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Welfare effects of a disease eradication programme for dairy goats

By K. Muri, N. Leine, P. S. Valle

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The Norwegian dairy goat industry has largely succeeded in controlling caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) and paratuberculosis through a voluntary disease eradication programme called Healthier Goats (HG). The aim of this study was to apply an on-farm welfare assessment protocol to assess the effects of HG on goat welfare. A total of 30 dairy goat farms were visited, of which 15 had completed disease eradication and 15 had not yet started. Three trained observers assessed the welfare on 10 farms each. The welfare assessment protocol comprised both resource-based and animal-based welfare measures, including a preliminary version of qualitative behavioural assessments with five prefixed terms. A total of 20 goats in each herd were randomly selected for observations of human-animal interactions and physical health. The latter included registering abnormalities of eyes, nostrils, ears, skin, lymph nodes, joints, udder, claws and body condition score. For individual-level data, robust clustered logistic regression analyses with farm as cluster variable were conducted to assess the association with disease eradication. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used for comparisons of herd-level data between the two groups. Goats with swollen joints (indicative of CAE) and enlarged lymph nodes (indicative of CLA) were registered on 53% and 93% of the non-HG farms, respectively, but on none of the HG farms. The only other health variables with significantly lower levels in HG herds were skin lesions (P=0.008) and damaged ears due to torn out ear tags (P

Publication Title Animal
Volume 10
Issue 2
Pages 333-341
ISBN/ISSN 1751-7311
DOI 10.1017/s1751731115000762
Author Address Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, PO Box 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal production
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Arthritis
  7. Bacteria
  8. Bacterial infections and mycoses
  9. Body condition
  10. Bovidae
  11. Buildings
  12. Capra
  13. Cattle
  14. Claw
  15. Comparisons
  16. Control
  17. Diseases
  18. Ear
  19. Ecology
  20. Effect
  21. Encephalitis
  22. Environment
  23. Evaluation
  24. Eyes
  25. Goats
  26. Health
  27. Humans
  28. Incidence
  29. Infections
  30. Infectious diseases
  31. Interactions
  32. Joints
  33. Lesions
  34. Livestock farming
  35. lymphatic system
  36. Mammals
  37. Management
  38. Men
  39. open access
  40. pathogens
  41. Pests.
  42. prevention
  43. Primates
  44. prokaryotes
  45. RNA
  46. Ruminants
  47. skin
  48. surgery
  49. Tuberculosis
  50. udders
  51. ungulates
  52. vertebrates
  53. Veterinary sciences
  54. Veterinary surgery
  55. Virus diseases
  1. open access