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Assessment of meat-type sheep welfare using animal-based measures

By N. M'Hamdi, C. Darej, K. Attia, H. Guesmi, I. E. A. Znaidi, R. Bouraoui, H. M'Hamdi, L. Marzouki, M. Ayadi

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This study aimed to assess the welfare of Tunisian sheep in extensive sheep production systems using animal-based measures of ewe welfare. This study encompasses the first national survey of sheep welfare in which animal-based outcomes were tested. Animal-based welfare measures were derived from previous welfare protocols. Fifty-two Tunisian farms were studied and a number from 20 to 100 animals by flock were examinated. The whole flock was also observed to detect clinical diseases, lameness, and coughing. The human-animal relationship was selected as welfare indicators. It was evaluated through the avoidance distance test. The average avoidance distance was 10.47 ± 1.23 and 8.12 ± 0.97 m for a novel person and farmer, respectively. The global mean of body condition score (BCS) was 2.4 with 47% of ewes having a BCS of two, which may be associated with an increased risk of nutritional stress, disease, and low productivity. Ten farms had more than 7% of lambs with a low body condition score, which may be an indication of a welfare problem. The results obtained in the present study suggest that the used animal-based measures were the most reliable indicators that can be included in welfare protocols for extensive sheep production systems.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals
Volume 11
Issue 7
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani11072120
Author Address Research Laboratory of Ecosystems & Aquatic Resources, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, Carthage University, 43 Avenue Charles Nicolle, Tunis 1082, Tunisia.cyrine.darej@gmail.com attiakhaoula@ymail.com guessmihajer55@gmail.com akram_znaidi@hotmail.com bouraoui.rachid@yahoo.fr
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Africa
  2. Agriculture
  3. Animal diseases
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animal nutrition
  6. Animals
  7. Animal welfare
  8. Assessment
  9. Body condition
  10. Bovidae
  11. Developing countries
  12. Diseases and injuries of animals
  13. Extension
  14. Flocks
  15. Indicators
  16. Lambs
  17. Lameness
  18. Livestock farming
  19. Mammals
  20. Meat animals
  21. Mediterranean region
  22. nutritional status
  23. open access
  24. Production
  25. productivity
  26. Ruminants
  27. Sheep
  28. surveys
  29. Symptoms
  30. Threshold Countries
  31. Tunisia
  32. ungulates
  33. vertebrates
  34. Veterinary sciences
  1. open access