Analysis of direct parameters of cow welfare assessment on dairy farms

Keywords: cattle behaviour; dairy production; well-being indicators


A high level of public concern about the welfare of farm animals and compliance with international standards and consumer requirements is triggering the development of animal welfare assessment systems and their implementation on dairy farms. In addition, the welfare assessment allows identification and assessment of existing problems of animal welfare on the farms, allows farmers to solve these problems and ensure proper management, monitor compliance with legal requirements, identify risk factors that have a potential negative impact on animal welfare, present objective information on systems of keeping animals for consumers. The aim of the research was a modern meta-analysis of criteria related to the direct response of animals and their impact on welfare, as well as justification of the use of criteria in systems for assessing the welfare of dairy herd animals. The research data presents an analysis of the direct criteria and justification of the system of 10 protocols and standards for the welfare of the dairy herd, namely: Cow Comfort, Welfare Quality, IDSW, Code of Welfare, Svenskt Sigill, Freedom Foods, AssureWel, RSPCA Dairy Standards, NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards, ClassyFarm. All parameters investigated in these protocols were divided into two groups: 1) indirect - based on resources (farm management, housing conditions) and 2) direct - based on the animals themselves (behaviour, health). It has been established that objective results of the assessment of welfare can be obtained using direct criteria, namely the study of behaviour (postures and gaits, during rest, interaction with humans or other animals, the presence of stereotypical behaviour or positive states, vocalization) as well as health criteria I (lameness, calving, cleanliness and condition of the animal’s coat, presence of complications from surgical procedures). Research on indirect animal welfare criteria and protocols will be covered in our next articles.


Download data is not yet available.


