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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Non-Compliance and Follow-Up in Swedish Official and Private Animal Welfare Control of Dairy Cows

Hedman, Frida Lundmark; Hultgren, Jan; Rocklinsberg, Helena; Wahlberg, Birgitta; Berg, Charlotte

Abstract

Simple Summary In many cases, different animal welfare inspections are taking place at an animal farm over time, as the farmer has to comply with both the legislation and with various private standards. In this study, we compared official inspections carried out by CAB (the County Administrative Board, a governmental agency) with private inspections carried out by Arla Foods (a private company) on dairy farms in one Swedish county. For example, we looked at seasonal effects and compared the incidence of different non-compliances. This study shows that long time periods were sometimes allowed for correction, that follow-up systems are diverse, and that there were differences in the inspection result between CAB and Arla due to different focuses during the inspections. Dirty dairy cattle were, however, a common non-compliance found by both CAB and Arla. Tie-stall housing and winter season (Dec-Feb) were risk factors for non-compliance, while the risk was lower for both CAB and Arla to find non-compliances at organic farms compared to conventional farms. We conclude that the presence of both similarities and differences between different control systems underlines the need for transparency, predictability, and clarity of inspections.Abstract Farmers often have to comply with several sets of animal welfare regulations, since private standards have been developed in addition to legislation. Using an epidemiological approach, we analysed protocols from animal welfare inspections carried out in Swedish dairy herds by the County Administrative Board (CAB; official control of legislation) and by the dairy company Arla Foods (private control of Arlagarden standard) during 2010-2013 in the county of Vastra Gotaland. CAB and Arla inspections were not carried out simultaneously. We aimed to identify common non-compliances, quantify risk factors of non-compliance, and investigate if non-compliances were based on animal-, resource-, or management-based requirements, as well as determining the time period allowed for achieving compliance. Non-compliance was found in 58% of CAB cases, and 51% of Arla cases (each case comprising a sequence of one or several inspections). Dirty dairy cattle was one of the most frequent non-compliances in both control systems. However, the differences in control results were large, suggesting a difference in focus between the two systems. Tie-stall housing and winter season (Dec-Feb) were common risk factors for non-compliance, and overall organic farms had a lower predicted number of non-compliances compared to conventional farms. The presence of both similarities and differences between the systems underlines the need for transparency, predictability, and clarity of inspections.

Keywords

animal welfare; audit; compliance; dairy cow; policy making; quality assurance scheme

Published in

Animals
2018, Volume: 8, number: 5, article number: 72