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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Animal welfare.

Book cover for Animal welfare.


This second edition book is a collection of topics on animal welfare from 46 authors of varying expertise of 15 countries. The book is composed of five parts: I (issues), introduces the background and philosophy of animal welfare; II (problems), covers problems of animal welfare; III (assessment), considers various approaches to the assessment of animal welfare; IV (solutions), emphasizes how prob...


Chapter 12 (Page no: 200)

Practical strategies to assess (and improve) welfare.

There has been a growing interest in developing and implementing animal welfare assessment schemes on farm, in zoos, in experimental situations and even in the wild. Scientists, inspection bodies and politicians are also starting to consider seriously the use of animal welfare outcome-based measures (OBMs) such as behaviour or physical condition as a progression from resource-based measures (RBMs) for such schemes. Measures based directly on the animals can provide good indicators under a variety of conditions, as welfare is a characteristic of the individual animal, not just of the system in which animals are kept. Many modern farms, zoos, aquaria and other facilities are keen to identify welfare-monitoring tools that can be readily applied and allow for rapid assessment to provide timely feedback for management decisions. Improvements in welfare can be achieved through the combination of: (i) measurement; (ii) analysis of risk and environmental factors; (iii) provision of information resulting from the assessment; and (iv) promotion of positive change by supporting management decisions. In principle, individual measures can also be combined to give aggregate scores that can be presented to the producer, the animal keeper or the consumer. This requires the attribution of weighted values to the measures used to assess the impact of each measure with respect to animal welfare. Four questions arise about any approach that assesses the animals themselves: is it practical, is it valid (providing 'real' information about welfare), is it repeatable and is it robust (not influenced by weather, etc.)? Yet animal experience cannot be reduced to a mechanistic assessment: animals are variable, living and sentient beings and this must be realistically addressed in practical assessment systems. A multi-pronged strategy involving various RBMs and OBMs is most likely to provide the capacity for comprehensive welfare monitoring. Such a strategy may include regularly updated guidelines for species care, accreditation standards, longitudinal, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional studies, and assessment tools for continuous welfare monitoring. Two case studies are discussed in detail: welfare assessments of broiler chickens on farms and of clouded leopards in zoos. A laboratory animal application is then described related to the implementation of humane end points for research.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Animal ethics. Author(s): Palmer, C. Sandøe, P.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 13) Understanding animal welfare. Author(s): Keeling, L. J. Rushen, J. Duncan, I. J. H.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 27) Environmental challenge and animal agency. Author(s): Špinka, M. Wemelsfelder, F.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 44) Hunger and thirst. Author(s): Kyriazakis, I. Tolkamp, B.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 64) Pain. Author(s): Viñuela-Fernández, I. Weary, D. M. Flecknell, P.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 78) Fear and other negative emotions. Author(s): Jones, B. Boissy, A.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 98) Behavioural restriction. Author(s): Mason, G. J. Burn, C. C.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 120) Health and disease. Author(s): Cockram, M. S. Hughes, B. O.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 138) Behaviour. Author(s): Olsson, I. A. S. Würbel, H. Mench, J. A.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 155) Physiology. Author(s): Blache, D. Terlouw, C. Maloney, S. K.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 183) Preference and motivation research. Author(s): Fraser, D. Nicol, C. J.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 215) Physical conditions. Author(s): Nielsen, B. L. Appleby, M. C. Waran, N. K.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 228) Social conditions. Author(s): Galindo, F. Newberry, R. C. Mendl, M.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 246) Human contact. Author(s): Hemsworth, P. H. Boivin, X.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 263) Genetic selection. Author(s): Hocking, P. M. D'Eath, R. B. Kjaer, J. B.
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 279) Economics. Author(s): Bennett, R. Thompson, P.
Chapter: 18 (Page no: 291) Incentives and enforcement. Author(s): Knierim, U. Pajor, E. A. Jackson, W. T. Steiger, A.
Chapter: 19 (Page no: 304) International issues. Author(s): Appleby, M. C. Huertas, S. M.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • Division of Food Animal Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2011
  • ISBN
  • 9781845936594
  • Record Number
  • 20113188683