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Special Issue "The Future of Farm Animal Welfare"

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A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marian Stamp Dawkins (Website)

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK
Interests: animal welfare; poultry welfare; broiler chickens; automated assessment; animal consciousness; bird vision; commercial research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The welfare of farm animals is facing a challenging future. On the one hand, the need to feed a rising human population has led to calls for greater “efficiency” in animal production, potentially putting animal welfare at risk. On the other hand, new technology is providing opportunities for monitoring the health and well-being of farm animals that could improve their welfare in an unprecedented way.

Original manuscripts that address either or both of these issues are invited for this special issue, particularly those that describe (1) new technologies for assessing and measuring animal welfare, (2) the impact of new technologies on animal welfare, both positive and negative (3) means of addressing the potential conflicts between animal welfare, environmental protection and feeding humans.

Prof. Dr. Marian Stamp Dawkins
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 600 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • animal welfare
  • automated assessment of welfare
  • sustainable farming

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Health and Welfare in Dutch Organic Laying Hens
Animals 2014, 4(2), 374-390; doi:10.3390/ani4020374
Received: 9 April 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (100 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
From 2007–2008, data on animal health and welfare and farm management during rearing and laying periods were collected from 49 flocks of organic laying hens in the Netherlands. Our aim was to investigate how organic egg farms performed in terms of animal [...] Read more.
From 2007–2008, data on animal health and welfare and farm management during rearing and laying periods were collected from 49 flocks of organic laying hens in the Netherlands. Our aim was to investigate how organic egg farms performed in terms of animal health and welfare and which farm factors affected this performance. The flocks in our study were kept on farms with 34 to 25,000 hens (average 9,300 hens). Seventy-one percent of the flocks consisted of ‘silver hybrids’: white hens that lay brown eggs. Fifty-five percent of the flocks were kept in floor-based housing and 45% of the flocks in aviaries. No relation was found between the amount of time spent outdoors during the laying period and mortality at 60 weeks. Flocks that used their outdoor run more intensively had better feather scores. In 40% of the flocks there was mortality caused by predators. The average feed intake was 129 g/day at 30 weeks and 133 g/day at 60 weeks of age. The average percentage of mislaid eggs decreased from three at 30 weeks to two at 60 weeks. The average mortality was 7.8% at 60 weeks. Twenty-five percent of the flocks were not treated for worms in their first 50 weeks. Flubenol© was applied to the flocks that were treated. Ten percent of the flocks followed Flubenol© instructions for use and were wormed five or more times. The other 65% percent were treated irregularly between one and four times. Sixty-eight percent of the flocks showed little or no feather damage, 24% showed moderate damage and 8% showed severe damage. The feather score was better if the hens used the free-range area more intensely, the laying percentage at 60 weeks was higher, and if they were allowed to go outside sooner after arrival on the laying farm. In 69% of the flocks, hens had peck wounds in the vent area: on average this was 18% of the hens. Keel bone deformations were found in all flocks, on average in 21% of the birds. In 78% of the flocks, an average of 13% of the hens had foot-sole wounds, mostly a small crust. Combs were darker in flocks that used the range area more intensively. More fearful flocks had lighter combs. We conclude that organic farms are potentially more animal friendly than other poultry systems based on the animal welfare benefits of the free range areas. However, we also observed mortality rates, internal parasites, keel bone deformities, and foot sole lesions on organic farms that were comparable to or worse than in other husbandry systems. It is unclear whether these ‘remaining’ problems can be attributed to housing or if they are the result of keeping high productive genotypes in an artificial environment. Organic farms use the same high productive genotypes as other husbandry systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Social Networks and Welfare in Future Animal Management
Animals 2014, 4(1), 93-118; doi:10.3390/ani4010093
Received: 6 January 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2014 / Published: 17 March 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It may become advantageous to keep human-managed animals in the social network groups to which they have adapted. Data concerning the social networks of farm animal species and their ancestors are scarce but essential to establishing the importance of a natural social [...] Read more.
