Bock, Bettina B., Swagemakers, Paul, Lever, John, Montanari, Claudio and Ferrari, Paolo (2010) Part II Farmers’ Experiences of the Farm Assessment: Interviews with Farmers. In: The Assessment of Animal Welfare on Broiler Farms. Welfare Quality Reports No. (18). Welfare Quality®, Cardiff University, Wales, pp. 29-98. ISBN 978-1-908442-02-4

The objective of work package 463 was to test the implementation of the WQ assessment Scheme on regular broiler farms. We assessed the perception and attitudes of farmers towards animal welfare and on-farm assessment, the experience and evaluation of the assessment itself and the relevance and applicability of the results. at the same time animal scientists assessed the welfare of the animals by WQ monitoring instruments. In addition they scored foot pad lesions at the slaughterhouse by way of video imaging. Both studies proceeded in parallel; farmers told, hence, about their real-life experience. It is to be noted that the WQ monitoring instruments were not at their final state, and experiences and comments of the farmers are to be interpreted as reflection and discussion on work in progress.

A team of sociologists carried out the study on farmers’ experiences, perception and attitude whereas the assessment of animal welfare was done by animal scientists. the study took place in three countries – Netherlands, Italy and the UK.

We choose to focus on broilers for two main reasons. First of all the production cycle of broilers is relatively short and so it is possible to assess the welfare of different flocks within a short time-span and to check more easily any improvement of animal welfare as a result of farmers’ interventions. a second reason for focusing on broilers is that it allows us to link this project to another project where a new way of checking for foot-pad lesions is developed. this is, moreover, a relatively easy manner of checking animal welfare that allows us to lower the burden of three on-farm assessments considerably.

In the following we report on the results of the welfare assessment (Part I) and the interviews with farmers about their perception and experience of animal welfare and the welfare assessment (Part II). In both parts we compare the results across the participating countries (Netherlands, Italy and United Kingdom). More in detail information on the national results of welfare assessment and interviews with farmers can be found in the deliverables 4.31.a (farmers’ interviews) and D4.31b (assessment results). as appendixes, we provide the technical and sociological questionnaires and the assessment reports that were sent to the farmers in the different countries.

Bettina B. Bock Ingrid de Jong


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