Fluctuating asymmetry as an animal welfare indicator — A review of methodology and validity

It has been suggested that fluctuating asymmetry (FA) reflects an animal’s ability to cope with the sum of challenges during its growing period and, thus, is a potential welfare indicator. In this review we investigate the evidence of associations between FA and other welfare indicators measured at the level of the individual and of effects […]

Potential animal-centred indicators of dairy goat welfare

This paper presents five tests based on behavioural and other animal-centred observations concerning dairy goat welfare. An emotional reactivity test (n = 40) classified the animals into different groups according to their behaviour in response to fear-eliciting stimuli, and identified anxious animals. Movement parameters and behaviour, as well as quantitative (number of cries) and qualitative […]

The Contribution of Broiler Chicken Welfare Certification at Farm Level to Enhancing Overall Animal Welfare: The Case of Brazil

The intensification of farm animal welfare debate has led to an increasing number of certification schemes covering this issue; however, there are concerns about the contribution of these schemes in improving welfare. The aims of this study were to identify certification schemes for broiler chicken welfare at farm level in Brazil, to investigate the extent […]

The physiological consequences of crib-biting in horses in response to an ACTH challenge test

Stereotypies are repetitive and relatively invariant patterns of behavior, which are observed in a wide range of species in captivity. Stereotypic behavior occurs when environmental demands produce a physiological response that, if sustained for an extended period, exceeds the natural physiological regulatory capacity of the organism, particularly in situations that include unpredictability and uncontrollability. One […]

An Investigation into the Human Element of On-farm Animal Welfare Incidents in Ireland

A previous study on key farm performance indicators for animal welfare incidents in Ireland provided anecdotal evidence to suggest that farm animal welfare standards are often underpinned by social and human health-related factors among farmers. The present study took an exploratory approach to identify these factors and how they influence farm animal neglect. Semi-structured interviews […]

Animal welfare in the sow barn

Animal welfare in livestock production systems has become more and more important. But how do you measure animal welfare? Simple standards are not sufficient, multidimensional evaluation systems are needed. In this article, different valuation methods are presented and compared in terms of their validity and practicality

Detecting horses’ sickness: In search of visible signs

Assessing sickness in animals, by which we refer to non-specific states involving both physical discomfort and negative emotional states, is a real challenge. In this review, we demonstrate the need for clear and simple indicators of sickness in horses, a species in which suffering is largely underestimated. We provide a critical review of existing tools […]

Quality of life and animal behaviour

QOL is an intrinsically evaluative concept of how valuable (positive or negative) each animal’s life is for that animal from the animal’s point of view. QOL relates to animals’ experiences and their causes; is a “broad” concept in terms of content; extends over time; and relates to the particular individual. Observable animal behaviour is an […]

Dairy farmers’ use and non-use values in animal welfare: Determining the empirical content and structure with anchored best-worst scaling

In this study, we sought to identify empirically the types of use and non-use values that motivate dairy farmers in their work relating to animal welfare of dairy cows. We also sought to identify how they prioritize between these use and non-use values. Use values are derived from productivity considerations; non-use values are derived from […]

Development of a new welfare assessment protocol for practical application in long-term dog shelters

In many European shelters, dogs may spend many years confined. A poor environment and inappropriate management may lead to a low quality of life. The absence of harmonised European regulatory frameworks defining the minimum requirements for shelter facilities makes the definition of welfare standards for kennelled dogs challenging. Here, a new protocol was developed and […]