It may become advantageous to keep human-managed animals in the social network groups to which they have adapted. Data concerning the social networks of farm animal species and their ancestors are scarce but essential to establishing the importance of a natural social network for farmed animal species. Social Network Analysis (SNA) facilitates the characterization of social networking at group, subgroup and individual levels. SNA is currently used for modeling the social behavior and management of wild animals and social welfare of zoo animals. It has been recognized for use with farm animals but has yet to be applied for management purposes. Currently, the main focus is on cattle, because in large groups (poultry), recording of individuals is expensive and the existence of social networks is uncertain due to on-farm restrictions. However, in many cases, a stable social network might be important to individual animal fitness, survival and welfare. For instance, when laying hens are not too densely housed, simple networks may be established. We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans. Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes. It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle The Supply Chain’s Role in Improving Animal Welfare
Animals 2013, 3(3), 767-785; doi:10.3390/ani3030767
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 10 June 2013 / Accepted: 14 June 2013 / Published: 14 August 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Supply chains are already incorporating citizen/consumer demands for improved animal welfare, especially through product differentiation and the associated segmentation of markets. Nonetheless, the ability of the chain to deliver high(er) levels and standards of animal welfare is subject to two critical conditions: [...] Read more.
Supply chains are already incorporating citizen/consumer demands for improved animal welfare, especially through product differentiation and the associated segmentation of markets. Nonetheless, the ability of the chain to deliver high(er) levels and standards of animal welfare is subject to two critical conditions: (a) the innovative and adaptive capacity of the chain to respond to society’s demands; (b) the extent to which consumers actually purchase animal-friendly products. Despite a substantial literature reporting estimates of willingness to pay (WTP) for animal welfare, there is a belief that in practice people vote for substantially more and better animal welfare as citizens than they are willing to pay for as consumers. This citizen-consumer gap has significant consequences on the supply chain, although there is limited literature on the capacity and willingness of supply chains to deliver what the consumer wants and is willing to pay for. This paper outlines an economic analysis of supply chain delivery of improved standards for farm animal welfare in the EU and illustrates the possible consequences of improving animal welfare standards for the supply chain using a prototype belief network analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Steps to Promote Higher Levels of Farm Animal Welfare across the EU. Societal versus Animal Scientists’ Perceptions of Animal Welfare
Animals 2013, 3(3), 786-807; doi:10.3390/ani3030786
Received: 20 June 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 14 August 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Information about animal welfare standards and initiatives from eight European countries was collected, grouped, and compared to EU welfare standards to detect those aspects beyond minimum welfare levels demanded by EU welfare legislation. Literature was reviewed to determine the scientific relevance of [...] Read more.
Information about animal welfare standards and initiatives from eight European countries was collected, grouped, and compared to EU welfare standards to detect those aspects beyond minimum welfare levels demanded by EU welfare legislation. Literature was reviewed to determine the scientific relevance of standards and initiatives, and those aspects going beyond minimum EU standards. Standards and initiatives were assessed to determine their strengths and weaknesses regarding animal welfare. Attitudes of stakeholders in the improvement of animal welfare were determined through a Policy Delphi exercise. Social perception of animal welfare, economic implications of upraising welfare levels, and differences between countries were considered. Literature review revealed that on-farm space allowance, climate control, and environmental enrichment are relevant for all animal categories. Experts’ assessment revealed that on-farm prevention of thermal stress, air quality, and races and passageways’ design were not sufficiently included. Stakeholders considered that housing conditions are particularly relevant regarding animal welfare, and that animal-based and farm-level indicators are fundamental to monitor the progress of animal welfare. The most notable differences between what society offers and what farm animals are likely to need are related to transportation and space availability, with economic constraints being the most plausible explanation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle The European Market for Animal-Friendly Products in a Societal Context
Animals 2013, 3(3), 808-829; doi:10.3390/ani3030808
Received: 19 July 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 14 August 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article takes a future focus on the direction in which social forces develop the market for animal-friendly products in Europe. On the basis of qualitative data gathered in the context of the European EconWelfare project, the differences across eight European countries [...] Read more.
This article takes a future focus on the direction in which social forces develop the market for animal-friendly products in Europe. On the basis of qualitative data gathered in the context of the European EconWelfare project, the differences across eight European countries are studied. The findings suggest that, given international trade barriers that prevent an improvement of animal welfare through legislation, many stakeholders believe that the market is the most viable direction to improve farm animal welfare. Economic productivity of the chain remains, however, an issue that on a fundamental level conflicts with the objective to improve animal welfare. With the help of a deeper conceptual understanding of willingness to pay for animal welfare, the paper finds that the European market for animal-friendly products is still largely fragmented and that the differences between European countries are considerable. A more animal-friendly future that is achieved through the market will therefore need substantial policy attention from stakeholders in society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Impact of Selected Factors on the Occurrence of Contact Dermatitis in Turkeys on Commercial Farms in Germany
