The spontaneous qualitative assessment of behavioural expressions in pigs: first explorations of a novel methodology for integrative animal welfare measurement

Qualitative assessments of behaviour integrate and summarize the different aspects of an animal’s dynamic style of interaction with the environment, using descriptors such as ‘timid’ or ‘confident’. Although such qualitative terms are widely used in the study of animal temperament and personality, their use in relation to questions of animal welfare has yet to be […]

Quantitative and qualitative assessment of the response of foals to the presence of an unfamiliar human

This work aimed to apply a combined qualitative and quantitative approach to the interpretation of an on-farm behaviour test for horses, and to examine whether 1 month of handling would affect the response of yearlings to an unfamiliar stationary human in their home environment. Throughout a 1-month period, 14 Thoroughbred Yearlings (16 ± 0.22 months […]

Application of Qualitative Behavioural Assessment to horses during an endurance ride

Endurance horses are considered subject to a unique set of training and competing pressures due to the long distances travelled. The health and welfare of these horses could be compromised if they have not been adequately trained or are pushed beyond their limits, and there are increasing concerns regarding the capacity of horses to cope […]

Socialising piglets in lactation positively affects their post-weaning behaviour

Although commercial farrowing sheds keep individual litters separated, previous studies have suggested that housing systems that allow socialisation of piglets pre-weaning can reduce aggression after weaning. This study tested whether pigs socialised with non-litter mates pre-weaning would show less aggression during mixing at weaning (when piglets are taken from their sows and mixed in group […]

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment of dogs in the shelter and home environment and relationship with quantitative behaviour assessment and physiological responses

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) was utilised to examine the behavioural expression of dogs in different housing environments and the results were compared to measurements of quantitative behaviour and physiology. Firstly, quantitative behavioural and physiological differences were investigated between dogs in 3 housing environments (short-term shelter confinement, ≤4 days, n = 10; long-term shelter confinement, >30 […]

What we can measure, we can manage: The importance of using robust welfare indicators in Equitation Science

Ever since the phrase, ‘the happy athlete’ was introduced into the FEI rules for dressage (Article 401.1) there have been discussions about what this actually means and whether it is possible to recognize and reward positive emotions in working horses. For those interested in the study of equine behaviour, the use of such subjective terms […]

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment of horses exposed to short-term emotional treatments

Assessing emotion in animals is fundamental to the study of animal welfare with methodologies for reliable and valid assessments being highly desirable. Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) is based on the assumption that human observers are capable of integrating details of animals’ behavioural expressions using descriptors (e.g. calm, playful) that reflect the animals’ putative emotional experiences. […]