Welfare assessment - Management tool

Published 23 June 14

Welfare outcome assessment is a practical and scientifically informed way of assessing and measuring animal welfare. Measuring welfare outcomes need not only be carried out as part of an official visit by an assessment officer but can also be undertaken by farmers themselves as part of herd management.

Welfare outcome assessments can be used to:

• Assess the level of welfare achieved for an individual animal, farm or farm assurance scheme (eg Red Tractor)

• Help improve farm assurance standards

• Identify and monitor welfare problems and solutions on a farm

• Strengthen farm management through self-assessment, feedback and benchmarking

• Provide more reliable and direct assurance of animal welfare throughout the food chain, including to consumers.

Welfare outcome measures include scoring mobility, body condition, hair loss, lesions, swellings and cleanliness. Most farmers are familiar with these measures and are most likely doing it every day without even thinking about it.

AHDB Dairy have produced a number of short films and farm resources to help producers get the most out of using welfare assessments as a management tool on farm.