Interobserver agreement and sensitivity to climatic conditions in sheltered dogs’ welfare evaluation performed with welfare assessment protocol (Shelter Quality protocol)

The Shelter Quality protocol (SQP) is a concise and easily implemented tool for assessing dog welfare and to identify critical aspects of the shelter environment. A first version of the protocol has been modified to improve its performance. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability of the measures included in the second […]

Changes in the welfare of mink (Neovison vison) with date of assessment in the winter and growth periods have limited effects on the overall WelFur categorisation

In this study we investigated the robustness of the WelFur welfare assessment system for farmed mink (Neovison vison) to date of assessment in the winter and growth assessment periods. The prevalence of occurrences of certain measurements was hypothesised to increase with date of assessment (too thin, fur-chewing and stereotypic behaviour in the winter period and […]

Animal models of behavioral dysfunctions: Basic concepts and classifications, and an evaluation strategy

In behavioral neurosciences, such as neurobiology and biopsychology, animal models make it possible to investigate brain–behavior relations, with the aim of gaining insight into normal and abnormal human behavior and its underlying neuronal and neuroendocrinological processes. Different types of animal models of behavioral dysfunctions are reviewed in this article. In order to determine the precise […]

Reliability and feasibility of selected measures concerning resting behaviour for the on-farm welfare assessment in dairy cows

Resting is important for regeneration and disturbances are welfare relevant as they may be associated with insufficient recuperation, frustration, discomfort or pain and increased risk for health problems such as lameness or lesions. As part of the Welfare Quality® project this study aimed to identify feasible and reliable resting measures in terms of inter-observer reliability […]

Who’s afraid of the big bad glove? Testing for fear and its correlates in mink

Fear in farm animals is a welfare and economic concern. For Scandinavian mink, the “stick test” is common for assessing fearfulness: a spatula is inserted into the cage and minks’ immediate responses are noted. However, on Ontario farms, fearfulness in the stick test was very rare and aggressive responses were prevalent, rendering this test poor […]

Development of approach and handling tests for the assessment of reactivity to humans of sows housed in stall or in group

The aim of the present study was to develop reliable and easy-to-use tests for on-farm assessment of sow reactivity to human in different housing systems. A total of 123 gestating sows at different parities and stages of pregnancy were successively subjected to two tests according to their housing systems: an approach (AS) test and a […]

Inter-observer and test-retest reliability of on-farm behavioural observations in veal calves

The objective of this study was to investigate inter-observer and test-retest reliability of different behavioural observations to be used in an on-farm, animal welfare monitoring system for veal calves. Twenty-three veal calf farms, varying in size, housing system, feeding regime and age of the calves were visited twice with two observers, simultaneously. Behavioural tests were […]

On-farm welfare assessment in cattle- validity, reliability and feasibility issues and future perspectives with special regard to the Welfare Quality® approach

This paper discusses the current state of development of on-farm cattle welfare assessment systems with special regard to the approach of Welfare Quality® that focuses on animal-related measures. The central criteria validity, reliability and feasibility are considered with regard to selected welfare measures. All welfare measures incorporated into the Welfare Quality® protocol possess face validity, […]

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 […]