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An Animal-Based Welfare Assessment of Group-Housed Calves on UK Dairy Farms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2023

H R Whay*
Affiliation:
University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK University of Warwick, Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
D C J Main
Affiliation:
University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK
L E Green
Affiliation:
University of Warwick, Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
A J F Webster
Affiliation:
University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK
*
* Contact for correspondence and requests for reprints: Bec.Whay@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

A series of measures of calf welfare was developed through a process of expert consultation. A welfare assessment of group-housed calves was carried out on 53 UK dairy farms during the winter of 2000/01. The assessment used animal-based measures including direct observation of the calves and examination of their health history through a review of farm records. The findings from this were compiled into a profile of calf welfare which outlined the range of results for each measure used. The results fell into the three categories of respiratory health, nutrition and general appearance. A broad range of results was found across the farms visited for the measures in each of these categories. Some farms performed well for all measures taken, and no farms performed consistently badly across all aspects of calf welfare. The majority of farms combined aspects of both good and poor welfare performance.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

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