Animals 2013, 3(3), 608-628; doi:10.3390/ani3030608
Received: 4 April 2013 / Revised: 27 June 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 9 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (672 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a long term research project in Germany the influence of husbandry on the health of fattening turkeys (Study 1) as well as the influence of practiced rearing conditions on the health of turkey poults (Study 2) was examined in 24 farms [...] Read more.
In a long term research project in Germany the influence of husbandry on the health of fattening turkeys (Study 1) as well as the influence of practiced rearing conditions on the health of turkey poults (Study 2) was examined in 24 farms and at the meat processing plant. In all examined rearing farms, litter samples for the determination of litter moisture were taken. This paper summarizes the results obtained by our working group from 2007 until 2012. The results elucidate the universal problem of foot pad dermatitis (FPD). Nearly 100% of the observed turkeys showed a clinically apparent FPD at the meat processing plant. Furthermore, skin lesions of the breast, especially breast buttons were diagnosed, particularly at the slaughterhouse. FPD was detected in the first week of the rearing phase. Prevalence and degree showed a progressive development up to the age of 22–35 days, whereas 63.3% of the poults had foot pad alterations. As even mild alterations in the foot pad condition can be indicators for suboptimal design of the rearing environment, especially high litter moisture, it is important to focus on the early rearing phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Towards a ‘Good Life’ for Farm Animals: Development of a Resource Tier Framework to Achieve Positive Welfare for Laying Hens
Animals 2013, 3(3), 584-605; doi:10.3390/ani3030584
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 27 June 2013 / Accepted: 28 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of a ‘good life’ recognises the distinction that an animal’s quality of life is beyond that of a ‘life worth living’, representing a standard of welfare substantially higher than the legal minimum (FAWC, 2009). We propose that the opportunities required [...] Read more.
The concept of a ‘good life’ recognises the distinction that an animal’s quality of life is beyond that of a ‘life worth living’, representing a standard of welfare substantially higher than the legal minimum (FAWC, 2009). We propose that the opportunities required for a ‘good life’ could be used to structure resource tiers that lead to positive welfare and are compatible with higher welfare farm assurance schemes. Published evidence and expert opinion was used to define three tiers of resource provision (Welfare +, Welfare ++ and Welfare +++) above those stipulated in UK legislation and codes of practice, which should lead to positive welfare outcomes. In this paper we describe the principles underpinning the framework and the process of developing the resource tiers for laying hens. In doing so, we summarise expert opinion on resources required to achieve a ‘good life’ in laying hens and discuss the philosophical and practical challenges of developing the framework. We present the results of a pilot study to establish the validity, reliability and feasibility of the draft laying hen tiers on laying hen production systems. Finally, we propose a generic welfare assessment framework for farm animals and suggest directions for implementation, alongside outcome parameters, that can help define and promote a future ‘good life’ for farm animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Livestock Production in the UK in the 21st Century: A Perfect Storm Averted?
Animals 2013, 3(3), 574-583; doi:10.3390/ani3030574
Received: 1 May 2013 / Revised: 30 May 2013 / Accepted: 3 June 2013 / Published: 26 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (81 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a school of thought that future demand for meat and other farm animal products is unsustainable for several reasons, including greenhouse gas emissions, especially from ruminants; standards of farm animal health and welfare, especially when farm animals are kept intensively; [...] Read more.
There is a school of thought that future demand for meat and other farm animal products is unsustainable for several reasons, including greenhouse gas emissions, especially from ruminants; standards of farm animal health and welfare, especially when farm animals are kept intensively; efficiency of conversion by livestock of solar energy into (human) food, particularly by pigs and poultry; water availability and usage for all types of agricultural production, including livestock; and human health and consumption of meat, eggs and milk. Demand for meat is forecast to rise as a result of global population growth and increasing affluence. These issues buttress an impending perfect storm of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy, which is likely to coincide with global population reaching about 9 billion people in 2030 (pace Beddington). This paper examines global demand for animal products, the narrative of ‘sustainable intensification’ and the implications of each for the future of farm animal