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Gewählte Doctoral Thesis:

Egezon Zhitia (2017): Animal welfare assessment and potential strategies to improve dairy cattle welfare in Kosovo.
Doctoral Thesis - Institut für Nutztierwissenschaften (NUWI), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 119. UB BOKU obvsg FullText

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
The aims of this study carried out in Kosovo were to assess the attitudes of dairy farmers towards animal welfare and welfare improvement measures as well as the welfare state of dairy cattle, to implement improvement plans in cattle farms and, to study the opinions of farmers and veterinarians regarding intervention thresholds for welfare parameters. Using questionnaires and the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for dairy cattle, the study was conducted on in total 30 dairy farms with tie stalls. In terms of animal welfare, the farmers mostly referred to the health state but also emphasized resource-based indicators such as feed provision and hygiene. Feasibility to implement measures was consistently scored lower than importance. Subjective norms were identified as the strongest predictor for the intentions to implement measures, while attitude towards welfare was only weakly associated with intentions. The major areas of concern relate to comfort around resting (i.e. cleanliness, time needed to lie down) and injuries (e.g. skin alterations, swellings) as well as lameness. Additionally, disbudding of calves without anaesthesia and lack of access to an outdoor run or pasture were identified. After reporting results of the assessment, the farmers focused mostly on hygiene and comfort measures. Implementation rate was 36% after four months. In the farms, which had implemented measures, the proportion of soiled animals and of animals with severe integument alterations significantly decreased. Farmers and veterinarians did not differ in the importance they attributed to most of the welfare criteria used in the present study but behavioural parameters were rated lower than health related measures. Major discrepancies were found for some measures between the intervention thresholds set by the farmers/veterinarians and the true on-farm situation (e.g. markedly higher on-farm prevalences for dirty animals or lameness than thresholds suggested). Long-term studies on health and welfare planning in Kosovo in cooperation with advisory services are recommended.

Betreuer: Winckler Christoph

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