Dairy Cow Welfare

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Welfare".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019) | Viewed by 43737

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK
Interests: animal behaviour and welfare; animal contest behaviour; sexual selection; animal personality; lateralization; cooperation; animal signals/displays; sex differences in behaviour; behaviour related to conservation; animal welfare; dairy cow welfare; effects of early life stress (including prenatal); aggression in pigs; tail biting in pigs; effects of large litter size in pigs
* Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With expanding markets for dairy products and a growing human population there has been a considerable intensification of dairy farming, with implications for cow welfare. This intensification has occurred in a range of production environments from low input pasture-based to high input continuously-housed systems, with welfare benefits and challenges associated with each. The challenges are compounded by increasing herd sizes and difficulties securing sufficient skilled labour. With ambitions of “sustainable intensification” it is important to recognise that animal welfare is a fundamental pillar of sustainable agriculture. Moreover, while in the past animal welfare science and policy has tended to focus on avoiding negative states, the importance of providing positive welfare and a life worth living are now increasingly recognised.

Health is also an important component of animal welfare, posing major challenges in the dairy industry, including lameness, mastitis, uterine and production diseases. The dairy industry is informed by a strong track record of research related to production and health. However, as the industry continues to develop and evolve there is an ongoing need for animal welfare science.

Animal welfare research is a multidisciplinary science. Therefore, this Special Issue welcomes original research papers that seek to understand and address the welfare needs of dairy cows in a range of production environments. Manuscripts addressing any aspect of dairy cow welfare are welcome. Topics of special interest include:

  • Precision livestock farming (PLF) and using innovative technology and sensors to support welfare.
  • Behavioural approaches to understanding welfare, including preference testing and affective states, both positive and negative.
  • The role of the production system and housing on dairy cow welfare, including environmental enrichment.
  • Using physiological approaches to understand and assess welfare, including biomarkers.
  • Genetics, genomics, selective breeding and dairy cow welfare.
  • Links between health, veterinary medicine and cow welfare.
  • Nutritional strategies to support dairy cow welfare.   

Dr. Gareth Arnott
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Dairy cow
  • Welfare
  • Precision Livestock Farming
  • Behaviour
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Physiology
  • Housing
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Breeding

Published Papers (11 papers)

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13 pages, 1951 KiB  
Article
Welfare Challenges of Dairy Cows in India Identified Through On-Farm Observations
by Siobhan Mullan, Surej J. Bunglavan, Elizabeth Rowe, David C. Barrett, Michael R. F. Lee, Deepa Ananth and John Tarlton
Animals 2020, 10(4), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040586 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4071
Abstract
India has the largest population of dairy cattle in the world at over 48 million animals, yet there has been little formal assessment of their welfare reported. Through observations of dairy cows on 38 farms in Kerala, India, we aimed to investigate the [...] Read more.
India has the largest population of dairy cattle in the world at over 48 million animals, yet there has been little formal assessment of their welfare reported. Through observations of dairy cows on 38 farms in Kerala, India, we aimed to investigate the welfare of these animals and the practicality of animal-based assessments within common farming systems. Substantial welfare challenges were identified. All cows were close-tied (less than 1 m length) via a halter that pierced the nasal septum when housed, which was for the entire day (50% of farms) or part thereof. When outside access was available, it was also usually restricted by close-tying, longline tether, or hobbling. Ad libitum water was only available on 22% of farms and food access was also restricted (mean of 4.3 h/day). Future work should focus on encouraging dairy farmers in India to improve the welfare of their dairy cattle by: ceasing to tie and tether cattle (or at least providing tied and tethered cattle with exercise opportunities); providing unlimited access to drinking water and a readier supply of food (especially quality green forage/fodder); cleaning housing more frequently; providing strategies to prevent heat stress; breeding cattle suited to environmental conditions and with increased resistance to heat stress; and carrying out welfare assessments more regularly using a validated protocol and rectifying the causes of poor welfare. Such changes could substantially improve the welfare of tens of millions of cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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16 pages, 642 KiB  
Article
The Potential of Post-Mortem Carcass Assessments in Reflecting the Welfare of Beef and Dairy Cattle
by Melody Knock and Grace A. Carroll
Animals 2019, 9(11), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110959 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3937
Abstract
There is increasing interest in utilizing meat inspection data to help inform farmers of the health and welfare of their herds. The aim of this study was to determine whether ante-mortem measures of welfare in beef and dairy cattle (N = 305) were [...] Read more.
