Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

A comparison of three animal welfare assessment protocols applied to Swedish dairy cow herds

Larsson, B. Staaf; Jansson, A.; Holmberg, M.; von Walter, L. Winblad; Steen, M.; Dahlborn, K.


This study compared the outcome of the Swedish Official Control (OC) with that of two other well-established protocols for assessing animal welfare in dairy cows, 'Ask the Cow' (AC) and Welfare Quality (WQ). Forty-one farms already scheduled for an official control were assessed by the three protocols on the same day. The hypothesis was that farms would be ranked similarly in terms of best and worst, irrespective of the protocol used. A second aim was to explore whether any of the animal-based quantified measures in AC and WQ could be candidates to improve OC. The eight farms with most remarks in OC (3-5) were ranked in the range 19-40 in AC and 5-37 in WQ. The only correlation observed (r = 0.40, P = 0.009) was between the rankings in AC and OC. Candidate measurements to improve OC taken from AC and WQ are quantifying individual body condition and cleanliness and recording skin lesions.


Animal-based measures; animal welfare assessment; dairy cattle; resource-based measure

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science