Simple Summary: In this review paper we discuss the different modeling techniques that have been used in animal welfare research to date. We look at what questions they have been used to answer, the advantages and pitfalls of the methods, and how future research can best use these approaches to answer some of the most important upcoming questions in farm animal welfare.
Abstract: The use of models in the life sciences has greatly expanded in scope and advanced in technique in recent decades. However, the range, type and complexity of models used in farm animal welfare is comparatively poor, despite the great scope for use of modeling in this field of research. In this paper, we review the different modeling approaches used in farm animal welfare science to date, discussing the types of questions they have been used to answer, the merits and problems associated with the method, and possible future applications of each technique. We find that the most frequently published types of model used in farm animal welfare are conceptual and assessment models; two types of model that are frequently (though not exclusively) based on expert opinion. Simulation, optimization, scenario, and systems modeling approaches are rarer in animal welfare, despite being commonly used in other related fields. Finally, common issues such as a lack of quantitative data to parameterize models, and model selection and validation are discussed throughout the review, with possible solutions and alternative approaches suggested.
Keywords: simulation; risk assessment; welfare assessment; systems modelling; conceptual model; scenario modelling; optimisation; animal welfare
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Collins, L.M.; Part, C.E. Modelling Farm Animal Welfare. Animals 2013, 3, 416-441.
Collins LM, Part CE. Modelling Farm Animal Welfare. Animals. 2013; 3(2):416-441.
Collins, Lisa M.; Part, Chérie E. 2013. "Modelling Farm Animal Welfare." Animals 3, no. 2: 416-441.