Aggregating animal welfare indicators: can it be done in a transparent and ethically robust way?

A central aim of animal welfare science is to be able to compare the effects of different ways of keeping, managing or treating animals based on welfare indicators. A system to aggregate the different indicators is therefore needed. However, developing such a system gives rise to serious challenges. Here, we focus specifically on the ethical […]

Animal health and welfare state and technical efficiency of dairy farms: possible synergies

This study sought to investigate whether animal health and welfare state and changes were associated with technical efficiency in a sample of 34 Austrian dairy farms. Health and welfare were assessed twice using the Welfare Quality® (WQ) assessment protocol for dairy cattle. Following a baseline welfare assessment, farm-specific health and welfare planning was conducted on […]

Application of the Welfare Quality® protocol to assess growing pigs kept under intensive conditions in Spain

This study is a first step toward the validation of the Welfare Quality® protocol for assessing welfare of growing pigs kept on farms. The feasibility and sensitivity of the entire protocol was evaluated on 30 conventional farms in Spain, and a methodology to identify farms with particular welfare problems was proposed. A total of 64,496 […]

Inter- and intra-observer reliability of experienced and inexperienced observers for the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment in dairy cattle

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) is part of the Welfare Quality® protocol for dairy cattle, although its inter- and intra-observer reliability have not been reported. This study evaluated inter- and intra-observer reliability of the QBA for dairy cattle in experienced and inexperienced observers using videos. Eight experienced observers performed the QBA (20 descriptors) twice for 16 […]

Assessment time of the Welfare Quality protocol for dairy cattle

The Welfare Quality® (WQ) protocols are increasingly used for assessing welfare of farm animals. These protocols are time consuming (about one day per farm) and, therefore, costly. Our aim was to assess the scope for reduction of on-farm assessment time of the WQ protocol for dairy cattle. Seven trained observers quantified animal-based indicators of the […]

Can animal-based welfare assessment be simplified? A comparison of the Welfare Quality® protocol for dairy cattle and the simpler and less timeconsuming protocol developed by the Danish Cattle Federation

Welfare assessment protocols using primarily animal-based measures are believed to give valid information about the welfare of animals. However, they tend to be time consuming and therefore costly, thus in practice there is often considerable reluctance to use them. In the present study, the relatively quick to use, simple but non-validated welfare assessment protocol for […]

Implementing Welfare Quality® in UK assurance schemes: evaluating the challenges

This paper presents an account of a Welfare Quality® assessment of 92 dairy farms carried out by seven experienced assessors. The aim was to evaluate the potential of the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol with respect to its uptake by UK farm assurance schemes. Data collection, and measure aggregation were performed according to the Welfare Quality® […]

Welfare Quality® parameters do not always reflect hen behaviour across the lay cycle in non-cage laying hens

The integration of outcome-based measurements to animal welfare assessment programmes can provide a new perspective on the individual animal’s experience. Identifying variability in individual experiences can facilitate understanding of animals at the periphery of the welfare spectrum, compared to those at the average. Welfare Quality® physical measurements and behavioural observations were taken from the same […]

Broiler chicken welfare assessment in GLOBALGAP® certified and non-certified farms in Brazil

Regarding broilers, Brazil is the third largest producer and the leading chicken meat exporter in the world. Independent certifications are required by some importers in the European Union (EU) to guarantee compliance with minimum welfare requirements. Our objective was to compare broiler chicken welfare in GLOBALGAP® certified (C) and non-certified (N) intensive farms in the […]

Application of the Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment system in Finnish pig production, part I: Identification of principal components

The Welfare Quality® (WQ) on-farm welfare assessment protocols for fattening pigs (n = 95 farms) and sows, as well as suckling piglets (n = 103 farms), were applied on Finnish farms. In order to identify distinct types of welfare problems (WPTs) Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was applied to the pooled animal-based items within both categories […]