Welfare Assessment in Tunisian Dairy Herds by Animal-Linked Parameters and Performance Efficiency

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie, 43, Rue Charles Nicole Cite, Mahrajene, Tuns, Tunisie

2 Faculté des Science Mathématiques Physiques et Naturelle de Tunis, Campus Universitaire 2092 Tunis, Tunisie

3 Institut National de La Recherche Scientifique, Québec, Canada

4 Institution de La Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur Agricole, Ministère de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Hydrauliques, Tunisie

Abstract

Animal welfare considerations are becoming increasingly important for farming of animals, both in Tunisia and internationally. Practices which may have once been deemed acceptable are now being reassessed in the light of new knowledge and changing attitudes. And a clearly defined concept of welfare is needed for use in precise scientific measurements. If animal welfare is to be compared in different situations or evaluated in a specific situation, it must be assessed in an objective way. Likewise, welfare is a multidimensional concept and its assessment systems have been developed by researchers of the European project Welfare Quality®. These systems should include animal-based measures directly related to animal body condition, health aspects, injuries and behavior. In this context, a Tunisian study was carried out in 35 dairy farms to evaluate welfare quality of Tunisian Holstein population cows through some welfare indicatorsvalidated by the European project Welfare Quality®. The studied sample included 350 females (Holstein; 161 heifers and 189 cows). Avoidance distance (at the feeding rack and inside the stable), body condition, lameness, fertility, somatic cell count, and milk yield were assessed. The study showed that animals differ in their relationship with the stockholder, performance, and health state, early experience and temperament.

Keywords


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