Whilst there are many tools for the assessment of welfare in livestock, there is none for camels. This study aimed therefore to pilot a method for assessing the welfare status of camels using animal-, resource- and management-based indicators at a camel market in Qatar. Adapting the AWIN protocol, data related to housing, feeding, health, and behaviour were collected at three levels: caretaker, herd, and animal. The Caretaker level was an interview exploring the caretaker’s background, experience, and routine management practices. The Herd level was a check of the herd and of the place (i.e. box/pen) where camels were kept. At the Animal level, BCS, health, and behavioral parameters were recorded from 2 animals/pens, randomly selected. The number of animals/pens varied (average: 7, range: 1–37 animals) with a total population of 528 animals. The size of the pen was variable (26–256 m2), and consequently the space allowance varied from 2.5 to 34 m2/animal. The environmental temperature was high (average: 42 °C, range: 37–50 °C) and when in the paddock there was a shelter (86%) the camels moved into the shade (313/528 animals). In all paddock, there was a water point, but the water was often not available (22%), dirty (41%), or warm (max:42.9 °C); the majority of the camels therefore drunk when clean and fresh water was offered (bucket test latency time: median =8 sec, IQR =3–40 sec). BCS varied and was rarely optimal (median =2, IQR =2–3). Most of the animals (89%, p < .001) were free of movements (1% tied, 10% hobbled). However, many animals were not free from disease (38%), injuries (5%), scars (7%), and cauterization (38%). Skin diseases were the most common health problems (28%; p < .001), followed by respiratory diseases (4%). The majority of the animals showed a good human-animal relationship (friendly, 48%, or neutral, 30%, approach; p < .001), and no stereotypes were noted. However, some animals were aggressive (6%), when they were old, in pain (2%), or distressed (8%). The caretaker came mainly from Sudan (91%; p < .001), with experience in camel handling often learned by father-son tradition (82%; p < .001) and for many of them, animal welfare was ‘treat the animals gently, feeding and watering them’. This was a preliminary study to pilot a tool to assess welfare in camels; further studies are needed to validate this tool in other camel farms worldwide.

An innovative tool for assessing welfare of camels

Laura Menchetti
Primo
;
Martina Zappaterra
Secondo
;
Leonardo Nanni Costa
Penultimo
;
Barbara Padalino
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

Whilst there are many tools for the assessment of welfare in livestock, there is none for camels. This study aimed therefore to pilot a method for assessing the welfare status of camels using animal-, resource- and management-based indicators at a camel market in Qatar. Adapting the AWIN protocol, data related to housing, feeding, health, and behaviour were collected at three levels: caretaker, herd, and animal. The Caretaker level was an interview exploring the caretaker’s background, experience, and routine management practices. The Herd level was a check of the herd and of the place (i.e. box/pen) where camels were kept. At the Animal level, BCS, health, and behavioral parameters were recorded from 2 animals/pens, randomly selected. The number of animals/pens varied (average: 7, range: 1–37 animals) with a total population of 528 animals. The size of the pen was variable (26–256 m2), and consequently the space allowance varied from 2.5 to 34 m2/animal. The environmental temperature was high (average: 42 °C, range: 37–50 °C) and when in the paddock there was a shelter (86%) the camels moved into the shade (313/528 animals). In all paddock, there was a water point, but the water was often not available (22%), dirty (41%), or warm (max:42.9 °C); the majority of the camels therefore drunk when clean and fresh water was offered (bucket test latency time: median =8 sec, IQR =3–40 sec). BCS varied and was rarely optimal (median =2, IQR =2–3). Most of the animals (89%, p < .001) were free of movements (1% tied, 10% hobbled). However, many animals were not free from disease (38%), injuries (5%), scars (7%), and cauterization (38%). Skin diseases were the most common health problems (28%; p < .001), followed by respiratory diseases (4%). The majority of the animals showed a good human-animal relationship (friendly, 48%, or neutral, 30%, approach; p < .001), and no stereotypes were noted. However, some animals were aggressive (6%), when they were old, in pain (2%), or distressed (8%). The caretaker came mainly from Sudan (91%; p < .001), with experience in camel handling often learned by father-son tradition (82%; p < .001) and for many of them, animal welfare was ‘treat the animals gently, feeding and watering them’. This was a preliminary study to pilot a tool to assess welfare in camels; further studies are needed to validate this tool in other camel farms worldwide.
ASPA 24th Congress Book of Abstract
54
54
Laura Menchetti; Martina Zappaterra; Dabide Monaco; Leonardo Nanni Costa; Barbara Padalino
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/868812
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