• Abstract

    Animal welfare is a multidimensional concept that comprises animal health, mental state and natural living conditions and plays an essential role in dairy production. On dairy farms, animal welfare can be assessed with different available protocols. The goal of this study was to describe the animal welfare strengths and hazards of dairy farms in Argentina using the Welfare Quality® protocol as a framework. We conducted a literature search using the Scopus database to find articles related to the measures included in the protocol for Argentinean farms. Furthermore, we included data from national statistics. The data available were grouped according to the four principles of the protocol: good feeding, good housing, good health, and appropriate behavior. The results suggest that cows are well nourished; however, water provision is limited because grazing cows need to walk long distances, between 244 m and 460 m, to access a water point. Heat stress is a notable constraint affecting the welfare of cows, as the temperature-humidity index is greater than 72 for at least 100 days during the year. The prevalence of lameness and downer cows was estimated to be 2.2% and 0.7%, respectively, which are below the thresholds for ensuring good welfare. The annual average somatic cell count was 385,000/ml, close to the cutoff recommended for good health. The mortality rate of the cows was higher than recommended. The main strength of Argentinean dairy farms in relation to animal welfare is access to pasture throughout the year for 90% of the farms.

  • References

    1. Alonso ME, González-Montaña JR, Lomillos JM (2020) Consumers’ concerns and perceptions of farm animal welfare. Animals (Basel) 10:385. doi: 10.3390/ani1003038.
    2. Aquilani C, Confessore A, Bozzi R, Sirtori F, Pugliese C (2022) Review: Precision Livestock Farming technologies in pasture-based livestock systems. Animal 16:100429. doi: 10.1016/j.animal.2021.100429.
    3. Armstrong DV (1994) Heat stress interaction with shade and cooling. Journal of Dairy Science 77:2044–2050. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(94)77149-6.
    4. Baudracco J, Lazzarini B, Rosset A, Jauregui J, Braida D, Maiztegui J (2014) Cuantificación de limitantes productivas en tambos de Argentina: reporte final. Available at: http://factorhumanoentambo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Proyecto-INDICES-Convenio-JIPL-FCA.pdf. Accessed on: June 2, 2023.
    5. Baudracco J, Lazzarini B, Rossler N, Gastaldi L, Jauregui J, Fariña S (2022) Strategies to double milk production per farm in Argentina: Investment, economics and risk analysis. Agricultural Systems 197:103366. doi: 10.1016/j.agsy.2022.103366.
    6. Beggs DS, Fisher AD, Jongman EC, Hemsworth PH (2015) A survey of Australian dairy farmers to investigate animal welfare risks associated with increasing scale of production. Journal of Dairy Science 98:5330–5338. doi: 10.3168/jds.2014-9239.
    7. Berckmans D (2017) General introduction to precision livestock farming. Animal Frontiers 7:6–11. doi: 10.2527/af.2017.0102.
    8. Bewley JM, Robertson LM, Eckelkamp EA (2017) A 100-Year Review: Lactating dairy cattle housing management. Journal of Dairy Science 100:10418–10431. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13251.
    9. Broom DM (1986) Indicators of poor welfare. The British Veterinary Journal 142:524–526. doi: 10.1016/0007-1935(86)90109-0.
    10. Bruckmaier RM, Gross, JJ (2017). Lactational challenges in transition dairy cows. Animal Production Science 57:1471. doi: 10.1071/an16657.
    11. Brunner N, Groeger S, Canelas Raposo J, Bruckmaier RM, Gross JJ (2019). Prevalence of subclinical ketosis and production diseases in dairy cows in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Eastern Europe1. Translational Animal Science 3:84–92. doi: 10.1093/tas/txy102.
    12. Ceballos MC, Sant’Anna AC, Boivin X, de Oliveira Costa F, Paranhos da Costa, MJR (2018) Impact of good practices of handling training on beef cattle welfare and stockpeople attitudes and behaviors. Livest. Sci. 216:24–31. doi: 10.1016/j.livsci.2018.06.019.
    13. Chiquitelli Neto M, Titto CG, Maia ASC, Puoli Filho JNP, Longo ALS, Leme-dos-Santos, TDC, Titto EAL, Camerro LZ, Pereira AMF (2015) Rational management raises the Guzerat cattle welfare and improves the efficiency of vaccination work. Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology 3:101-106. doi: 10.14269/2318-1265/jabb.v3n4p101-106.
