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 […]

Do farmers and scientists differ in their understanding and assessment of farm animal welfare?

In response to an increased public awareness regarding how livestock are reared, animal welfare scientists have attempted to develop new methods of welfare assessment at the farm level. Furthermore, in recent years they have increasingly moved away from the conventional approach of evaluating the provision of resources necessary to ensure good welfare, and have instead […]

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’ […]

Inter- and intra-observer reliability of experienced and inexperienced observers for the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment in dairy cattle

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) is part of the Welfare Quality® protocol for dairy cattle, although its inter- and intra-observer reliability have not been reported. This study evaluated inter- and intra-observer reliability of the QBA for dairy cattle in experienced and inexperienced observers using videos. Eight experienced observers performed the QBA (20 descriptors) twice for 16 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A continuous recording approach to qualitative behaviour assessment in dairy buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis)

In order to develop a method suitable for a continuous qualitative evaluation of animal behaviour while it changes during the observation period, two recently described techniques, the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) and the Temporal Dominant Behavioural Expression (TDBE), derived by the Temporal Dominance of Sensations, were used in combination and applied to 8 Mediterranean buffalo […]

Intra-day variation of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment outcomes in dairy cattle

Qualitative Behaviour Assessment of cattle expression using a fixed rating scale of 20 descriptors is one of the measures of the Welfare Quality® (WQ) assessment protocol for dairy cattle. As for other on-farm measures of welfare, reliability is an important issue especially if farms are to be certified. This study investigated the repeatability of QBA […]

Hormonal and behavioural stress responses to capture and radio-collar fitting in free-ranging pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus)

This study evaluated the short-term hormonal and behavioural responses to capture and radio-collar fitting in free-ranging pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus). Twenty adult deer (eleven females and nine males) were captured in the South Pantanal wetland (Brazil) and equipped with VHF radio-collars (marked deer). Untreated adult deer of the same sex were randomly chosen as the […]

On-farm qualitative behaviour assessment in sheep: Repeated measurements across time, and association with physical indicators of flock health and welfare

Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) is a ‘whole-animal’ methodology that assesses the expressive qualities of animal behaviour using terms such as ‘tense’, ‘relaxed’, ‘anxious’, and ‘content’. The reliability and validity of QBA as an indicator for on-farm welfare assessment in pigs, cattle, poultry and sheep has been examined in a number of ways. However, the use […]