There is increasing interest in utilizing meat inspection data to help inform farmers of the health and welfare of their herds. The aim of this study was to determine whether ante-mortem measures of welfare in beef and dairy cattle (N = 305) were associated with post-mortem measures at a United Kingdom (UK) abattoir. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the ability of ante-mortem measures of lameness, cleanliness, skin lesions, hair loss and body condition in predicting hot carcass weight and the frequency of carcass bruising. For beef cattle, lameness score (p = 0.04), cleanliness score (p = 0.02) and age (p < 0.001), were predictors of carcass bruise score while lameness score (p = 0.03), body condition (p = 0.01) and sex (p < 0.001) were predictors of hot carcass weight. For dairy cattle, sex (p < 0.001) and slaughter day (p < 0.001) were predictors of carcass bruise score while skin lesion score (p = 0.01), body condition (p < 0.001), age (p < 0.001), slaughter day (p < 0.001) and number of moves (p = 0.01) were predictors of hot carcass weight. These results suggest that recording carcass weight and carcass bruising at meat inspection may have potential as a general indicator of health and welfare status in cattle. However, animal characteristics and variables, such as slaughter day and abattoir staffing, should be taken into account when interpreting the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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16 pages, 1850 KiB  
Article
Pasture Access Affects Behavioral Indicators of Wellbeing in Dairy Cows
by Andrew Crump, Kirsty Jenkins, Emily J. Bethell, Conrad P. Ferris and Gareth Arnott
Animals 2019, 9(11), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110902 - 1 Nov 2019
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 6087
Abstract
Dairy cows are increasingly housed indoors, either year-round or for long stretches over the winter and around parturition. This may create health and welfare issues. In cattle, lying and walking are highly motivated, and herds synchronize lying behavior when they have comfortable surfaces [...] Read more.
Dairy cows are increasingly housed indoors, either year-round or for long stretches over the winter and around parturition. This may create health and welfare issues. In cattle, lying and walking are highly motivated, and herds synchronize lying behavior when they have comfortable surfaces and little competition for space. Lying and walking activity can, therefore, indicate good welfare. Using a repeated measures crossover design, we gave 29 Holstein–Friesian dairy cows 18 days of overnight pasture access (PAS treatment) and 18 days of indoor housing (PEN treatment). Accelerometers recorded their lying and locomotory behavior. We measured behavioral synchrony with Fleiss’ Kappa and analyzed the accelerometry data using linear mixed models. Compared to the PEN treatment, the PAS treatment had longer overnight lying durations (χ21 = 27.51, p < 0.001), fewer lying bouts (χ21 = 22.53, p < 0.001), longer lying bouts (χ21 = 25.53, p < 0.001), and fewer transitions up or down (χ21 = 16.83, p < 0.001). Herd lying behavior was also more synchronous at pasture (χ21 = 230.25, p < 0.001). In addition, nightly step counts were higher in the PAS treatment than the PEN treatment (χ21 = 2946.31, p < 0.001). These results suggest pasture access improves dairy cow welfare by increasing comfort, reducing competition and boredom, and facilitating motivated behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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14 pages, 493 KiB  
Article
Performance and Behavioural Responses of Group Housed Dairy Calves to Two Different Weaning Methods
by Gillian Scoley, Alan Gordon and Steven Morrison
Animals 2019, 9(11), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110895 - 1 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2877
Abstract
The weaning of dairy calves is a significant stressor which can impact on calf performance and welfare. However, many traditional methods of assessing the effects of stressors can be invasive and impractical for farmers. This study aimed to use a combination of non-invasive [...] Read more.
