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Recent studies have indicated that discrepancies may exist between Welfare Quality® (WQ) integrated scores and dairy cattle experts’ evaluation of herd welfare. In this study, an online survey of trained users of the WQ dairy cattle protocol (n=13–18) was conducted. The aim was to examine correspondence of expert opinion to WQ integrated scores for the dairy cattle protocol. Experts were asked to allocate criterion and overall welfare scores on a 10cm tagged visual analogue scale to 7 focal herds (5 categorized as Acceptable and 2 as Enhanced selected from a database of 491 farms in Europe). The prevalence of all welfare measures per focus herd, relative to the European database, was indicated on graphs (per criterion and for the overall welfare category separately). Correspondence between experts scores, systematic difference and correspondence between (mean) expert opinion and the WQ criterion scores were examined using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), paired t-tests and linear models, respectively. Correspondence between experts was sufficient (ICC>0.6) for most criteria, but low for the criteria ‘absence of injuries’ and ‘absence of disease’. For 3 of 5 Acceptable farms and for 1 of 2 Enhanced farms, most experts indicated a lower overall welfare category than WQ. The criteria ‘absence of injuries’, ‘absence of pain induced by management procedures’, ‘expression of social behaviour’ and ‘good human-animal relationship’ were systematically scored lower than the WQ score (P<0.05). Expert scores for the criteria ‘absence of prolonged thirst’ and ‘absence of prolonged hunger’ did not correspond to the respective WQ scores (P<0.05). Results indicate poor correspondence between expert scoring and WQ for 6 specific criteria, and for the overall welfare category. Therefore, integration methods of the WQ protocol for dairy cattle do not fully reflect the relevance of the various measures for (overall) welfare as perceived by experts in the present study.
|Title of host publication||Welfare Quality Network Seminar 2016|
|Editors||A. Valros, L. Hänninen, E Kaukonen|
|Number of pages||1|
|Place of Publication||Helsinki, Finland|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|Event||Welfare Quality Network Seminar - Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland|
Duration: 24-Nov-2016 → 24-Nov-2016
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- 2 Finished
DAIRWEL: Use of animal based measures for the assessment of dairy cow welfare
Tuyttens, F., De Campeneere, S. & de Graaf, S.
1/01/13 → 30/06/14
MELKWEL: Marketing animal welfare as a quality aspect of milk
Tuyttens, F., Bijttebier, J., De Campeneere, S., de Graaf, S. & Lauwers, L.
1/10/12 → 30/09/16