Rating Methodology, Personality Axes, and Behavioral Plasticity: A Case Study in African Lions

Animal personality refers to individual differences in behavior that are consistent across time and across contexts. As it plays an ecological and evolutionary role for many animals by affecting fitness, it is likely to play a role in how both species and individuals fare in captivity. Assessment of animal personality by caretaker ratings has been […]

A pilot investigation of Farm Assurance assessors’ attitude to farm animal welfare as a confounding factor to training in pig welfare outcome measures

The effect of Farm Assurance (FA) assessors’ attitude to farm animal welfare on the inter-observer reliability of some welfare outcome measures achieved following training was investigated as part of a larger project examining the feasibility and benefits of the incorporation of some on-farm welfare outcome assessments into UK Pig Farm Assurance Schemes. A total of […]

Effect of training on the inter-observer reliability of lameness scoring in dairy cattle

In the present study, the effect of training on inter-observer reliability was studied for a 5-category lameness scoring system used for routine on-farm surveys of welfare in dairy cattle. The inter-observer agreement between an experienced and an initially inexperienced observer was determined during an initial training phase and at specific time points in the course […]

A training programme to ensure high repeatability of injury scoring of dairy cows

Obtaining reliable welfare outcome measures from commercial farms can be challenging. We developed a training programme to train observers to score injuries of the tarsal joint, carpal joint and neck on dairy cows as part of an on-farm study. Twelve trainees were trained using protocols and photographs in a classroom session and on-farm visits. Continued […]

Inter-observer reliability of Qualitative Behavioural Assessments of sheep

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) is whole-animal methodology that assesses the expressive qualities of animal demeanour using descriptors such as ‘relaxed’, ‘anxious’ or ‘content’. This study aimed to examine the inter-observer reliability of 12 fixed-list QBA descriptors for sheep that had been generated in a previous Free-Choice Profiling study by experienced animal welfare inspectors, based on […]

On-farm Qualitative Behaviour Assessment of dairy goats in different housing conditions

This study reports the results of the first investigation on the use of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) in dairy goats, using a fixed-list of descriptors specifically developed for this species. It aimed to verify whether QBA can be reliably used by observers with different backgrounds to differentiate between the emotional states of goats kept under […]

Inter- and intra-observer reliability of different methods for recording temperament in beef and dairy calves

Breeding of cattle with docile temperament can simplify routine practices and enhance welfare of cattle in common production systems. The aim of the study was to compare and validate some aspects of assessment methods for temperament traits in cattle for their potential use in breeding programmes. Calves of different beef and dairy cattle breeds were […]

Inter-observer reliability of Qualitative Behavioural Assessments (QBA) of housed sheep in Norway using fixed lists of descriptors

Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) is a whole-animal approach used to quantify the expressive style of animals’ behaviour. The aim of this study was to evaluate the inter-observer reliability of principal components and individual descriptors from QBA of housed sheep in Norway using a fixed list of descriptors. In part 1, eight animal welfare inspectors from […]