Animal agency, animal awareness and animal welfare

In nature, animals need to actively engage with the environment in order to prosper in survival and reproduction. Hence, agency is a central adaptive characteristic of animal life. In this paper, I propose that from the adaptive/functional point of view, four levels of agency can be distinguished, namely passive/reactive agency (animal being behaviourally passive or […]

Pigs learn what a mirror image represents and use it to obtain information

Mirror usage has been taken to indicate some degree of awareness in animals. Can pigs, Sus scrofa, obtain information from a mirror? When put in a pen with a mirror in it, young pigs made movements while apparently looking at their image. After 5 h spent with a mirror, the pigs were shown a familiar food […]

The scientific validity of subjective concepts in models of animal welfare

This paper takes a closer look at the subjectivity/objectivity relationship, as it plays a role in the science of animal welfare. It argues that subjective, experiential states in animals such as well-being and suffering are, contrary to what is often assumed, open to empirical observation and scientific assessment. The presumably purely private, inaccessible nature of […]

Cognitive ability and awareness in domestic animals and decisions about obligations to animals

Observation of behaviour, especially social behaviour, and experimental studies of learning and brain function give us information about the complexity of concepts that animals have. In order to learn to obtain a resource or carry out an action, domestic animals may: relate stimuli such as human words to the reward, perform sequences of actions including […]

Farm managers underestimate lameness prevalence in Czech dairy herds

Lameness is one of the most serious health and welfare problems faced by dairy cattle. The aim of this study was to assess how aware Czech farm managers were of this problem. The project was carried out on 14 Czech dairy farms. The proportion of lame cows observed (ie prevalence of moderate and severe lameness) […]

Fish and welfare- do fish have the capacity for pain perception and suffering

Humans interact with fish in a number of ways and the question of whether fish have the capacity to perceive pain and to suffer has recently attracted considerable attention in both scientific and public fora. Only very recently have neuroanatomical studies revealed that teleost fish possess similar pain-processing receptors to higher vertebrates. Research has also […]

Obey or Not Obey? Dogs (Canis familiaris) Behave Differently in Response to Attentional States of Their Owners

Sixteen domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) were tested in a familiar context in a series of 1-min trials on how well they obeyed after being told by their owner to lie down. Food was used in 1/3 of all trials, and during the trial the owner engaged in 1 of 5 activities. The dogs behaved differently […]

The effect of heightened awareness of observation on consumption of a multi-item laboratory test meal in females

Human eating behaviour is often studied in the laboratory, but whether the extent to which a participant believes that their food intake is being measured influences consumption of different meal items is unclear. Our main objective was to examine whether heightened awareness of observation of food intake affects consumption of different food items during a […]