On-farm welfare assessment in dairy goats in the Brazilian Northeast

[Avaliação do bem-estar de cabras leiteiras em fazendas no nordeste brasileiro]

L.O. Leite F.O. Stamm R.A. Souza J.A. Camarinha Filho R.C.M. Garcia About the authors

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to apply a modified AWIN Goat protocol to evaluate and compare the welfare of adult lactating and non-lactating dairy goats at pen and individual levels on small farms located in Ceará, Northeast, Brazil, and to take into consideration the application of this protocol on Brazilian Northeast goat farms. Five farms with Lactating goats (L) and five farms with non-lactating goats (NL) were evaluated. At the first level of welfare assessment, animals were evaluated in the pen and during the second level of welfare assessment, animals were evaluated in the pen and individually. Indicators assessed were animal and resource-based indicators. Significant difference between L and NL on farms was set at P<0.05. Only queuing at feeding indicator showed significant difference (P=0.027) between groups in pens at the first level welfare assessment. On individual assessments, there was significant difference between L and NL regarding body condition score (P=0.003), overgrown claws (P=0.001) and udder asymmetry (P=0.001). The application of a modified AWIN Goat protocol on farms in Ceará was considered positive. In general, these results demonstrated that both groups are submitted to welfare problems in Ceará, although lactating goats present more challenges to cope.

Keywords:
goat welfare; animal production; AWIN protocol; animal-based indicator; resource-based indicator

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil
E-mail: abmvz.artigo@abmvz.org.br