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An analysis of animal-based versus resource-based comments in official animal welfare inspection reports from organic and conventional farms in Sweden

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This study analysed the free use of phrases related to animal-based and resource-based measures of animal welfare in Swedish state animal welfare inspection reports on conventional (C) and organic (O) farms. From 244 reports by 35 inspectors, 88 were analysed as matched pairs of C and O farms (same inspector, species and size of farm). They were analysed 'blind' for negative comments referring to the animals or to the resources (buildings and facilities). The most commonly reported deficiencies were poor body and hoof condition and dirty animals, accounting for a total of 79% of all animal-based remarks. Deficiencies in measures and equipment or excessively high stocking density together accounted for 78% of all resource-based remarks. The total number of general (non-compulsory) comments was similar for O and C farms. But the number of (compulsory) requirements for change to comply with legislation was almost twice as high for O than C. There were significantly more comments about body condition and hooves in C than O but a tendency for the opposite to be the case for animal health. Despite this, the number of requirements for change was greater for O-farms regarding their animals. There was no difference in number of comments on resources, but once more a tendency for more requirements for change was seen on O-farms. The study demonstrates that the analysis of inspection reports can be useful in terms of identifying where, in practice, animal welfare problems lie as well as further developing the methodology of animal welfare control.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CONTROL; FARMS; INSPECTION; LEGISLATION; ORGANIC

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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