Kaurivi, Y.B.; Laven, R.; Hickson, R.; Parkinson, T.; Stafford, K. Assessing Extensive Semi-Arid Rangeland Beef Cow-Calf Welfare in Namibia. Part 2: Categorisation and Scoring of Welfare Assessment Measures. Animals2021, 11, 250.
Kaurivi, Y.B.; Laven, R.; Hickson, R.; Parkinson, T.; Stafford, K. Assessing Extensive Semi-Arid Rangeland Beef Cow-Calf Welfare in Namibia. Part 2: Categorisation and Scoring of Welfare Assessment Measures. Animals 2021, 11, 250.
The study aimed to develop standards for a welfare assessment protocol, by validating potential categorisation thresholds for assessment of beef farms in various beef cow-calf production systems in Namibia. Forty measures combined from a New Zealand-based protocol plus Namibia-specific measures, were applied on 55 beef farms (17 commercial farms, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal village farms) during pregnancy testing, and a questionnaire guided interview. The categorised measures on a 3-point welfare score of 0: good 1: marginal and 2: poor/unacceptable welfare were subsequently compared with derivation of thresholds based upon the poorest 15% and best 50% of herds for each measure. Overall combined thresholds of continuous measures across the 3 farm types, showed 10/22 measures that posed welfare compromise across Namibia, where commercial farms had 4/22 measures and semi-commercial and communal village farms had 12/22 and 11/22 respectively with high thresholds. Most measures-imposed thresholds were retained because of significant importance to welfare of animals and preventiveness of the traits, while leniency was given to adjust good feeding and mortality measures to signify periods of drought. Handling measures (fearful, falling/lying) and abrasions thresholds were adjusted to reflect the temporary stress caused by infrequent cattle handling, and faulty yard designs/design and possible cattle breed influence on handling. Hence, the country needs prioritised investigation of underlying contributing factors and remediation to reduce the high thresholds.
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