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Farm animal welfare: practical issues

Lameness in dairy cows not only reduces the animals’ welfare but also decreases profits and the efficiency of milk production. Better attention to housing conditions, the amount of forage and, crucially, the health of the hoof will help to reduce the occurrence of lameness.

Lameness (and associated painful leg disorders) in broiler chickens can be reduced by modifying the diet and using of two diets in a sequential feeding regime. This results in a win-win situation for chickens and farmers.

Improving piglet survival: farmers suffer an average 20 per cent neonatal mortality per litter of piglets, which represents both a significant animal welfare issue and an economic loss to the farmer. WQ has developed  various strategies to improve piglet survival, including recommendations for targeted genetic selection. The research also demonstrated the potential for phasing out the farrowing crate in the future.

Reducing social stress in cattle in feed bunks: research revealed that Friesian calves that had to face strong competition for food during their first four weeks took ten days longer than normal to reach their required slaughter weight – reducing such competition provides another example where better animal welfare conditions can enhance the economics of farming.


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors gratefully acknowledge from the European Community financial participation under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities, for the Support Action "EAWP" European Animal Welfare Platform, Grant Agreement KBBE-212326.

DISCLAIMER
This publication reflects only the author(s)'views and the European Community is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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