New global animal welfare platform launched

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has recently developed an exciting new platform for professionals in the animal welfare field around the globe to network, collaborate and share information on animal welfare. Powered by WSPA, Animal Mosaic is the ‘one-stop-shop’ for animal welfare resources.

Animal Mosaic has sections on current animal welfare related news, . . . → Read More: New global animal welfare platform launched

Inter-observer agreement, diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of animal-based indicators of young lamb welfare

A scientific literature review and consensus of expert opinion used the welfare definitions provided by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) Five Freedoms as the framework for selecting a set of animal-based indicators that were sensitive to the current on-farm welfare issues of young lambs (aged ⩽6 weeks). Ten animal-based indicators assessed by observation – demeanour, . . . → Read More: Inter-observer agreement, diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of animal-based indicators of young lamb welfare

Physiological and behavioural responses of poultry exposed to gas-filled high expansion foam

Disease control measures require poultry to be killed on farms to minimise the risk of disease being transmitted to other poultry and, in some cases, to protect public health. We assessed the welfare implications for poultry of the use of high-expansion gas-filled foam as a potentially humane, emergency killing method. In laboratory trials, broiler chickens, adult . . . → Read More: Physiological and behavioural responses of poultry exposed to gas-filled high expansion foam

Vet Ethics: The True Meaning of Welfare

“Bounce”, a healthy and well fed Golden Retriever, has an active and varied life. On most days she is able to leave her sleeping quarters and go for a much-anticipated outing for several hours. She shows much enjoyment and excitement on her daily romps, especially when she meets and plays with other dogs (and people too) – some of whom she has got to know and especially like. She loves to follow a scent, roll about in the dirt, run full pelt through the grass, and wade through water. Her escapades often leave her tired and sore, but she is just as happy to do it all again the next day.

“Loafer” the Labrador has a very different life. From a young age he has been kept in a small enclosure. In fact, he has never been exposed to the sort of activities Bounce looks forward to, and consequently does not miss them. Instead, his savvy owners (who are rarely home) have installed a machine that dispenses tasty food to him on a frequent basis. Actually, Loafer the Lab (unsurprisingly) enjoys eating very much; and his diet is so well formulated he is (surprisingly) not obese. He gets vaccinated and wormed and has ready access to veterinary attention, although he has never been ill. Though he is solitary and sedentary, Loafer seems perfectly content.

Perfectly content he may appear, but does he have a good life? Or is it the reverse: does Loafer’s life go badly for him? If you think it does not go badly, do you nonetheless think that his life is significantly worse than Bounce’s or, if you prefer, that Bounce’s life is significantly better than his?

The reason I am asking these questions is because, like many vets, I am interested in “animal welfare”. But more specifically, I want to know what constitutes good and bad animal welfare. Some people have thought that science is the method we should use to answer these basic questions. So, for example, we could run certain tests and make careful and repeated observations of Loafer and Bounce. Continue reading Vet Ethics: The True Meaning of Welfare

ESSAY: The Importance of Reducing Stocking Density to Improve Broiler Welfare

Introduction
As global meat consumption continues to rise and consumers show ever more interest in the origin of their food, maintenance of the welfare of production animals has never before been so important (Decuypere et al., 2010). Of all the production animals, broiler chickens are the most intensively farmed, often to the detriment of their welfare. Although there are several elements to be considered with regard to broiler welfare, this essay focuses on stocking density – a major welfare concern in conventional broiler farming today (Petek et al., 2010). Continue reading ESSAY: The Importance of Reducing Stocking Density to Improve Broiler Welfare