offentliches Gesundheitswesen in der Veterinarmedizin) der Veterinarmedizinischen Universitat Wien, Wein, Austria. cornelia.muelleder@gmx.at
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. animal breed
  3. Animal diseases
  4. Animal genetics
  5. Animal health and hygiene
  6. Animal housing
  7. Animal husbandry
  8. Animal physiology
  9. Animal rights
  10. Animal welfare
  11. Austria
  12. Body condition
  13. Breeds
  14. Cattle
  15. Cells
  16. Consumers
  17. Cortisol
  18. Dairy animals
  19. Data collection
  20. Developed countries
  21. Diseases
  22. Europe
  23. Farms
  24. Health
  25. Herds
  26. Hydrocortisone
  27. Hygiene
  28. Illnesses
  29. Improvement
  30. Incidence
  31. Information
  32. Interactions
  33. Lameness
  34. Lesions
  35. Leukocytes
  36. Livestock
  37. Mammals
  38. Meat animals
  39. Metabolites
  40. Milk and dairy products
  41. OECD countries
  42. Parasites
  43. performance traits
  44. pest control
  45. physiology
  46. prevention
  47. Primates
  48. restrictions
  49. skin
  50. skin lesions
  51. Social behavior
  52. somatic cell count
  53. variation