Animal-Based Indicators for On-Farm Welfare Assessment in Goats.

Minnig, Adrian; Zufferey, Romane; Thomann, Beat; Zwygart, Sibylle; Keil, Nina; Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud; Miserez, Raymond; Stucki, Dimitri; Zanolari, Patrik (2021). Animal-Based Indicators for On-Farm Welfare Assessment in Goats. Animals, 11(11) MDPI 10.3390/ani11113138

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This review describes the current state of knowledge relating to scientific literature on welfare indicators for goats. Our aim was to provide an overview of animal-based indicators for on-farm welfare assessments. We performed a literature search and extracted 96 relevant articles by title, abstract, and full-text screening. Out of these articles, similar indicators were aggregated to result in a total of 32 welfare indicators, some of which were covered in multiple articles, others in only a single one. We discuss a set of three established assessment protocols containing these indicators, as well as all individual indicators which were covered in more than one article. As single indicators, we identified lameness, body condition score (BCS), qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA), and human-animal relationship (HAR) tests with substantial evidence for sufficient validity to assess welfare in goats. A multitude of indicators (e.g., hair coat condition) was studied less intensively but was successfully used for welfare assessments. For some indicators (e.g., oblivion, lying behaviour), we highlight the need for future research to further validate them or to optimise their use in on-farm welfare assessments. Moreover, further investigations need to include kids, bucks, and meat and fibre goats, as well as extensively kept goats as the literature predominantly focuses on dairy goats in intensive production systems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Minnig, Adrian, Zufferey, Romane Tiphaine, Thomann, Beat Stefan, Zwygart, Sibylle, Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud Irene, Stucki, Dimitri Yves, Zanolari, Patrik


500 Science
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

16 Feb 2022 16:25

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:35

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

animal-based goat on-farm small ruminant welfare assessment welfare indicators




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