The weaning of dairy calves is a significant stressor which can impact on calf performance and welfare. However, many traditional methods of assessing the effects of stressors can be invasive and impractical for farmers. This study aimed to use a combination of non-invasive monitoring technologies alongside traditional measures of calf performance to examine the impact of two contrasting weaning methods commonly used on dairy farms in the United Kingdom. Ninety group-housed Holstein Friesian calves were allocated to one of two weaning methods: (i) gradual weaning (GW) with volume of milk replacer (MR) stepping down from 36 days of age and complete withdrawal of MR at 57 days of age and (ii) abrupt weaning (AW) with consistent daily volume of milk replacer and complete withdrawal of MR at 50 days of age. Feeding regimes were such that calves from both treatments were offered the same total amount of milk powder. Gradually weaned calves displayed increased solid feed intake at an earlier age when compared with AW calves. Feed conversion efficiency (FCE) was reduced in gradually weaned calves between days 36 and 49. However, there was no difference in live weight (LWT) or average daily gain (ADG) throughout this period. Abrupt weaning at 50 days of age resulted in decreased ADG and FCE between days 50 and 56. However, there were no treatment differences in ADG between days 57 and 62. Live weight tended to be increased by 2.2 kg in GW calves when compared with AW calves at the end of experiment on day 63. Frequency of unrewarded visits to the milk feeder throughout the pre-wean period was consistently increased in GW calves. Daily lying time was reduced in AW compared with GW calves in the days following abrupt weaning (days 50–55). However, these differences did not persist between days 57 and 62. Heart rate variability (HRV) tended to be decreased in GW compared with AW calves in the period following complete withdrawal of milk replacer. Findings from the current study suggest that calves offered the same total amount of milk powder can be weaned either gradually from 36 days of age or abruptly at 50 days of age without significant impact to live weight at 63 days of age. However, both behavioural and physiological data collected using the methods described could suggest that gradual weaning of calves from 36 days of age results in an increase in underlying frustration. This study highlights the potential of using a combination of non-invasive monitoring technologies in assessing calf response to common management practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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10 pages, 1162 KiB  
Article
Artificial Grass as an Alternative Laneway Surface for Dairy Cows Walking to Pasture
by Stephanie Buijs, Gillian Scoley and Deborah McConnell
Animals 2019, 9(11), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110891 - 1 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2753
Abstract
Softer surfaces can alleviate pressure on the claw during claw–surface contact, which is especially important for cows with painful claws. The benefits of softer barn floors are well known, but as cows often walk long distances twice daily between pasture and parlour, laneway [...] Read more.
Softer surfaces can alleviate pressure on the claw during claw–surface contact, which is especially important for cows with painful claws. The benefits of softer barn floors are well known, but as cows often walk long distances twice daily between pasture and parlour, laneway surfaces are also important. In trial 1, we evaluated the gait of 69 cows on a standard (stone dust-over-gravel) laneway and an artificial grass laneway. Greater speed and longer strides were interpreted as indicators of a more suitable surface. Walking speed was greater on artificial grass than on the standard laneway (p = 0.001, median artificial grass: 1.46 m/s [interquartile range (IQR): 1.39–1.54], standard 1.40 m/s [IQR: 1.30–1.48]). No significant stride length increase was detected (p > 0.10, 158 cm [IQR:151–166] versus 155 cm [IQR:149–164]). In trial 2, we evaluated cow preference by giving 66 pairs of cows four consecutive choices between the standard laneway and artificial grass. Artificial grass was preferred overall (median stretches of artificial grass used out of a maximum of 4: 3 [IQR:2–4], p < 0.001). This preference was significantly (p = 0.001) stronger in lame cows (median: 3 [IQR:3–4]), than in sound ones (median: 2 [IQR:2–3]). Preference was also affected by the side of the laneway covered with artificial grass. Our results suggest that artificial grass improves the welfare of dairy cows walking to and from pasture, with lame cows benefiting to a greater extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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10 pages, 569 KiB  
Article
Social Environment and Individual Differences in Feeding Behavior Are Associated with Risk of Endometritis in Dairy Cows
by Alexander Thompson, Kathryn L. Proudfoot, Becca Franks and Marina A.G. von Keyserlingk
Animals 2019, 9(10), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100828 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2636
Abstract
Our aim was to determine whether individual differences in feeding and social behavior in different social environments affect health outcomes in dairy cows. We used eight groups of four animals per treatment assigned to either a ‘predictable’ or an ‘unpredictable’ and competitive social [...] Read more.
