Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessing Extensive Semi-Arid Rangeland Beef Cow-Calf Welfare in Namibia: Part 1: Comparison between farm production system’s effect on the welfare of beef cows

Version 1 : Received: 3 December 2020 / Approved: 4 December 2020 / Online: 4 December 2020 (11:11:53 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Kaurivi, Y.B.; Laven, R.; Parkinson, T.; Hickson, R.; Stafford, K. Assessing Extensive Semi-Arid Rangeland Beef Cow–Calf Welfare in Namibia: Part 1: Comparison Between Farm Production System’s Effect on the Welfare of Beef Cows. Animals 2021, 11, 165. Kaurivi, Y.B.; Laven, R.; Parkinson, T.; Hickson, R.; Stafford, K. Assessing Extensive Semi-Arid Rangeland Beef Cow–Calf Welfare in Namibia: Part 1: Comparison Between Farm Production System’s Effect on the Welfare of Beef Cows. Animals 2021, 11, 165.

Journal reference: Animals 2021, 11, 165
DOI: 10.3390/ani11010165

Abstract

A proposed animal welfare assessment protocol for semi-arid rangeland-based cow-calf systems in Namibia combined 40 measures from a protocol developed for beef cattle in New Zealand with additional Namibia-specific measures. Preliminary validation of the protocol had been undertaken with five herds in one semi-commercial village. The aim of the current study was to apply this protocol and compare animal welfare across three cow-calf production systems in Namibia. A total of 2529 beef cows were evaluated during pregnancy testing in the yards of 17 commercial, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal (total: 55) herds followed by an assessment of farm resources and a questionnaire-guided interview. Non-parametric tests were used to evaluate the difference in the welfare scores between the production systems. The results indicated a discrepancy of animal welfare between the three farm types, with a marked separation of commercial farms from semi-commercial, and communal village farms in the least. The differences in these production systems was mainly driven by economic gains through access to better beef export market for commercial farms and semi-commercial villages, as well as by the differences in the available grazing land, facility designs/quality and traditional customs in the village systems. The results indicate an advantage of commercialisation over communalisation.

Subject Areas

animal welfare assessment; beef cow systems; semi-arid rangelands; Namibia

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