animal welfare

Effects of management practices on the welfare of dairy donkeys and risk factors associated with signs of hoof neglect

Citation

Francesca Dai, Giulia Segati, Marta Brscic, Matteo Chincarini, Emanueala Dalla Costa, Lorenzo Ferrari, Faith A. Burden, Andrew Judge, Michela Minero. November 2017. Effects of management practices on the welfare of dairy donkeys and risk factors associated with signs of hoof neglect. Journal of Dairy Research.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
10 November 2017
Abstract

This Research Paper aimed to investigate donkey welfare in dairy husbandry systems and to identify the potential factors affecting it at animal level. In 2015, twelve dairy donkey farms (19–170 donkeys per farm, mean = 55 ± 48), distributed throughout Italy, were visited. On each farm, the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) welfare assessment protocol for donkeys was used by two trained assessors to evaluate the welfare of animals for a total of 257 donkeys assessed. The protocol includes animal-based indicators that were entered in a digitalised system. Prevalence of different scores at individual, farm and category level were calculated. Farmers were asked to fill out a questionnaire including information regarding the management of donkeys and their final destination. Answers to the questionnaire were then considered as effects in the risk factor analysis whereas the scores of the animal-based indicators were considered as response variables. Most of the donkeys (80·2%) enjoyed a good nutritional status (BCS = 3). 18·7% of donkeys showed signs of hoof neglect such as overgrowth and/or incorrect trimming (Min = 0% Max = 54·5%). Belonging to a given farm or production group influenced many of the welfare indicators. The absence of pasture affected the likelihood of having skin lesions, alopecia, low BCS scores and a less positive emotional state. Lack of routine veterinary visits (P < 0·001) and having neglected hooves (P < 0·001) affected the likelihood of being thin (BCS < 3). Belonging to specific production groups, lack of access to pasture and showing an avoidance reaction to an approaching human (AD) resulted in risk factors associated with a higher prevalence of signs of hoof neglect. Our results support the idea that lack of knowledge of proper donkey care among owners was behind many welfare issues found.
First published online.

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Ensuring the welfare of the farmed donkey for the production of milk: an analysis of the legislation

Citation

Francesca Dai, Giulia Segati, Emanueala Dalla Costa, Faith A. Burden, Andrew Judge, E. Canali, Michela Minero. April 2017. Ensuring the welfare of the farmed donkey for the production of milk: an analysis of the legislation. Large Animal Review. 23. 59-64.

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Publication date: 
2 April 2017
Journal: 
Large Animal Review
Volume: 
23
Page numbers: 
59-64
Abstract

Donkey’s milk is a valuable product for paediatric patients with
allergy to cow milk proteins. As the donkey milk qualifies as
a product intended primarily for consumers with special needs,
it should be of good quality and therefore the donkeys must
enjoy good health and welfare.
To better understand how dairy donkeys’ welfare is assured around
Europe, an analysis of EU, Italian and Regional Legislation about
welfare of donkeys used to produce milk was conducted.
According to 98/58/EC Directive, donkeys kept for milk/meat
production should be considered as farm animals. This Directive,
without being species-specific, lays down minimum
standards for the protection of animals bred or kept for farming
purposes.
European Regulation 37/2010 and Italian Dlgs 193/2006 report
the rules on the use of veterinary drugs. A veterinarian must
prescribe pharmacologically active substances and commend
an appropriate withdrawal period to ensure that food derived
from treated animals does not contain residues harmful to consumers.
No specific information regarding drugs for dairy
donkeys is reported and it is unclear what happens in reality
when a lactating jenny needs treatment.
Three Italian Regions (Piemonte, Emilia Romagna and Veneto)
have specific regulations about donkey milk production. The
“D.D. 461 17/06/2013”, “Circolare 17 05/10/2005” and “ALLEGATO
A Dgr 513 03/04/2012” report requirements for milk production
to guarantee adequate food safety and generically suggest
that donkeys should be kept in good welfare conditions.
In addition, Italian guidelines “Codice per la Tutela e la Gestione
degli Equidi” provides essential criteria for proper management
of equines, according to good practices and ethical behaviour;
they give suggestions about nutrition and water provision, stable
management, training, identification documents, transport,
euthanasia, education of farmers.
Our work highlights that protecting welfare of donkeys used
to produce milk may be affected by a lack of specific legislation.
As a first step, the development of specific guidelines would
help to improve their welfare.

Management practices and milk production in dairy donkey farms distributed over the Italian territory

Citation

Francesca Dai, Giulia Segati, Emanueala Dalla Costa, Faith A. Burden, Andrew Judge, Michela Minero. April 2017. Management practices and milk production in dairy donkey farms distributed over the Italian territory. Macedonian Veterinary Review. 40:2. 1-4.

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Publication date: 
6 April 2017
Volume: 
40
Issue: 
2
Page numbers: 
1-4
DOI number: 
10.1515/macvetrev-2017-0016
Abstract

Limited information is available about the actual management characteristics of dairy donkeys in Southern Europe. The aim of the present study is to describe animal management of dairy donkey farms in Italy. Twelve farmers were asked to answer a questionnaire on the management of their animals and their farms distributed over the Italian territory. Six farms grouped their animals in paddocks according to the production characteristics (e.g. lactating, dry, stallions); three farms housed the stallions in single boxes. Most of the visited farms were family run and the number of animals cared for by a single person varied from five to 103 animals. All the farms but one performed mechanical milking with a modified goat milkmaid.Vaccinations were regularly performed only on two farms. All the foals received colostrum and suckled from their own mothers. Foals were nursed by their mother until 6-12 months old. During the separation period before milking, foals were usually (83%) housed in paddocks near their mothers with the possibility of visual and/or tactile contact, however such separations could be for up to 12 hours (17%). Even though the assessed sample was small, considerable differences were seen between farms, likely due to lack of uniform information available for the farmers. The adoption of scientific based procedures is suggested in order to improve both animal welfare and milk quality.

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