Sensitivity of the integrated Welfare Quality® scores to changing values of individual dairy cattle welfare measures
MetadataShow full item record
The Welfare Quality® (WQ) protocol for on-farm dairy cattle welfare assessment describes 33 measures and a step-wise method to integrate the outcomes into 12 criteria scores, grouped into four principle scores and into an overall welfare categorisation with four possible levels. The relative contribution of various welfare measures to the integrated scores has been contested. Using a European dataset (491 herds), we investigated: i) variation in sensitivity of integrated outcomes to extremely low and high values of measures, criteria and principles by replacing each actual value with minimum and maximum observed and theoretically possible values; and ii) the reasons for this variation in sensitivity. As intended by the WQ consortium, the sensitivity of integrated scores depends on: i) the observed value of the specific measures/criteria; ii) whether the change was positive/negative; and iii) the relative weight attributed to the measures. Additionally, two unintended factors of considerable influence appear to be side-effects of the complexity of the integration method. Namely: i) the number of measures integrated into criteria and principle scores; and ii) the aggregation method of the measures. Therefore, resource-based measures related to drinkers (which have been criticised with respect to their validity to assess absence of prolonged thirst), have a much larger influence on integrated scores than health-related measures such as ‘mortality rate’ and ‘lameness score’. Hence, the integration method of the WQ protocol for dairy cattle should be revised to ensure that the relative contribution of the various welfare measures to the integrated scores more accurately reflect their relevance for dairy cattle welfare.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Copyright © 2018 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Ingenta Connect in a revised form with their editorial input. The final published version is available online: https://doi.org/10.7120/09627218.104.22.168
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Wemelsfelder F; Mullan S (2014)There is a growing effort worldwide to develop objective indicators for animal welfare assessment, which provide information on an animal’s quality of life, are scientifically trustworthy, and can readily be used in ...
Trained-user opinion about Welfare Quality® measures and integrated scoring of dairy cattle welfare de Graaf S; Ampe B; Winckler C; Radeski M; Mounier L; Kirchner MK; Haskell MJ; van Eerdenburg FJCM; Boyer des Roches A; Andreasen SN; Bijttebier J; Lauwers L; Verbeke W; Tuyttens FAM (2017)The Welfare Quality® (WQ) protocol for on-farm dairy cattle welfare assessment describes 27 measures and a step-wise method to integrate values for these measures into 12 criteria scores, grouped further into four principle ...
Projected effect of alternative management strategies on profit and animal welfare in extensive sheep production systems in Great Britain Stott AW; Milne CE; Goddard PJ; Waterhouse A (2005)