Welfare Problems on French Dairies: An Epidemiological Approach04 November 2014
French dairy farms are operating at an ‘acceptable’ level of welfare, a study encompassing 131 dairies has found.
A team of French researchers has tried to objectively assess the welfare standards of dairy farms with a view to assist stakeholders in ‘corrective actions’.
Using the Welfare Quality protocol, the farms were evaluated along a wide ranging set of criterion which could be analysed in three parts on the scale of 0 for a very adverse situation and 100 for excellent welfare.
Firstly, health, feeding and behaviour, averaged the lowest, ranging from 33 to 39.
Eight welfare criteria recorded scores below 50; ‘pain’, ‘integument alterations’, ‘diseases’, ‘comfort around resting’, ‘social behaviours’, ‘human animal relationship’, ‘positive emotional state’ and ‘hunger’.
- Four others notched above the 50 mark – ‘thirst’, ‘lameness’, ‘expression’ of other behaviours, ease of movement.
- Wide variation between and within farms and systems was noted.
- Farms using cubicles obtained lower scores for ‘comfort around resting’ and ‘injuries’.
- Holstein farms saw more hunger scores.
- Automated Milking systems were rated lower for ‘expression of other behaviours’ and ‘diseases’ in Holstein herds.