    14. Collier RJ, Beede DK, Thatcher WW, Israel LA, Wilcox CJ (1982) Influences of environment and its modification on dairy animal health and production. Journal of Dairy Science 65:2213–2227. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(82)82484-3.
    15. Collier RJ, Dahl, GE, VanBaale MJ (2006) Major advances associated with environmental effects on dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 89:1244–1253. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72193-2.
    16. Costa A, Neglia G, Campanile G, De Marchi M (2020) Milk somatic cell count and its relationship with milk yield and quality traits in Italian water buffaloes. Journal of . Dairy Science. 103:5485–5494. doi: 10.3168/jds.2019-18009.
    17. De Rensis F, Garcia-Ispierto I, López-Gatius F (2015) Seasonal heat stress: Clinical implications and hormone treatments for the fertility of dairy cows. Theriogenology 84:659–666. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2015.04.021.
    18. EFSA European Food Safety Authority. (2009). Scientific opinion on welfare of dairy cows in relation to behaviour, fear and pain based on a risk assessment with special reference to the impact of housing, feeding, management and genetic selection: Scientific opinion on welfare of dairy cows in relation to behavioour, fear and pain based on a risk assessment with special reference to the impact of. EFSA Journal 7, 1139. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1139.
    19. Engler P, Cuatrin A, Apez M, Maekawa M, Litwin G, Centeno A, Marino M, Moretto M (2022) Argentine dairy statistics 2020-2021. Available at: https://www.ocla.org.ar/noticias/25641619-encuesta-lechera-inta-2020-2021-documento-completo. Accessed on: August 16, 2023.
    20. Estévez-Moreno LX, Miranda-de la Lama GC, Miguel-Pacheco GG (2022) Consumer attitudes towards farm animal welfare in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia: A segmentation-based study. Meat Science 187:108747. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2022.108747.
    21. Farm Animal Care Manual Version 4.0 (n.d.). Nationaldairyfarm.com. Available at: https://nationaldairyfarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Animal-Care-V4-Manual-Print-Friendly.pdf. Accessed on: December 28, 2022.
    22. Ferguson JD, Galligan DT, Thomsen N (1994) Principal descriptors of body condition score in Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science 77:2695–2703. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(94)77212-X.
    23. Fernandes JN, Hemsworth PH, Coleman GJ, Tilbrook, AJ (2021) Costs and benefits of improving farm animal welfare. Agriculture 11:104. doi: 10.3390/agriculture11020104.
    24. Fraser D (2008) Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 50:S1. doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-50-s1-s1.
    25. Galán E, Llonch P, Villagrá A, Levit H, Pinto S, del Prado A (2018) A systematic review of non-productivity-related animal-based indicators of heat stress resilience in dairy cattle. PLoS One 13?e0206520. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206520.
    26. Gantner V, Bobic T, Gantner R, Gregic M, Kuterovac K, Novakovic J, Potocnik K (2017) Differences in response to heat stress due to production level and breed of dairy cows. International Journal of Biometeorology 61:1675–1685. doi: 10.1007/s00484-017-1348-7.
    27. Gastaldi LB, Gattinoni NN, De Ruyver R, Toffoli G (2022) Índice de temperatura y humedad en localidades argentinas. Revista FAVE Sección Ciencias Agrarias 21:12324. doi: 10.14409/fa.v21i2.12324.
    28. Grummer RR (1995) Impact of changes in organic nutrient metabolism on feeding the transition dairy cow. Journal of Animal Science 73:2820–2833. doi: 10.2527/1995.7392820x.
    29. Hand KJ, Godkin A, Kelton DF (2012) Milk production and somatic cell counts: A cow-level analysis. Journal of Dairy Science 95:1358–1362. doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-4927.
    30. Jensen MB, Vestergaard M (2021) Invited review: Freedom from thirst-Do dairy cows and calves have sufficient access to drinking water? Journal of Dairy Science 104:11368–11385. doi: 10.3168/jds.2021-20487.
    31. Ji B, Banhazi T, Perano K, Ghahramani A, Bowtell L, Wang C, Li B (2020). A review of measuring, assessing and mitigating heat stress in dairy cattle. Biosystems Engineering 199:4–26. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2020.07.009.
