Introducing breathlessness as a significant animal welfare issue

Breathlessness is a negative affective experience relating to respiration, the animal welfare significance of which has largely been underestimated in the veterinary and animal welfare sciences. In this review, we draw attention to the negative impact that breathlessness can have on the welfare of individual animals and to the wide range of situations in which […]

Exploring horse owners’ and caretakers’ perceptions of emotions and associated behaviors in horses

Attribution of emotions to horses, as well as understanding how environmental factors may influence such states, may influence owners’ and caretakers’ attitudes toward horse welfare. This, in turn, may influence how they manage and treat their animals. The aim of this study was to explore the views of Brazilian horse owners and caretakers regarding horse […]

Understanding animal welfare

In debates about the welfare of animals, different people have tended to emphasize different concerns. Some emphasize the basic health and functioning of animals, especially freedom from disease and injury. Others emphasize the “affective states” of animals – states like pain, distress and pleasure that are experienced as positive or negative. Others emphasize the ability […]

Social licking in dairy cattle—Effects on heart rate in performers and receivers

Using heart rate (HR) measurements we investigated whether potential calming effects of social licking were evident for both active (performers) and passive (receivers) licking partners. A HR decline was assumed to indicate relaxation and thus the experience of positive emotions. Effects of the licking category (spontaneous, solicited), the animals’ basic activity (standing, lying) and the […]

Opioid control of behaviour in sheep: Effects of morphine and naloxone on food intake, activity and the affective state

The affective states of animals are important determinants of welfare, yet they are poorly understood. Here we investigate opioid involvement in the regulation of behaviours that may be indicative of the arousal and valence components of affective states in sheep. Ewes treated with sterile water (C), a low or high dose of the opioid agonist […]

Acute stress enhances sensitivity to a highly attractive food reward without affecting judgement bias in laying hens

Affective states can be evaluated by assessing shifts in the animal’s expectation of a positive and negative outcome in response to ambiguous cues, also known as judgement bias (JB). The aim of this study was to use a JB methodology, using a go/go type of task where animals are required to make an active choice, […]

Measuring positive emotions in cows: Do visible eye whites tell us anything?

Insight into the emotional lives of animals is of utmost importance to the welfare of the billions of animals in our care, yet little is known about how to measure these states. Scientific understanding of how to measure and interpret positive emotional states is particularly lacking, although recent years have seen a notable increase in […]

What can inactivity (in its various forms) reveal about affective states in non-human animals? A review

Captive/domestic animals are often described as inactive, with the implicit or explicit implication that this high level of inactivity is a welfare problem. Conversely, not being inactive enough may also indicate or cause poor welfare. In humans, too much inactivity can certainly be associated with either negative or positive affective states. In non-human animals, however, […]

Applying welfare science to bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

Animal welfare science is a burgeoning field, but research on cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) is lacking. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the most well-known and studied cetaceans, particularly in captivity, and thus are used in this review as a model for other cetacean species. Despite the public interest and need for such research, studies […]