A protocol was developed by consultation with experts on the welfare of cattle to use direct observations of cattle and an examination of farm records to assess welfare. Fifty-three dairy farms in England were visited and assessed during the winter of 2000/01. The findings were compiled and the results of the welfare measurements were examined by 50 experts who indicated at what level they considered that improvement was required. More than 75 per cent of them considered that 32 of the 53 farms needed to take action to reduce the incidence of mastitis, and that at least 42 of the farms needed to take action to reduce the prevalence of lameness, overgrown claws, swollen and ulcerated hocks, and injuries from the environment.
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