Assessment of Welfare Problems in Finnish Cattle and Pig Farms Based on Official Inspection Reports
Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66 (Agnes Sjöbergin katu 2), 00014 Helsingin Yliopisto, Finland
Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 57, 00014 Helsingin Yliopisto, Finland
Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 57 (Viikintie 49), 00014 Helsingin Yliopisto, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
Official on-farm inspections are carried out throughout the European Union every year to ensure farm compliance with animal welfare standards. The aim of this study was to analyze Finnish inspection data in order to find out how well cattle and pig farms comply with animal welfare standards, to reveal the most common non-compliances and to identify possible farm risk factors. About every fourth inspected Finnish cattle and pig farm did not comply with the animal welfare standards. Examples of factors that increased the risk of non-compliance were small herd size, tie-stall housing and outdoor rearing. Inadequate lying area in cattle farms and a lack of enrichment material in pig farms were the most common non-compliances. The regional differences found may indicate differences in inspectors’ interpretations or ways in conducting inspections. As the official inspection reports contain valuable information about the welfare problems on farms, the reports should be better utilized in risk analysis, in targeting farmer education, and in making the inspections more uniform.