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The Welfare Quality® (WQ) broiler protocol responds to a large demand for a holistic assessment of animal welfare that results in a singular, integrated outcome. But the protocol is time-consuming which hampers implementation. Furthermore, WQ’s aim to assess animal welfare in a wide range of husbandry systems may decrease its ability to discriminate between flocks reared within a certain system. We collected WQ-data on 41 intensively reared Belgian indoor broiler flocks. All flocks were classified as either “acceptable” (88%) or “enhanced” (12%), suggesting a limited capacity to discriminate between intensively reared flocks. The four principle scores could be predicted with considerable accuracy (all R2>0.7, P<0.001) based on one or two measures each, allowing a 68% reduction in total assessment time. Sensitivity analysis was performed by replacing single measure, criterion or principle scores by the observed minimum and maximum score in our sample (reflecting realistically attainable minimum and maximum values for Belgian intensively reared indoor flocks). Replacing single measures within the “good health” and “appropriate behaviour” principles with either the observed minimum or maximum did not affect overall classification. In fact, classification was not even affected when either of these principles were entirely replaced by their observed minimum or maximum. Although WQ intends to provide a holistic assessment, we found that many aspects have little to no effect on overall categorization. When flocks are judged by their overall welfare category only, insensitivity to changes in the realistically obtainable range may both discourage farmers from improvements and obscure deteriorations of welfare.
|Titel||Proceedings of the meeting of the Welfare Quality Network|
|Status||Gepubliceerd - 2015|
|Evenement||Meeting of the Welfare Quality Network - Barcelona, Spanje|
Duur: 1-dec-2015 → 2-dec-2015