Adamczyk, K. (2018). Dairy cattle welfare as a result of human-animal relationship – a review. Annals of Animal Science, 18(3), 601–622.
Blokhuis, H. J., Veissier, I., Miele, M., & Jones, B. (2010). The Welfare Quality® project and beyond: Safeguarding farm animal well-being. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science, 60(3), 129–140.
Breuer, K., Hemsworth, P. H., Barnett, J. L., Matthews, L. R., & Coleman, G. J. (2000). Behavioural response to humans and the productivity of commercial dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 66(4), 273–288.
Broom, D. M. (1988). The scientific assessment of animal welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 20(1–2), 5–19.
Heath, C. A. E., Main, D. C. J., Mullan, S., Haskell, M. J., & Browne, W. J. (2016). Sequential sampling: a novel method in farm animal welfare assessment. Animal, 10(2), 349–356.
Calamari, L., & Bertoni, G. (2009). Model to evaluate welfare in dairy cow farms. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 8(sup1), 301–323.
CHAWG (2013). Dairy cow welfare strategy, year 1 progress against targets. Cattle Health and Welfare Group, Malmesbury, UK.
Cook, N. B., Bennett, T. B., & Nordlund, K. V. (2005). Monitoring indices of cow comfort in free-stall-housed dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 88(11), 3876–3885.
Dairy Co (2013) Dairy statistics an insiders guide 2013. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Kenilworth, UK.
De Vries, M., Bokkers, E. A. M., van Schaik, G., Engel, B., Dijkstra, T., & de Boer, I. J. M. (2014). Exploring the value of routinely collected herd data for estimating dairy cattle welfare. Journal of Dairy Science, 97(2), 715–730.
Dunston-Clarke, E., Willis, R. S., Fleming, P. A., Barnes, A. L., Miller, D. W., & Collins, T. (2020). Developing an animal welfare assessment protocol for livestock transported by sea. Animals, 10(4), 705.
EFSA (2012). Scientific Opinion on the use of animal-based measures to assess welfare of dairy cows. EFSA Journal, 10(1), 2554. Portico.
Eicher, S. D., Morrow-Tesch, J. L., Albright, J. L., & Williams, R. E. (2001). Tail-docking alters fly numbers, fly-avoidance behaviors, and cleanliness, but not physiological measures. Journal of Dairy Science, 84(8), 1822–1828.
Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) (2009). Farm animal welfare in Great Britain: past, present and future. London (source:
Frank, J. C. M., van Eerdenburga, Vázquez-Floresb, S., Saltijeral-Oaxacac, J., & Evangelia, N. S. (2013) A cow comfort monitoring scheme to increase the milk yield of a dairy farm. Aland, A., & Banhazi, Th. (eds): Livestock housing: Modern management to ensure optimal health and welfare of farm animals’. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands. pp 55–74.
Ivemeyer, S., Knierim, U., & Waiblinger, S. (2011). Effect of human-animal relationship and management on udder health in Swiss dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science, 94(12), 5890–5902.
Jongman, E. C., Conley, M. J., Borg, S., Butler, K. L., & Fisher, A. D. (2020). The effect of milk quantity and feeding frequency on calf growth and behaviour. Animal Production Science, 60(7), 944.
Keeling, L. J., Winckler, C., Hintze, S., & Forkman, B. (2021). Towards a Positive Welfare Protocol for Cattle: A Critical Review of Indicators and Suggestion of How We Might Proceed. Frontiers in Animal Science, 2.
Lawrence, A. (1987). Consumer demand theory and the assessment of animal welfare. Animal Behaviour, 35(1), 293–295.
Lürzel, S., Münsch, C., Windschnurer, I., Futschik, A., Palme, R., & Waiblinger, S. (2015). The influence of gentle interactions on avoidance distance towards humans, weight gain and physiological parameters in group-housed dairy calves. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 172, 9–16.
Main, D. C. J., Barker, Z. E., Leach, K. A., Bell, N. J., Whay, H. R., & Browne, W. J. (2010). Sampling strategies for monitoring lameness in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 93(5), 1970–1978.
Matvienko, N., Nedosekov, V., Koziy, M., & Kravchenko, A. (2022). Fish welfare in Ukraine. Zoology and Ecology, 84–89.
Moran, J., & Doyle, R. (2015). Understanding dairy cow behaviour to improve their welfare on asian farms, CSIRO Publishing, Australia.
Nedosekov, V. V., & Krytsia, Y. P. (2021). Welfare problems of horses. Naukovì Dopovìdì Nacìonalʹnogo Unìversitetu Bìoresursiv ì Prirodokoristuvannâ Ukraïni, 2(90).
Nedosekov, V. V., & Petkun, H. V. (2021). Animal welfare of dairy farm. Naukovì Dopovìdì Nacìonalʹnogo Unìversitetu Bìoresursiv ì Prirodokoristuvannâ Ukraïni, 4(92).
Nedosekov, V. V., Kravchenko, A. G., Kleymenov, I. S., & Kleymenova, N. V. (2020). Welfare of laying hens in the industrial production. Bulletin of Agrarian Science, 4(85), 66–77.
Nordquist, R., van der Staay, F., van Eerdenburg, F., Velkers, F., Fijn, L., & Arndt, S. (2017). Mutilating procedures, management practices, and housing conditions that may affect the welfare of farm animals: implications for welfare research. Animals, 7(12), 12.
Ohl, F., & van der Staay, F. J. (2012). Animal welfare: At the interface between science and society. The Veterinary Journal, 192(1), 13–19.
OIE (2019). Terrestrial animal health code, Chapter 7.11, Animal welfare and dairy cattle production systems, 450-462
Petkun, H. V., & Nedosekov, V. V. (2022). Analysis of EU and Ukrainian legislation for the cattle welfare. Scientific Messenger of LNU of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnologies, 24(106), 108–113.
Tucker, C. B., Jensen, M. B., de Passillé, A. M., Hänninen, L., & Rushen, J. (2021). Invited review: Lying time and the welfare of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 104(1), 20–46.
Valde, J. P., Hird, D. W., Thurmond, M. C., & Østerås, O. (1997). Comparison of ketosis, clinical mastitis, somatic cell count, and reproductive performance between free stall and tie stall barns in norwegian dairy herds with automatic feeding. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 38(2), 181–192.
van Eerdenburg, F. J. C. M., Hof, T., Doeve, B., Ravesloot, L., Zeinstra, E. C., Nordquist, R. E., & van der Staay, F. J. (2021). The relation between hair-cortisol concentration and various welfare assessments of dutch dairy farms. Animals, 11(3), 821.
Ventura, G., Lorenzi, V., Mazza, F., Clemente, G. A., Iacomino, C., Bertocchi, L., & Fusi, F. (2021). Best farming practices for the welfare of dairy cows, heifers and calves. Animals, 11(9), 2645.
Waiblinger, S., Menke, C., & Fölsch, D. W. (2003). Influences on the avoidance and approach behaviour of dairy cows towards humans on 35 farms. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 84(1), 23–39.
Welfare Quality (2009). Welfare quality r assessment protocol for cattle. Lelystad: Welfare Quality R Consortium.
Winckler, C. (2006) On-farm welfare assessment in cattle from basic con-cepts to feasible assessment systems. Proc. 24th World Buiatrics Congr., Nice, France, 493–500.
Winckler, C., & Willen, S. (2001). The reliability and repeatability of a lameness scoring system for use as an indicator of welfare in dairy cattle. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A — Animal Science, 51(sup030), 103–107.
Winckler, C., Buehnemann, A., & Seidel, K., (2002) Social behaviour of commercial dairy herds as a parameter for on-farm welfare assessment. Proc. 36th Int. Congr. ISAE, Egmond an Zee, The Netherlands.
Zulkifli, I. (2013). Review of human-animal interactions and their impact on animal productivity and welfare. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 4(1).

Abstract views: 12
PDF Downloads: 11
How to Cite
Petkun, H. V., & Nedosekov, V. V. (2022). Analysis of direct parameters of cow welfare assessment on dairy farms. Theoretical and Applied Veterinary Medicine, 10(2), 9-14. Retrieved from