Our aim was to determine whether individual differences in feeding and social behavior in different social environments affect health outcomes in dairy cows. We used eight groups of four animals per treatment assigned to either a ‘predictable’ or an ‘unpredictable’ and competitive social environment. Predictable cows were given free access to six feed bins with no change in feed delivery times; whereas, the unpredictable cows were required to share one feed bin with one resident cow and morning feed was delayed 0, 1, 2, or 3 h every other day. On alternate days, the unpredictable cows were also re-assigned to a new bin and a new resident partner. Low daily dry matter intake (DMI) was a risk factor for cytological endometritis in predictable cows (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval): 0.17 (0.02, 0.53)), but low daily DMI was protective for unpredictable cows (OR: 1.93 (1.09, 4.14)). Although low rate of DMI (kg/min) was a risk factor for cytological endometritis for predictable cows (OR: 4.2 × 10−101 (8.6 × 10−206, 4.8 × 10−30)) it was unrelated to disease for unpredictable cows. There were no associations between feed bin visits or percentage of non-nutritive visits with the likelihood of cytological endometritis. This is the first evidence that individual differences in feeding behavior influence cytological endometritis risk in dairy cows, but the direction and magnitude of these effects is dependent on the social environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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18 pages, 764 KiB  
Article
Using Non-Invasive Monitoring Technologies to Capture Behavioural, Physiological and Health Responses of Dairy Calves to Different Nutritional Regimes during the First Ten Weeks of Life
by Gillian Scoley, Alan Gordon and Steven Morrison
Animals 2019, 9(10), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100760 - 2 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the use of non-invasive monitoring technologies as a means of capturing behavioural, physiological and health responses of calves allocated to different nutritional regimes. Seventy-four Holstein Friesian calves were individually penned and allocated to receive either high (HML) or [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the use of non-invasive monitoring technologies as a means of capturing behavioural, physiological and health responses of calves allocated to different nutritional regimes. Seventy-four Holstein Friesian calves were individually penned and allocated to receive either high (HML) or conventional (CML) milk replacer (MR) levels between 5–70 days of age. Additionally calves were allocated to one of four forage treatments: (i) chopped straw offered between 14–70 days of age (CS14), (ii) chopped straw offered between 56–70 days of age (CS56), (iii) grass silage offered between 56–70 days of age (GS56), and (iv) no forage in the pre-wean period (NF). A representative sample of calves from each treatment were fitted with activity sensors and heart rate monitors throughout the experimental period to examine lying behaviour and heart rate variability, respectively. Thermal images of the eye and rectal area of each calf were taken 5 days/week between 5–77 days of age. Faecal and respiratory scoring of each individual calf was carried out on a daily basis throughout the experimental period. Milk replacer feeding level had limited effects on measures of calf health, although HML calves tended to have an increased likelihood for receiving treatment for scour than CML calves. Daily lying time (min/d) was lower in HML calves following reduction in MR feeding frequency at 43 days of age and weaning at 71 days of age when compared with CML calves. Additionally, HML calves displayed a lower heart rate variability following weaning, this suggestive of increased stress load. There were limited effects of forage treatment, however, CS14 calves displayed a greater daily lying time following MR step-down at 68 days of age, this potentially indicating increased rumination. Results of the present study highlight the benefits of using remote monitoring technologies as a means of detecting behavioural and physiological changes as a result of nutritional management strategy in individually housed dairy calves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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10 pages, 523 KiB  
Article
Spinal Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Damage Mediate Chronic Pain in Lame Dairy Cows
