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Animals 2016, 6(1), 5;

Welfare Conditions of Donkeys in Europe: Initial Outcomes from On-Farm Assessment

Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marina von Keyserlingk
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 5 January 2016 / Published: 8 January 2016
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This paper is a baseline study to present the initial outcomes of data collected in a sample of EU donkey farms using the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for donkeys, comprehensive of 22 valid, reliable and feasible animal-based indicators. A total of 20 donkey facilities (N = 12 in Italy and N = 8 in United Kingdom) were visited and 278 donkeys of different breed, aged 2–45 years, were assessed. Three assessors underwent a common training period to learn how to perform and score all the indicators included in the protocol. Data was collected using digitalized systems and downloaded to a database. A descriptive statistic for each welfare indicator was calculated. The authors found recurrent issues: 25% of donkeys were moderately over weight; although most of the assessed animals had good quality hoof care, 15.16% of them presented some signs of neglect, such as overgrowth and/or incorrect trimming; 18.05% of donkeys showed an avoidance reaction to an approaching human in the avoidance distance test. The protocol has proven to be applicable in different management conditions and for donkeys of different attitude. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal-based indicators; animal welfare; AWIN; equine; donkey animal-based indicators; animal welfare; AWIN; equine; donkey

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Dai, F.; Dalla Costa, E.; Murray, L.M.A.; Canali, E.; Minero, M. Welfare Conditions of Donkeys in Europe: Initial Outcomes from On-Farm Assessment. Animals 2016, 6, 5.

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