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Welfare Indicators of Milking Sheep and Goats in Commercial Farms in Spain:Evaluation and Differences among Species, Locations and Performances

The objective of this work was to evaluate a system for assessing the welfare of milking sheep and goats in practical farm conditions. The system uses indicators of environmental, management and facilities related welfare. In order to evaluate the animal welfare, 12 indicators ranked in 3 groups were defined: Environment Animal Welfare (EAW, n = 4) (temperature, airflow, ventilation and ammonia load) Management Animal Welfare (MAW, n = 5) (animal load, bedding, comfort, stress and cleanness of animals) and Facilities Animal Welfare (FAW, n = 3) (feeders of concentrate, feeders of forage and watering). All indicators were evaluated from 1 to 10 taking into account objective and subjective criteria. In addition, the average of scores of the three groups (EAW, MAW, and FAW) and the Global Animal Welfare (GAW) score (the average of all the indicators) were also calculated. One hundred and one assessments (49 in goat and 52 in sheep) were carried out in intensive farms in Spain from 2005 to 2011. The indicators were then compared by farm size, geographical location and production level of the farms. Results obtained show the relationships between the welfare indicators and the zoo technical characteristics of the farms.


Bello JM, Arroyo G, Ruiz S, Gonzalez G, Marques F, Mantecon AR, Lavin P

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