Invited review: Cessation of lactation: Effects on animal welfare

The forced cessation of milk production, or dry-off, is a routine management practice in dairy cattle, sheep, and goats. This practice initiates a dry period, during which the animal is not milked. Milking begins again after parturition. Most of the literature on the dry period has focused on how various drying-off strategies affect milk production […]

The effect of conspecific removal on behavioral and physiological responses of dairy cattle

Adverse social and welfare implications of mixing dairy cows or separating calves from their mothers have been documented previously. Here we investigated the behavioral and physiological responses of individuals remaining after conspecifics were removed. We conducted a series of 4 experiments incorporating a range of types of different dairy cattle groupings [experiment 1 (E1), 126 […]

Invited review: Changes in the dairy industry affecting dairy cattle health and welfare

The dairy industry in the developed world has undergone profound changes over recent decades. In this paper, we present an overview of some of the most important recent changes in the dairy industry that affect health and welfare of dairy cows, as well as the science associated with these changes. Additionally, knowledge gaps are identified […]

Does animal welfare influence dairy farm efficiency? A two-stage approach

This article investigated how process-based animal welfare indicators (PAT) affected the technical efficiency of German dairy farms. A sample of 115 North-Rhine Westphalian dairy farms was used to estimate their technical efficiency with data envelopment analysis. A censored regression model was then applied to quantify the effects of PAT on technical efficiency. The results indicated […]

Application of the Welfare Quality protocol to dairy buffalo farms: Prevalence and reliability of selected measures

Within the general aim of developing a Welfare Quality system for monitoring dairy buffalo welfare, this study focused on prevalence and interobserver reliability of the animal-related variables to be included in the scheme. As most of the measures were developed for cattle, the study also aimed to verify their prevalence for buffaloes. Thirty animal-based measures […]

A survey of Australian dairy farmers to investigate animal welfare risks associated with increasing scale of production

Although large herds (more than 500 cows) only represent 13% of Australian dairy farms, they represent more than 35% of the cows milked. A survey of Australian dairy farmers was conducted to assess relationships between herd size and known or proposed risk factors for adverse animal welfare outcomes in Australian dairy herds in relation to […]

Dairy farmers’ use and non-use values in animal welfare: Determining the empirical content and structure with anchored best-worst scaling

In this study, we sought to identify empirically the types of use and non-use values that motivate dairy farmers in their work relating to animal welfare of dairy cows. We also sought to identify how they prioritize between these use and non-use values. Use values are derived from productivity considerations; non-use values are derived from […]

Human-animal interactions and safety during dairy cattle handling-Comparing moving cows to milking and hoof trimming

Cattle handling is a dangerous activity on dairy farms, and cows are a major cause of injuries to livestock handlers. Even if dairy cows are generally tranquil and docile, when situations occur that they perceive or remember as aversive, they may become agitated and hazardous to handle. This study aimed to compare human-animal interactions, cow […]

A prospective exploration of farm, farmer, and animal characteristics in human-animal relationships: An epidemiological survey

Human-animal relationships are essential for dairy farming. They affect work comfort and efficiency, as well as milk production. A poor human-animal relationship can result in stress and accidents to both animals and caretakers and needs to be improved. However, many studies have demonstrated the multifactoriality of these relationships. We aimed at assessing the relative importance […]