Assessment of the Welfare of Dairy Cows in Britain

Aims & Objectives
To develop outcome-based indicators of dairy cow welfare, which are practically feasible, scientifically robust and acceptable to a range of stakeholders from the GB dairy industry.

Expected Outcomes

  • Comprehensive data on the opinions of stakeholders about welfare assessment in dairy cows under British conditions.
  • A method to optimize the evaluation of welfare assessment protocols, including a means to identify farms at risk of poor welfare.
  • A simple welfare assessment protocol.
  • A scientific report on the welfare of dairy cows under British conditions.

Start Date
September 2011    

Completion Date
November 2015    

Lead Contractor
University of Nottingham - Research Partnership study 

Other Delivery Partners
University of Bristol, University of Reading, Harper Adams University, SRUC, Royal Veterinary College, Aberystwyth University 

AHDB Dairy

Scientific literature

Heath, C.A.E., Main, D.C.J., Mullan, S., Haskell, M.J., Browne, W.J. 2015. Sequential sampling: a novel method in farm animal welfare assessment. Animal,DOI:

Heath, C.A.E., Lin, Y., Mullan, S., Browne, W.J., Main, D.C.J. 2014. Implementing Welfare Quality® in UK assurance schemes: evaluating the challenges. Animal Welfare 23, 95-107

Heath, C.A.E., Browne, W.J., Mullan, S., Main, D.C.J. 2014. Navigating the iceberg: Reducing the number of parameters within the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for dairy cows. Animal 8, 1978-1986

Collins, S., Bell, N.J., Burn, C.C., Wathes, C.M. 2012. Assessing the welfare of dairy cows: A questionnaire survey of UK dairy farmers, dairy stockmen and cattle vets. Proceedings of the 1st Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 24-26 October 2012.

Haskell, M.J & Barrier, A. 2013. Survey of UK stakeholder opinion on suitability of measures and use of outcomes for dairy cattle welfare assessment schemes. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, Nottingham, UK, 16-17 April 2013 p2

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