    32. Kendall PE, Nielsen PP, Webster JR., Verkerk GA, Littlejohn RP, Matthews LR (2006) The effects of providing shade to lactating dairy cows in a temperate climate. Livestock Science 103:148–157. doi: 10.1016/j.livsci.2006.02.004.
    33. Krueger A, Cruickshank J, Trevisi E, Bionaz,M (2020) Systems for evaluation of welfare on dairy farms. The Journal of Dairy Research 87:13–19. doi: 10.1017/S0022029920000461.
    34. Lara R, Lazzarini B, Baudracco J (2019) Caracterización técnico-productiva de fincas lecheras del noreste de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Chilean Journal of Agricultural & Animal Sciences: Ex Agro-Ciencia. doi: 10.4067/s0719-38902019005000304.
    35. Lazzarini B, Baudracco J, Tuñon G, Gastaldi L, Lyons N, Quattrochi H, Lopez-Villalobos N (2019). Review: Milk production from dairy cows in Argentina: Current state and perspectives for the future. Applied Animal Science 35:426–432. doi: 10.15232/aas.2019-01842.
    36. Mee JF, Boyle LA (2020) Assessing whether dairy cow welfare is “better” in pasture-based than in confinement-based management systems. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 68:168–177. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2020.1721034.
    37. Melendez P, Bargo F, Tuñón G, Grigera, J (2020) Associations between postpartum diseases and milk yield and changes in body condition between drying off and parturition of dairy cows in Argentina. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 68:297–303. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2020.1763218.
    38. Miglierina MM, Bonadeo N, Ornstein AM, Becú-Villalobos D, Lacau-Mengido IM (2018) In situ provision of drinking water to grazing dairy cows improves milk production. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 66:37–40. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2017.1374885.
    39. New Zealand. (2019). Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare. Available at: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/media/5792347/dairy-cattle-code-of-welfare-dairy-cattle.pdf. Accessed on: April 3, 2023.
    40. OCLA. (2023). Observatorio de la cadena láctea Argentina. Available at: https://www.ocla.org.ar/portafolio/17/. Accessed on: May 15, 2023.
    41. Ortiz-Pelaez A, Pritchard DG, Pfeiffer DU, Jones E, Honeyman P, Mawdsley JJ (2008) Calf mortality as a welfare indicator on British cattle farms. Veterinary Journal 176:177–181. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.02.006.
    42. Phillips C (2015) Welfare and cattle behavior. In: Cockcroft PD (ed) Bovine Medicine, John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp 291-296.
    43. Piccardi M, Capitaine Funes A, Bó GA, Balzarini M (2011) Impacto del nivel de producción, estación de parto y el tipo de servicio sobre la tasa de preñez acumulada a 100 días en vacas lecheras en la Argentina. Agriscientia 28:127–135. doi: 10.31047/1668.298x.v28.n2.2790.
    44. Polsky L, von Keyserlingk MAG (2017) Invited review: Effects of heat stress on dairy cattle welfare. Journal of Dairy Science 100:8645–8657. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-12651.
    45. Pro Weideland (2018) Rahmenbedingungen und Kriterien für die Erzeugung und Vermarktung von Weidemilchprodukten im Rahmen des Projektes Weideland Niedersachsen, Conditions and criteria for the production and marketing of pasture milk products within the project Pasture Lan. Ovelgönne, Germany.
    46. Recce S, Huber E, Notaro US, Rodríguez FM, Ortega HH, Rey F, Signorini ML, Salvetti NR (2021). Association between heat stress during intrauterine development and the calving-to-conception and calving-to-first-service intervals in Holstein cows. Theriogenology 162:95–104. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.01.002.
    47. Roche JR, Friggens NC, Kay JK, Fisher MW, Stafford KJ, Berry DP (2009) Invited review: Body condition score and its association with dairy cow productivity, health, and welfare. Journal of Dairy Science 92:5769–5801. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2431.
    48. Roche JR, Kay JK, Friggens NC, Loor JJ, Berry DP (2013) Assessing and managing body condition score for the prevention of metabolic disease in dairy cows. The Veterinary Clinics of North America. Food Animal Practice 29:323–336. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2013.03.003.
    49. Roche JR, Meier S, Heiser A, Mitchell MD, Walker CG, Crookenden MA, Vailati, Riboni M, Loor JJ, Kay JK 2015. Effects of precalving body condition score and prepartum feeding level on production, reproduction, and health parameters in pasture-based transition dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 98:7164–7182. doi: 10.3168/jds.2014-9269.
