Caroprese, Mariangela and Casamassima, Donato and Rassu, Salvatore Pier Giacomo and Napolitano, Fabio and Sevi, Agostino (2009) Monitoring the on-farm welfare of sheep and goats. Italian Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 8 (Suppl. 1), p. 343-354. eISSN 1828-051X. Article.
Schemes for on-farm welfare assessment in sheep and goats are not yet available. Factors responsible for this lack of availability are discussed in the first part of this review. Requisites for reliable methods of welfare assessment to be used in sheep and goat farms are discussed, taking into account the peculiarities of the small ruminant production systems in terms of flock management and farm location. Some housing parameters related to structures, design and micro-environment are reviewed and could be included in schemes of welfare assessment on farm. Human-animal interaction, health status of the animals in terms of body condition scoring, skin and hair conditions, lameness and injuries, and management practices in relation to cleanliness, animal handling and moving, milking procedures and abnormal behaviours, are proposed as potential animal-based indicators. When available, validity, reliability and feasibility of the proposed parameters are discussed. The voluntary adhesion to welfare standards in Sardinia and the application of a scientifically validated protocol in Basilicata are reported as examples of practical experiences.
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