Mobility scoring of cattle
Edwards-Calloway, L.N., Calvo-Lorenzo, M.S., Scanga, J.A., and Grandin, T. (2017)
Mobility Scoring of Finished Cattle. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Food Animal Practice, 33:235-250
Lameness is among the most important welfare and production issues affecting dairy cattle. Recently, it has received signifiant research emphasis. Certain events in 2013 within the cattle industry heightened the focus on mobility issues in finished cattle. Scoring systems are needed in the finished cattle industry to capture and measure mobility issues at packing facilities. The North American Meat Institute Animal Welfare Committee helped facilitate the creation of a scoring system to evaluate mobility of cattle at packing plants, providing the cattle industry with a tool to benchmark and improve the welfare of finished cattle.
- Mobility Score 1 - Normal, walks easily with no apparent lameness or change in gait.
- Mobility Score 2 - Exhibits minor stiffness, shortness of stride or a slight limp but keeps up with normal cattle in the group.
- Mobility Score 3 - Exhibits obvious stiffness, difficulty taking steps, an obvious limp or obvious discomfort and lags behind normal cattle walking as a group.
- Mobility Score 4 - Extremely reluctant to move even when encouraged by a handler. Described as statue-like.
This mobility scoring system is easy to use when cattle are walking off a vehicle or when entering or exiting pens. Inter-observer reliability is good because it is easy to train people to differentiate between a lame animal that keep up with a walking group of cattle and an animal that lags behind the group.
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