Report Detail Page

Integrated Framework to Develop Objective Welfare Measures

A workshop on Objective Measures of Animal Welfare was convened by MLA/AWI in Sydney on 6 and 7 June 2005. Thirty-nine participants representing farming industries, government, animal welfare interests, and Australian and International research groups met to identify strategies for a coordinated approach to the development of improved and objective measures of animal welfare for the Australian animal agriculture industries.

During the course of the workshop several common themes emerged in the context of objective welfare assessment. Notably, recognition of the need for an integrated approach, recognition of the importance of animal feelings/emotions within any future assessment of animal welfare and the importance of matching the acceptable levels of animal welfare assessments with public attitudes and expectations for farm animal management.

The workshop was designed to facilitate discussion about the key elements of an integrated objective welfare assessment framework including; the experimental challenge models, the measurement approaches and integration of measurement inputs.

Based on the workshop inputs and after considering the criteria of relevance, practicability, repeatability and type of stress response, the authors of this report propose that the following experimental challenge models are the most suitable:

1. Rest deprivation

2. Fear

3. Thermal (hot and cold)

4. Under-nutrition

Emphasis was given by the authors to those challenges that elicit a more chronic stress response as the costs of adaptation are likely to be higher and therefore, more likely to compromise animal welfare. However, these particular models will enable the quantification of both the acute (initial) and chronic responses to the specific stressors.

Assessments of animal cognition and feelings, behaviour, health, physiology (including gene expression), productivity and environment were all considered relevant within the framework. The inclusion of each will ultimately depend on the specific challenge model, the experimental hypotheses and design constraints. For specific measurement approaches, such as those aimed at the quantification of animal feelings and emotions, further development is required to establish their applicability within the framework. An indicative matrix of measurement approaches and experimental challenge models is proposed.

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7.0MB 01/10/2005

This page was last updated on 10/11/2014

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