by Daniel Herzberg, Pablo Strobel, Ricardo Chihuailaf, Alfredo Ramirez-Reveco, Heine Müller, Marianne Werner and Hedie Bustamante
Animals 2019, 9(9), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090693 - 17 Sep 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3413
Abstract
Lameness in dairy cows is a worldwide prevalent disease with a negative impact on animal welfare and herd economy. Oxidative damage and antioxidant system dysfunction are common features of many CNS diseases, including chronic pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Lameness in dairy cows is a worldwide prevalent disease with a negative impact on animal welfare and herd economy. Oxidative damage and antioxidant system dysfunction are common features of many CNS diseases, including chronic pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative damage markers in the spinal cord of dairy cows with chronic inflammatory lameness. Locomotion score was performed in order to select cows with chronic lameness. Dorsal horn spinal cord samples were obtained post mortem from lumbar segments (L2–L5), and ROS, malondialdehyde (MDA), and carbonyl groups were measured along with the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and total antioxidant response (TAR). Lame cows had increased levels of ROS, MDA, and carbonyl groups, while no differences were observed between lame and non-lame cows in SOD, GPx, CAT, and TAR activity. We conclude that painful chronic inflammatory lameness in dairy cows is associated with an increase in ROS, MDA, and carbonyl groups. Nonetheless, an association between ROS generation and dysfunction of the antioxidant system, as previously proposed, could not be established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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20 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Avoidance Distance in Sheltered Cows and Its Association with Other Welfare Parameters
by Arvind Sharma and Clive J. C. Phillips
Animals 2019, 9(7), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070396 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3348
Abstract
The human–animal relationship is an important welfare parameter in animal welfare assessment in cows, and the avoidance distance of cows to a stranger at the feed bunk is measured to assess this relationship. The assessment of the human–animal relationship in cow shelters in [...] Read more.
The human–animal relationship is an important welfare parameter in animal welfare assessment in cows, and the avoidance distance of cows to a stranger at the feed bunk is measured to assess this relationship. The assessment of the human–animal relationship in cow shelters in India, where old, unproductive, and abandoned cows are sheltered, is important to explore the welfare of cows in these shelters. The cows observed were of indigenous Indian breeds and breeds which were crosses between indigenous breeds and pure bred exotic cows. The human–animal contact in this context is of particular interest for welfare assessment as traditional Indian farming and sheltering systems involves regular close human–animal contact. In a cross-sectional study across 6 states, 54 cow shelters were visited and 30 cows in each shelter were randomly selected (1620 in total) for the assessment of avoidance distance and other cow-based (27 parameters) and resource-based (15 parameters) welfare parameters. Avoidance distance was assessed 1 h after morning feeding. Cows standing at the feeding manger were approached from the front at a rate of one step/s, starting 2 m away from the manger. The distance between the assessor’s hand and the cow’s head was estimated at the moment the cow moved away and turned its head, using a four-point scale (0, touched; 1, 0–50 cm; 2, 51–100 cm; and 3, >100 cm). The majority, 52%, of the cows allowed touch by the assessor and another 32% allowed approach within 50 cm, demonstrating tolerance, or even solicitation of close human–animal relationships by the cows. Avoidance distance increased with the proportion of cows with dirty hind limbs, tarsal joint swellings, and hair loss, and the extent of rumen fill. There was also evidence of reduced avoidance distances in cows with high levels of body condition score (BCS), dirty flanks, tarsal joint ulceration, carpal joint injuries, diarrhoea, hampered respiration, lesions on the body due to traumatic injuries, and body coat condition, probably as a result of moving difficulties. The avoidance distance was thus related to the health and welfare of the cows, providing a vital insight into the factors affecting human–animal contact in the shelters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
