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While several definitions of animal welfare exist, in this paper we use the concept of the Five Freedoms. The Five Freedoms are freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom from fear and distress; freedom to perform normal behavior. While the idea of the Five Freedoms has limitations, it is still a widely-used conceptualization of animal welfare and we use it here to discuss the welfare of cattle in intensive and extensive management systems in Vietnam and Australia. Compared to extensive pasture systems, intensive management systems do result in heightened animal welfare concerns. These relate particularly to metabolic diseases, discomfort due to high humidity and inadequate bedding, increased prevalence of lameness and respiratory disease and an inability to satisfy normal behavioural requirements such as manipulation of feed and access to grooming. However, an understanding of these limitations will allow increased attention to possible welfare compromise.

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Developing and Implementing Animal Welfare Assessments on Extensive and Intensive Grassland Systems: An Overview

While several definitions of animal welfare exist, in this paper we use the concept of the Five Freedoms. The Five Freedoms are freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom from fear and distress; freedom to perform normal behavior. While the idea of the Five Freedoms has limitations, it is still a widely-used conceptualization of animal welfare and we use it here to discuss the welfare of cattle in intensive and extensive management systems in Vietnam and Australia. Compared to extensive pasture systems, intensive management systems do result in heightened animal welfare concerns. These relate particularly to metabolic diseases, discomfort due to high humidity and inadequate bedding, increased prevalence of lameness and respiratory disease and an inability to satisfy normal behavioural requirements such as manipulation of feed and access to grooming. However, an understanding of these limitations will allow increased attention to possible welfare compromise.