Addressing lameness in farmed animals: An urgent need to comply with EU animal welfare law
We also briefly present the situation in different farming sectors. We make the case that, in order to comply with current EU farmed animal welfare law, lameness prevalence and severity should be regularly monitored on farm, and species-specific alarm thresholds should be used to trigger corrective actions.
Lameness is the clinical manifestation of a range of painful locomotory conditions affecting many species of farmed animals. Although these conditions have serious consequences for animal welfare, productivity, and longevity, the prevention and treatment of lameness continue to receive insufficient attention in most farming sectors across the European Union (EU). In this paper, we outline the legislative framework that regulates the handling of lameness and other painful conditions in farmed animals in the EU. We briefly outline the current situation in different livestock farming sectors. Finally, we make the case for the introduction of regular on-farm monitoring of lameness and for the setting of alarm thresholds that should trigger corrective actions.