A comparison of two animal welfare protocols for dairy cattle.
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For the scoring of cow comfort more options are possible. In this study two scoring systems are compared, being the cow comfort score system  and the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for dairy cattle . These scoring systems are developed to score the welfare of dairy cows. The study was performed in the northern part of Greece during February and March 2010 by two investigators combined with another study. A random sample of eight farms were visited, the size of the farms differed from 32 to 175 dairy cows. Because the cow-comfort score is designed for Holstein Friesian cows and has to be applied on stalls with cubicles only farms with this breed and these type off barns were used. The main difference lies in the practical execution. The cow comfort score system is committed more to assess the environment of the cow. The Welfare Quality® protocol gives much attention to individual cows, about their emotional and physical state. The cow comfort score system is more easy and quick to use. Examining cows individually takes longer and is more subjective. Examining the environment of the cow is objective and can be done quickly. Despite the duration difference in execution the results of both systems had a correlation of 0.843 (P= 0.009). Scores achieved by the individual farms using the cow comfort score system varied from 55 until 330 points. The overall assessment of the farms with the welfare quality protocol varied from not classified to enhanced. The results of this study show that both systems can be used to assess the welfare status of the cows on a dairy farm in Greece. Since the number of farms studied in the present study is not large, more studies are needed to confirm the findings.