13 pages, 1338 KiB  
Article
The Use of Infrared Thermography for the Monitoring of Udder Teat Stress Caused by Milking Machines
by Francesco Maria Tangorra, Veronica Redaelli, Fabio Luzi and Mauro Zaninelli
Animals 2019, 9(6), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060384 (registering DOI) - 22 Jun 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 5218
Abstract
The aim of this study was to test infrared thermography (IRT) as a possible tool for scoring teat color changes after cluster removal; thus, indirectly, to classify the short-term stress of teats caused by milking machines. Thermographic images (n = 137) from [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to test infrared thermography (IRT) as a possible tool for scoring teat color changes after cluster removal; thus, indirectly, to classify the short-term stress of teats caused by milking machines. Thermographic images (n = 137) from three farms were collected and evaluated to calculate the average and maximum skin surface temperatures (SSTs) at the base, center, and tip of each teat (Tavg,B, Tavg,C, Tavg,T, Tmax,B, Tmax,C, and Tmax,T). Obtained results confirmed a significant relationship between the indicators Tavg, Tmax and the levels of teat color change (level one: pink-colored teat; level two: red-colored teat; level three: blue or purple-colored teat). Nevertheless, when a teat was considered to be stressed because its scoring fell in level 3 of the color-change scale used, sensitivity and specificity in the classification of the teat status ranged respectively between 45.6% and 54.3%, and 54.4% and 59.2%, for the indicators Tavg; and 56.5% and 60.9%, and 59.7% and 61.8%, for the indicators Tmax. When a teat was considered stressed because its scoring fell between the levels 2 and 3 of the scale adopted, sensitivity and specificity were between 49.0% and 55.8%, and 58.3% and 61.8%, for the indicators Tavg; and 55.8% and 59.9%, and 60.6% and 61.4%, for the indicators Tmax. As a consequence, the low values of sensitivity and specificity do not seem to justify the development of an ad hoc infrared device for the monitoring of udder teat stress. Nonetheless, this technology can be a viable solution for a preliminary evaluation of the mechanical stress of teats if a milking system would be equipped with an infrared sensor already in place for other purposes (e.g., the monitoring of udder health status). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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14 pages, 288 KiB  
Commentary
Protection of Dairy Cattle in the EU: State of Play and Directions for Policymaking from a Legal and Animal Advocacy Perspective
by Elena Nalon and Peter Stevenson
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121066 - 2 Dec 2019
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5545
Abstract
With the exception of a detailed Directive for calves, the welfare of dairy cattle is not regulated by species-specific legislation in the European Union. Their basic protection falls under the provisions of Directive 98/58/EC, also known as the “General Farm Animals Directive”. Article [...] Read more.
With the exception of a detailed Directive for calves, the welfare of dairy cattle is not regulated by species-specific legislation in the European Union. Their basic protection falls under the provisions of Directive 98/58/EC, also known as the “General Farm Animals Directive”. Article 3 of this Directive states: “Member States shall make provision to ensure that the owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care and to ensure that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury”. However, recent reports show that the welfare of dairy cows in the EU is not sufficiently monitored and that serious problems persist. Lameness, mastitis, cubicle design, flooring, cleanliness, and permanent tethering remain critical areas. We argue that, to demonstrate compliance with Article 3 of Directive 98/58, farmers and Member States should urgently address these issues. The increasing proportion of cows that are never allowed to graze and high milk yields are also reasons for concern and will need to be addressed as a matter of priority in future EU guides to good practice and, eventually, legislation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
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