Understanding the multiple conceptions of animal welfare

Academics working on animal welfare typically consider the animal’s affective state (eg the experience of pain), biological functioning (eg the presence of injuries), and sometimes naturalness (eg access to pasture), but it is unclear how these different factors are weighed in different cases. We argue that progress can be informed by systematically observing how ordinary […]

Play behaviour in nonhuman animals and the animal welfare issue

The mission of defining animal welfare indicators is methodologically difficult, limited, and possibly impossible. A promising alternative, however, to evaluate suitable environmental conditions is the assessment of play behaviour. In the present review, we summarise the general aspects of play behaviour in nonhuman animals and propose its use as a potential indicator of animal welfare. […]

Environmental enrichment: A GAP analysis

GAP analyses are tools used to inform us about the short-comings of a scientific area or necessities in social–economic problems. In the last 20 years, environmental enrichment as an area of scientific investigation has come of age; this can be clearly seen by the number of publications produced in this area. For example, a search […]

Animal-based welfare monitoring: using keeper ratings as an assessment tool

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20281.abs Zoological institutions are in urgent need of identifying and implementing welfare assessment tools that allow for ongoing, quantitative monitoring of individual animal well-being. Although the American Zoological Association’s (AZA) Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) promotes the use of such tools in internal review processes, current approaches to institutional welfare assessment are resource-based and outline […]

GAPs in the study of zoo and wild animal welfare

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20285.abs To investigate the science of animal welfare for zoo and wild animals in the period from 1966 to 2007, we conducted a bibliometric analysis of abstracts downloaded from The Web of Science© database using the keyword combination “Animal welfare, Zoo* and wild” in the topic field. In total we downloaded 1,125 abstracts, which […]

Noninvasive assessment of adrenal activity associated with husbandry and behavioral factors in the North American clouded leopard population

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.10005.abs The North American clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) population is far from self-sustaining. Breeding success is poor and behavioral problems (i.e., fur-plucking, tail-chewing, excessive hiding or pacing, and intersexual aggression that results in mate killing) are common. This study was undertaken to investigate whether some of these problems may be indicators of chronic stress […]

Philosophy of environmental enrichment: Past, present, and future

Abstract The brief tenure of environmental enrichment has been influenced both directly and indirectly by the field of psychology, from the work of B.F. Skinner to that of Hal Markowitz. Research on enrichment supports the supposition that an enriched environment does indeed contribute to a captive animal’s well-being. Critical elements of effective environmental enrichment are […]

The science of animal well-being


Signalling need: costly signals and animal welfare assessment

If animals signal their level of need for certain resources, scientists should be able to use these signals in assessing animal well-being. Theoretical models show that, under certain conditions, natural selection can favour the evolution of “honest” signalling systems, where vocal and other natural signals provide reliable indicators of the signaller’s needs. These conditions include […]

Can Ambient Sound Reduce Distress in Piglets During Weaning and Restraint?

Music or other background sounds are often played in barns as environmental enrichment for animals on farms or to mask sudden disruptive noises. However, previous studies looking at the effects of this practice on nonhuman animal well-being and productivity have found contradictory results. This study monitored the vocal responses of piglets, as indicators of well-being, […]