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Expert opinion as 'validation' of risk assessment applied to calf welfare.

Bracke MB, Edwards SA, Engel B, Buist WG, Algers B - Acta Vet. Scand. (2008)

Bottom Line: Because this is a new and potentially influential approach to derive conclusions on animal welfare issues, a so-called semantic-modelling type 'validation' study was conducted by asking expert scientists, who had been involved or quoted in the report, to give welfare scores for housing systems and for welfare hazards.Overall correlations with EFSA scores were significant only for experts with a veterinary or mixed (veterinary and applied ethological) background.Significant differences in welfare scores were found between housing systems, between hazards, and between experts with different backgrounds.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P,O, Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands. marc.bracke@wur.nl.

ABSTRACT

Background: Recently, a Risk Assessment methodology was applied to animal welfare issues in a report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on intensively housed calves.

Methods: Because this is a new and potentially influential approach to derive conclusions on animal welfare issues, a so-called semantic-modelling type 'validation' study was conducted by asking expert scientists, who had been involved or quoted in the report, to give welfare scores for housing systems and for welfare hazards.

Results: Kendall's coefficient of concordance among experts (n = 24) was highly significant (P < 0.001), but low (0.29 and 0.18 for housing systems and hazards respectively). Overall correlations with EFSA scores were significant only for experts with a veterinary or mixed (veterinary and applied ethological) background. Significant differences in welfare scores were found between housing systems, between hazards, and between experts with different backgrounds. For example, veterinarians gave higher overall welfare scores for housing systems than ethologists did, probably reflecting a difference in their perception of animal welfare. Systems with the lowest scores were veal calves kept individually in so-called "baby boxes" (veal crates) or in small groups, and feedlots. A suckler herd on pasture was rated as the best for calf welfare. The main hazards were related to underfeeding, inadequate colostrum intake, poor stockperson education, insufficient space, inadequate roughage, iron deficiency, inadequate ventilation, poor floor conditions and no bedding. Points for improvement of the Risk Assessment applied to animal welfare include linking information, reporting uncertainty and transparency about underlying values.

Conclusion: The study provides novel information on expert opinion in relation to calf welfare and shows that Risk Assessment applied to animal welfare can benefit from a semantic modelling approach.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Scatter plot of HC scores (horizontal axis) and median hazard scores (y-axis) given by veterinarians (triangles) and ethologists (stars). Hazard codes: Be: Bedding; Ca: Castration; Co: Colostrum; Da: Dam; Ed: Education; Fl: Floor; Hb: Haemoglobin; Hu: Human contact; Li: Light; Ma: Maternal care; Mi: Mixing; Of: Overfeeding; Pl: Play; Ro: Roughage; Sp: Space; Te: Teat; Uf: Underfeeding; Ve: Ventilation (see also Table 5).
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Figure 3: Scatter plot of HC scores (horizontal axis) and median hazard scores (y-axis) given by veterinarians (triangles) and ethologists (stars). Hazard codes: Be: Bedding; Ca: Castration; Co: Colostrum; Da: Dam; Ed: Education; Fl: Floor; Hb: Haemoglobin; Hu: Human contact; Li: Light; Ma: Maternal care; Mi: Mixing; Of: Overfeeding; Pl: Play; Ro: Roughage; Sp: Space; Te: Teat; Uf: Underfeeding; Ve: Ventilation (see also Table 5).

Mentions: Figure 3 illustrates two relationships found for HC and hazard scores for experts with different backgrounds, namely ethologists (where the relationship was not significant) and veterinarians (where Rho was significant, namely 0.57, see Table 3). Figure 3 shows hazards that received a high HC score in EFSA (2006a, b), but received relatively low expert scores (for both veterinarians and ethologists), such as light (Li) and mixing of calves (Mi). It also illustrates the reverse, especially for access to a natural teat (Te) (particularly for ethologists) and for education (Ed), bedding (Be) and floor (Fl) (both types of expert).


