Pets: Behavior and Welfare Assessment

The current comprehensive view is that the welfare of pets can be accessed on the basis of three distinct but overlapping domains: health and physiological functioning (body), affective state (mind), and social functioning including normal development, behavior, and temperament (nature). Behavioral assessment is used to assess each of these domains. Behavior provides information about pets’ […]

The effect of perceived environmental background on qualitative assessments of pig behaviour

Qualitative behaviour assessment is an integrative methodology that characterizes behaviour as a dynamic, expressive body language (e.g. as anxious or content). Such assessments are sensitive to environmental context, which makes them informative but also vulnerable to observers’ biased views of that context. This study investigated whether and how perceived environmental background affects observers’ qualitative assessments […]

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 […]

Qualitative assessment of social behaviour of dairy cows housed in loose housing systems

This study evaluates the qualitative assessment of dairy cows’ social behaviour on farm with regard to its inter- and intra-observer reliability and its correlation to quantitative ethogram-based assessment. Qualitative behaviour assessment is a method based upon the integration by observers of perceived animal behaviour expression, using descriptors such as ‘calm’, ‘aggressive’, ‘sociable’ or ‘indifferent’. Cows’ […]

Qualitative behaviour assessment of dairy buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis)

This study applies qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA) for the first time to dairy buffaloes, using three groups of observers with different cultural backgrounds and different levels of experience in animal behaviour observation and buffalo farming. Eight buffalo heifers aged 16–18 months were subjected to two isolation tests, one performed in the indoor part of their […]

Qualitative Behavioural Assessment of Angus steers during pre-slaughter handling and relationship with temperament and physiological responses

This study examined the behavioural expression of cattle immediately prior to slaughter through the process of Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA), and compared these results to measurements of physiology and temperament. Twenty-eight Angus steers were filmed while in a funnel chute as they were being moved towards an abattoir killing box. Footage of cattle was shown […]

Flooring and driving conditions during road transport influence the behavioural expression of cattle

This study examined whether observers could distinguish between cattle that were exposed to various road transport conditions: Experiment 1 compared a manipulated flooring treatment (non-grip flooring, NG) with a control transport event (grip flooring, G) and Experiment 2 compared a manipulated driving style (stop-start driving, SS) with a control transport event of smooth, continuous (C) […]

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 […]

Application of Free Choice Profiling to assess the emotional state of dogs housed in shelter environments

Dogs housed in shelters may experience poor welfare. To ensure these dogs a good quality of life, welfare assessment tools should be sensitive not only to the animals’ physical health but also to their mental state, including the assessment of positive and negative emotions. In this study, we focused on the assessment of shelter dogs’ […]