Biotechnology in Animal Husbandry 2012 Volume 28, Issue 1, Pages: 11-24
doi:10.2298/BAH1201011G
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Dairy welfare in Hungary and in the United Kingdom vs. National and European Union legislation

Gudaj R.T., Brydl E., Lehoczky J., Komlósi I.

Dairy industries in Eastern and Western Europe have different history, heritage, but the same aim to produce cheap, high quantity of good quality milk with the care of dairy welfare. Member countries of European Union had choice to either implement minimum standards provided by the European Commission, like in Hungary, or to create their own legislation also covering minimum standards, like in the Great Britain. British, Hungarian and European Union legislation was compared with dairy welfare measures taken on 53 farms in the UK and on 27 farms in Hungary. Among 13 welfare measures observed 8 were found to be statistically different (p<0.05. p<0.01 or p<0.001) between countries. Fewer cows were reported with dirty hind limbs, hock hair losses, non hock injuries, being dull or with greater flight distance on Hungarian farms than in the UK. There were fewer cows with dirty udders, being fat or lame in the UK in comparison to Hungarian farms. Cheaper bedding materials in Hungary are thought to be the major factors cows are found cleaner. More farm workers per one animal make more attention is paid for providing cattle with suitable conditions for resting what also might impact shorter flight distance. In the Great Britain cleaner udders might be related to modern husbandry systems providing cleaner conditions. Education is also thought to be playing a great role in lower proportion of cows being lame, with digestion problems and mastitis in the UK in comparison to Hungary.

Keywords: dairy welfare, dairy welfare assessment protocol, welfare standard, herd health