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Assessment of Meat-Type Sheep Welfare Using Animal-Based Measures

Research Laboratory of Ecosystems & Aquatic Resources, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, Carthage University, 43 Avenue Charles Nicolle, Tunis 1082, Tunisia
Department of Animal Sciences, High Agronomic Institute of Chott Mariem, University of Sousse, Sousse 4000, Tunisia
Laboratory ADIPARA, Higher School of Agriculture of Mateur, Road Tabarka-7030, Mateur, Bizerte 7030, Tunisia
Ministry of Agriculture, CRDA Ben Arous, New Medina, Ben Arous 2063, Tunisia
Unit of Functional Physiology and Bio-Resources Valorization (BF-VBR), Higher Institute of Biotechnology of Beja, University of Jendouba, Beja 9000, Tunisia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: María-Luz García and María-José Argente
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2120;
Received: 18 February 2021 / Revised: 8 April 2021 / Accepted: 9 April 2021 / Published: 16 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Body Condition and Productivity, Health and Welfare)
There was every indication that animal welfare will continue to be a major issue affecting livestock farming in the future. The main welfare issues affecting sheep were feeding strategies, health, and diseases. The health problems of sheep are avoidable with good grazing, breeding, and stockmanship. However, sheep must be given adequate supervision to ensure that any welfare issues are quickly noticed and addressed. Assessing animal welfare can be used as management tools by farmers to identify welfare issues and recognize poor welfare.
This study aimed to assess the welfare of Tunisian sheep in extensive sheep production systems using animal-based measures of ewe welfare. This study encompasses the first national survey of sheep welfare in which animal-based outcomes were tested. Animal-based welfare measures were derived from previous welfare protocols. Fifty-two Tunisian farms were studied and a number from 20 to 100 animals by flock were examinated. The whole flock was also observed to detect clinical diseases, lameness, and coughing. The human-animal relationship was selected as welfare indicators. It was evaluated through the avoidance distance test. The average avoidance distance was 10.47 ± 1.23 and 8.12 ± 0.97 m for a novel person and farmer, respectively. The global mean of body condition score (BCS) was 2.4 with 47% of ewes having a BCS of two, which may be associated with an increased risk of nutritional stress, disease, and low productivity. Ten farms had more than 7% of lambs with a low body condition score, which may be an indication of a welfare problem. The results obtained in the present study suggest that the used animal-based measures were the most reliable indicators that can be included in welfare protocols for extensive sheep production systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal-based measures; indicators; sheep welfare; stress animal-based measures; indicators; sheep welfare; stress
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MDPI and ACS Style

M’Hamdi, N.; Darej, C.; Attia, K.; Guesmi, H.; Znaïdi, I.E.A.; Bouraoui, R.; M’Hamdi, H.; Marzouki, L.; Ayadi, M. Assessment of Meat-Type Sheep Welfare Using Animal-Based Measures. Animals 2021, 11, 2120.

AMA Style

M’Hamdi N, Darej C, Attia K, Guesmi H, Znaïdi IEA, Bouraoui R, M’Hamdi H, Marzouki L, Ayadi M. Assessment of Meat-Type Sheep Welfare Using Animal-Based Measures. Animals. 2021; 11(7):2120.

Chicago/Turabian Style

M’Hamdi, Naceur, Cyrine Darej, Khaoula Attia, Hajer Guesmi, Ibrahim E.A. Znaïdi, Rachid Bouraoui, Hajer M’Hamdi, Lamjed Marzouki, and Moez Ayadi. 2021. "Assessment of Meat-Type Sheep Welfare Using Animal-Based Measures" Animals 11, no. 7: 2120.

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