India Partnering Award: Health and welfare consequences of maladaptation of high-producing cross-bred dairy cattle to environmental stressors in India

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Clinical Veterinary Science


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Description This is the first stage in developing a range of welfare and risk assessments for dairy farming in India. Already a set of priorities has been identified derived and adapted from best practice in the UK which the Indian ECR took back to India for systematic assessment in the period before the return visit of the Bristol ECR, which occurred in November/December 2016. These were be targeted at specific hazards (e.g. heat stress) and practices (e.g. tethering) in India. A workshop was convened in Kerala, India, to discuss the outcomes of the two exchange visits. From this, a standard welfare and welfare risk assessment tool is being developed, tailored to the specific needs in Kerala. We have identified some specific and strategic needs in order to advance welfare in India. Specific needs are to identify the key signs of heat/humidity effects on dairy cattle, to quantify foot problems in relation to freedom of movement, and recognising sterotypies in relation to housing conditions. A quick win, with a low level of associated risk, is to discourage the use of tethering whilst cattle are housed within the shed. Strategic goals should be to encourage the formation of welfare groupings within academic institutions, to encourage researchers to recognise welfare as a career option, and to perform a socio-economic study to identify the drivers (or lack of) of improved welfare in India, being public awareness, academic activity, farmer education or economic incentives.
Exploitation Route Having developed standard welfare assessment protocols, we need to apply these on test farms to test for practicality, utility and efficacy, measured against farmer expectations, welfare improvements, and effects on productivity/profitability.
We need to plan additional studies to further these outcomes, and we intend to progress these with our Indian partners.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment,Retail,Other

Description GENESIS: Modular Insect Bioconversion System for On-site Animal Feed Production
Amount £572,566 (GBP)
Funding ID 104387 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 09/2020
Description Smallholder Dairy Cooperatives in Addressing Sustainable Development Goals in ODA Countries
Amount £22,000 (GBP)
Organisation Worldwide Universities Network 
Sector Academic/University
Country Global
Start 01/2019 
End 01/2020
Description Cattle welfare and productivity in India 
Organisation Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Building on the WUN funded Global Farm Platform initiative, and the BBSRC India Partnering Award two workshops have been organised, in India and Bristol, UK, and an International Scientific Meeting, Steps to Sustainable Livestock, 12th-15th January, 2016, University of Bristol, UK
Collaborator Contribution Delegates from our Partner in Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have attended workshops and scientific meetings in the UK, and both organised (2015) and hosted (2016) two workshops on sustainable intensification of livestock production.
Impact Three international workshops One International Scientific Meeting
Start Year 2015
Description Global Farm Platform 
Organisation Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Attended three international workshops. Obtained funding for research with KVASU, India Publication in Nature Organised an International conference with 180 delegates from over 30 countries
Collaborator Contribution Sethu Madhavan, KVASU; organised two workshops in Kerala, India in 2013 and 2015. Co-Applicant on BBSRC India Partnering Award. Graeme Martin, University of Western Australia; organised workshop in Perth Australia in 2014. Contributed to a co-authored Nature paper.
Impact Nature Paper. Steps to sustainable livestock International conference; Steps to sustainable livestock BBSRC India Partnering Award
Start Year 2013