    50. Schuppli CA, von Keyserlingk MAG, Weary DM (2014) Access to pasture for dairy cows: Responses from an online engagement. Journal of Animal Science 92:5185–5192. doi: 10.2527/jas.2014-7725.
    51. Sharma AK, Rodriguez LA, Mekonnen G, Wilcox CJ, Bachman KC, Collier RJ (1983) Climatological and genetic effects on milk composition and yield. Journal Dairy Science 66:119–126. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(83)81762-7.
    52. Sharma N, Singh NK, Bhadwal MS (2011) Relationship of somatic cell count and mastitis: An overview. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 24:429–438. doi: 10.5713/ajas.2011.10233.
    53. SENASA Service of Health and Quality of Agricultural Food. (2015). Manual de bienestar animal. Available at: https://www.senasa.gob.ar/sites/default/files/ARBOL_SENASA/ANIMAL/BOVINOS_BUBALINOS/INDUSTRIA/ESTABL_IND/BIENESTAR/manual_de_bienestar_animal_especies_domesticas_-_senasa_-_version_1-2015.pdf. Accessed on: May 5, 2023.
    54. Silva SR, Araujo JP, Guedes C, Silva F, Almeida M, Cerqueira JL (2022) Correction: Silva et al. Precision technologies to address dairy cattle welfare: Focus on lameness, mastitis and body condition. Animals (Basel) 12:683. doi: 10.3390/ani12060683.
    55. Simon GE, Hoar BR, Tucker CB (2016) Assessing cow-calf welfare. Part 2: Risk factors for beef cow health and behavior and stockperson handling. Journal of Animal Science 94:3488–3500. doi: 10.2527/jas.2016-0309.
    56. Smith DL, Smith T, Rude BJ, Ward SH (2013) Short communication: comparison of the effects of heat stress on milk and component yields and somatic cell score in Holstein and Jersey cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 96:3028–3033. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5737.
    57. Spooner JM, Schuppli CA, Fraser D (2014) Attitudes of Canadian citizens toward farm animal welfare: A qualitative study. Livestock Science 163:150–158. doi: 10.1016/j.livsci.2014.02.011.
    58. Stampa E, Schipmann-Schwarze C, Hamm U (2020) Consumer perceptions, preferences, and behavior regarding pasture-raised livestock products: A review. Food Quality and Preference 82:103872. doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.103872.
    59. Stygar AH, Frondelius L, Berteselli GV, Gómez Y, Canali E, Niemi JK. Llonch P Pastell M (2023) Measuring dairy cow welfare with real-time sensor-based data and farm records: a concept study. Animal, 101023. doi: 10.1016/j.animal.2023.101023.
    60. Stygar A H, Gómez Y, Berteselli GV, Dalla Costa E, Canali E, Niemi JK, Llonch P, Pastell M (2021) A systematic review on commercially available and validated sensor technologies for welfare assessment of dairy cattle. Frontiers in veterinary science 8. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.634338.
    61. Thom EC (1959) The Discomfort Index. Weatherwise 12:57–61. doi: 10.1080/00431672.1959.9926960.
    62. Thomsen PT, Houe H (2018) Cow mortality as an indicator of animal welfare in dairy herds. Research in Veterinary Science 119:239–243. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2018.06.021.
    63. Thomsen PT, Shearer JK, Houe H (2023) Prevalence of lameness in dairy cows: A literature review. Veterinary Journal 295. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2023.105975.
    64. von Keyserlingk MAG, Rushen J, de Passillé AM, Weary DM (2009) Invited review: The welfare of dairy cattle--key concepts and the role of science. Journal of Dairy Science 92:4101–4111. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2326.
    65. Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for cattle 2009 Welfare Quality® Consortium, Lelystad, Netherlands, 2009.
    66. Whay HR, Shearer JK (2017) The impact of lameness on welfare of the dairy cow. Veterinary Clinics of North America Food Animal Practice 33:153–164. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2017.02.008.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Malque Publishing

How to cite

Lazzarini, B., Llonch, P., & Baudracco, J. (2024). Animal welfare on Argentinean dairy farms based on the Welfare Quality® protocol framework. Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology, 12(2), 2024010. https://doi.org/10.31893/jabb.2024010
  • Article viewed - 265
  • PDF downloaded - 413