Worldwide there is an increasing interest to assure the welfare of production animals. Assessing animal welfare is time-consuming however, because many animals need to be observed for various aspects of animal welfare.
Therefore, Marion de Vries investigated whether welfare of dairy cattle can be predicted by data that are already routinely collected from herds, such as milk quality, mortality, and fertility. To this end, dairy cattle welfare was assessed in 196 Dutch dairy herds using the European Welfare Quality protocol. De Vries showed that most welfare scores can be predicted based on routine herd data. This screening facilitates easier detection of herds with welfare problems and safes assessment time because fewer farms need to be visited. De Vries also investigated shortening of the welfare assessment protocol, classification of overall dairy cattle welfare, and identification of housing and management aspects that can influence welfare of dairy cattle. The research was financially supported by the Animal Health Service Deventer.