Expert opinion as 'validation' of risk assessment applied to calf welfare.

Bracke MB, Edwards SA, Engel B, Buist WG, Algers B - Acta Vet. Scand. (2008)

Scatter plot of HC scores (horizontal axis) and median hazard scores (y-axis) given by veterinarians (triangles) and ethologists (stars). Hazard codes: Be: Bedding; Ca: Castration; Co: Colostrum; Da: Dam; Ed: Education; Fl: Floor; Hb: Haemoglobin; Hu: Human contact; Li: Light; Ma: Maternal care; Mi: Mixing; Of: Overfeeding; Pl: Play; Ro: Roughage; Sp: Space; Te: Teat; Uf: Underfeeding; Ve: Ventilation (see also Table 5).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2483281&req=5

Figure 3: Scatter plot of HC scores (horizontal axis) and median hazard scores (y-axis) given by veterinarians (triangles) and ethologists (stars). Hazard codes: Be: Bedding; Ca: Castration; Co: Colostrum; Da: Dam; Ed: Education; Fl: Floor; Hb: Haemoglobin; Hu: Human contact; Li: Light; Ma: Maternal care; Mi: Mixing; Of: Overfeeding; Pl: Play; Ro: Roughage; Sp: Space; Te: Teat; Uf: Underfeeding; Ve: Ventilation (see also Table 5).
Mentions: Figure 3 illustrates two relationships found for HC and hazard scores for experts with different backgrounds, namely ethologists (where the relationship was not significant) and veterinarians (where Rho was significant, namely 0.57, see Table 3). Figure 3 shows hazards that received a high HC score in EFSA (2006a, b), but received relatively low expert scores (for both veterinarians and ethologists), such as light (Li) and mixing of calves (Mi). It also illustrates the reverse, especially for access to a natural teat (Te) (particularly for ethologists) and for education (Ed), bedding (Be) and floor (Fl) (both types of expert).

Bottom Line: Because this is a new and potentially influential approach to derive conclusions on animal welfare issues, a so-called semantic-modelling type 'validation' study was conducted by asking expert scientists, who had been involved or quoted in the report, to give welfare scores for housing systems and for welfare hazards.Overall correlations with EFSA scores were significant only for experts with a veterinary or mixed (veterinary and applied ethological) background.Significant differences in welfare scores were found between housing systems, between hazards, and between experts with different backgrounds.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P,O, Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands. marc.bracke@wur.nl.

ABSTRACT

Background: Recently, a Risk Assessment methodology was applied to animal welfare issues in a report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on intensively housed calves.

Methods: Because this is a new and potentially influential approach to derive conclusions on animal welfare issues, a so-called semantic-modelling type 'validation' study was conducted by asking expert scientists, who had been involved or quoted in the report, to give welfare scores for housing systems and for welfare hazards.

Results: Kendall's coefficient of concordance among experts (n = 24) was highly significant (P < 0.001), but low (0.29 and 0.18 for housing systems and hazards respectively). Overall correlations with EFSA scores were significant only for experts with a veterinary or mixed (veterinary and applied ethological) background. Significant differences in welfare scores were found between housing systems, between hazards, and between experts with different backgrounds. For example, veterinarians gave higher overall welfare scores for housing systems than ethologists did, probably reflecting a difference in their perception of animal welfare. Systems with the lowest scores were veal calves kept individually in so-called "baby boxes" (veal crates) or in small groups, and feedlots. A suckler herd on pasture was rated as the best for calf welfare. The main hazards were related to underfeeding, inadequate colostrum intake, poor stockperson education, insufficient space, inadequate roughage, iron deficiency, inadequate ventilation, poor floor conditions and no bedding. Points for improvement of the Risk Assessment applied to animal welfare include linking information, reporting uncertainty and transparency about underlying values.

Conclusion: The study provides novel information on expert opinion in relation to calf welfare and shows that Risk Assessment applied to animal welfare can benefit from a semantic modelling approach.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus