A method for integrating animal welfare measures into an overall welfare index that reflects expert opinion

Frank Tuyttens, Sophie de Graaf, Lisanne Stadig, Leonie Jacobs, Said Benaissa, Bart Ampe

    Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureC3: Congres abstractpeer review


    Aggregating multiple welfare indicators into an overall welfare index remains a challenge. We aimed to develop an integration system in which the main welfare issues are aggregated into a balanced, discriminative overall index that corresponds with expert opinion. This index is calculated as the average of a severity score (S) multiplied by the prevalence (P) for each welfare issue. This average can be corrected to reduce compensation of (extremely) bad scores on certain indicators (e.g. SxP exceeds a threshold). The development of the method is illustrated using data of Welfare Quality® assessments of 491 dairy cattle herds. Five major welfare problems were selected based on their importance for overall welfare as perceived by 15 trained users of the Welfare Quality® protocol. In addition to these experts, 8 ILVO dairy cattle researchers and 173 veterinary students (after having been explained how these welfare problems are scored) indicated on a continuous scale from 0-100 how severely each problem compromises cow welfare. The mean of these scores divided by 100 was used as the severity score (S) for each problem. Students and ILVO-researchers allocated an overall welfare score on a 100mm tagged visual analogue scale to 6 example farms for which the prevalence of each welfare problem relative to all other herds was marked on a graph. Correspondence between these scores and the overall index (calculated as the mean SxP) was checked. Using a newly developed app, the students simulated the effects of different compensation-reduction methods on the calculated overall index for all herds and on the correspondence with their own subjective overall welfare scores for the 6 example herds. Although currently limited to five welfare problems that can be expressed as a percentage, this integration method seems to hold great promise for calculating a discriminative welfare index that corresponds with expert opinion.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TitelProceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2016
    EditorsInonge Reimert, Jan Wijnen, Stephanie Buijs, Liesbeth Bolhuis
    Aantal pagina’s1
    Plaats productieBerlicum
    ISBN van geprinte versie978-94-6257-394-9
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 13-okt-2016
    EvenementBenelux ISAE conference 2016 - Berlicum, Nederland
    Duur: 13-okt-201613-okt-2016


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