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16 July 2009

Scientific opinion on welfare of dairy cows in relation to leg and locomotion problems based on a risk assessment with special reference to the impact of housing, feeding, management and genetic selection

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Animal Health and Animal Welfare Panel was asked to deliver a Scientific Opinion on the welfare of dairy cows, considering whether current farming and husbandry systems comply with the requirements of and welfare of dairy cows from the pathological, zootechnical, physiological and behavioural points of view. Due to the great diversity of topics and the huge amount of scientific data, it was proposed that separate scientific opinions on different welfare subjects would be more adequate and effective. Therefore, it was agreed to subdivide the risk assessment process into four different subjects: i) metabolic and reproductive disorders, ii) udder disorders, iii) leg and locomotion problems and iiii) behaviour, fear and pain. A fifth scientific opinion integrates conclusions and recommendations from the scientific report with the outcomes from the four separate risk assessments. The scientific opinion on the welfare of dairy cows in relation to leg and locomotion problems, based on a risk assessment with special reference to the impact of housing, feeding, management and genetic selection was adopted by the AHAW Panel on 05 June 2009. In the risk assessment four different farming scenarios were considered: 1) cubicle houses; 2) tie-stalls; 3) straw yards; 4) pasture. Identified hazards were classified under (a) housing, (b) on leg and locomotion problems in dairy cows nutrition and feeding, (c) management and (d) genetics. The risk assessment outcomes for each of these four classes of hazards were determined and the four different farming scenarios compared. The EFSA Journal (2009) 1142, 2-57
Author/Organization: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
Year: 2009
Topics: animal health, cattle, dairy production, welfare on the farm