Welfare Assessment of Dairy Cows in Small Farms in Bangladesh
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton 4343, Australia
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 2202, Bangladesh
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 February 2020 / Revised: 26 February 2020 / Accepted: 26 February 2020 / Published: 28 February 2020
Welfare assessment is common in large, intensive dairy farms in the developed world, but has been little explored in small dairy farms in developing countries. We utilized and modified parts of an assessment protocol used for large farms to survey hunger, injuries, and disease as important components of the welfare of dairy cows in 70 small farms in Bangladesh. The incidence of body lesions was relatively high, but few cows were lame, compared with most surveys of intensive dairy farms in developed countries. Cows with common dairy diseases were thinner and produced less milk. Few farmers understood the concept of animal welfare and most did not vaccinate their cows against common diseases. We conclude that there were some similar problems in the Bangladeshi farms to those observed in large, intensive dairy farms, but also some differences. We suggest that it would be beneficial to improve the floors, bedding, and health status of cows, which would both increase their productivity and welfare.