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Lecture 3. Animal welfare science: concepts, measurement and improving quality of life

In this lecture we will consider the science of animal welfare focusing primarily on farmed animals. We will address the concept of animal sentience. We will go on to review how evidence from physiological, behavioural, disease and production data informs assessment of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ animal welfare. We will also consider the value and impact of animal welfare science and how this compliments and conflicts with qualitative holistic assessment and an anthropomorphic approach.

Slides here


Essential reading
Dawkins (2006). Through animal eyes: what behaviour tells us. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 100, 4-6. [available at]

Mason G and Mendl M (1993). Why is there no simple way of measuring animal welfare? Animal Welfare. 2, 301-319 [available at]


Further reading to get most out of the class (also see lecture slides for references)
Kirkden, R D and Pajor E A (2006). Using preference, motivation and aversion tests to ask scientific questions about animals’ feelings. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 100, 29-47. [available at]

Wemelsfelder, F (2007). How animals communicate quality of life: the quantitative assessment of behaviour. Animal Welfare I 6(s): 25-31 [available at]

Fraser, D et al (1997). A scientific conception of animals welfare and reflects ethical concerns. Animal Welfare, 6:187-20 [available at]

Fraser, D et al (2013). General Principles for the welfare of animals in production systems: The underlying science and its application. The Veterinary Journal, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.06.028 (Warwick Library login required)

Hemsworth (2003). Human animal interactions in livestock production. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 81 185-198 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159102002800 (Warwick Library login required)

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Thank you to François Wemelsfelder / Marianne Farish at SRUC for providing the video resources for this lecture