Romanian sheep farmers’ welfare priorities and their knowledge on precision livestock farming

Ludovic Czizster*, CM Dwyer, Sorin Voia, Evangelia Sossidou, SE Erina, C Morgan-Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The aim of this study was to prioritize the welfare issues of the dairy sheep industry in Romania, and to determine farmers’ perceptions of precision livestock farming (PLF) approaches that could be applied to sheep welfare. Data were collected during the 1st National Workshop of the TechCare project (https://techcare-project.eu/) with stakeholders from Romania (online, April 2021), using the OPERA method. A list of 45 dairy sheep welfare issues identified within the project, were translated into Romanian, and sent via email to 47 stakeholders 10 days before the meeting. Thirty stakeholders participated at the meeting, divided into three groups, and each participant had the opportunity to discuss all welfare issues. Each group produced a list of 5 priority welfare issues, that was further discussed after reuniting the groups. At the end of the meeting, three dairy sheep welfare issues were found to be important for all participants: gastrointestinal parasites, lameness and mastitis. Two groups considered inadequate or contaminated water to be very important, while in other groups respiratory infection, heat stress and ectoparasites were prioritised.
For PLF perception, a questionnaire was used, together with terms definitions and explanations that were sent to all stakeholders. We present only the opinion of the Romanian sheep farmers (14 valid responses). A large proportion of farmers were aware of existing indicators of animal welfare (78%), and had some knowledge of using PLF technologies (64%). However, 42% of farmers had never used PLF for welfare assessment, while the same percentage reported using it occasionally. Most Romanian farmers agreed that PLF would improve consumer knowledge of animal welfare (93%), and PLF should be promoted along the value chain (86%). A majority of farmers agreed that PLF enables effective income increase (71%) and improve production efficiency (78%), and 71% did not believe that PLF is too costly to implement. Overall, the study suggests that farmers in Romania are positive towards the use of PLF to manage sheep welfare issues
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages513
Number of pages1
Volume28
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-937-4
ISBN (Print) 978-90-8686-385-3
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Sep 2022
Event73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 5 Sep 20228 Sep 2022

Conference

Conference73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Country/TerritoryPortugal
CityPorto
Period5/09/228/09/22

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