welfare. In the UK, we suggest that, though non-ruminant farming may become unsustainable, ruminant agriculture will continue to prosper because cows, sheep and goats utilize grass and other herbage that cannot be consumed directly by humans, especially on land that is unsuitable for other purposes. However, the demand for meat and other livestock-based food is often for pork, eggs and chicken from grain-fed pigs and poultry. The consequences of such a perfect storm are beginning to be incorporated in long-term business planning by retailers and others. Nevertheless, marketing sustainable animal produce will require considerable innovation and flair in public and private policies if marketing messages are to be optimized and consumer behaviour modified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle The Prospect of Market-Driven Improvements in Animal Welfare: Lessons from the Case of Grass Milk in Denmark
Animals 2013, 3(2), 499-512; doi:10.3390/ani3020499
Received: 16 April 2013 / Revised: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 29 May 2013 / Published: 4 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (93 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Citizens in many European countries urge that the welfare of farm animals should be improved. Policy-makers propose that this could, at least to some extent, be achieved through increased consumption of animal products produced under labeling schemes guaranteeing higher standards of animal [...] Read more.
Citizens in many European countries urge that the welfare of farm animals should be improved. Policy-makers propose that this could, at least to some extent, be achieved through increased consumption of animal products produced under labeling schemes guaranteeing higher standards of animal welfare. Yet considerable uncertainties exist about the ability of the market to promote animal welfare. So far the consumption of most welfare-friendly products has been limited, and the impact of driving and limiting factors is poorly understood. Reviewing market studies, we identify the factors that have shaped the relatively successful market for grass milk in Denmark. We conclude that the positive drivers such as an appealing animal welfare attribute and animal welfare being bundled with other qualities are essentially the same as those operating in connection with less successful animal welfare-friendly products. It is therefore to be expected that other animal welfare-friendly food products marketed via “natural behaviors” in the farm animals will catch the interest of consumers. However, grass milk consumption has been supported by proper labeling, ready availability and low price premiums as well as multifaceted public support. This suggests that successful cases require the joint presence of a number of positive drivers as well as low consumption barriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle The Future of Pork Production in the World: Towards Sustainable, Welfare-Positive Systems
Animals 2013, 3(2), 401-415; doi:10.3390/ani3020401
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 May 2013 / Published: 15 May 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (99 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among land animals, more pork is eaten in the world than any other meat. The earth holds about one billion pigs who deliver over 100 mmt of pork to people for consumption. Systems of pork production changed from a forest-based to pasture-based [...] Read more.
Among land animals, more pork is eaten in the world than any other meat. The earth holds about one billion pigs who deliver over 100 mmt of pork to people for consumption. Systems of pork production changed from a forest-based to pasture-based to dirt lots and finally into specially-designed buildings. The world pork industry is variable and complex not just in production methods but in economics and cultural value. A systematic analysis of pork industry sustainability was performed. Sustainable production methods are considered at three levels using three examples in this paper: production system, penning system and for a production practice. A sustainability matrix was provided for each example. In a comparison of indoor vs. outdoor systems, the food safety/zoonoses concerns make current outdoor systems unsustainable. The choice of keeping pregnant sows in group pens or individual crates is complex in that the outcome of a sustainability assessment leads to the conclusion that group penning is more sustainable in the EU and certain USA states, but the individual crate is currently more sustainable in other USA states, Asia and Latin America. A comparison of conventional physical castration with immunological castration shows that the less-common immunological castration method is more sustainable (for a number of reasons). This paper provides a method to assess the sustainability of production systems and practices that take into account the best available science, human perception and culture, animal welfare, the environment, food safety, worker health and safety, and economics (including the cost of production and solving world hunger). This tool can be used in countries and regions where the table values of a sustainability matrix change based on local conditions. The sustainability matrix can be used to assess current systems and predict improved systems of the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)

Review

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Open AccessReview Why Do So Many Calves Die on Modern Dairy Farms and What Can We Do about Calf Welfare in the Future?
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1036-1057; doi:10.3390/ani3041036
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 28 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Poor bovine neonatal survival rates are an international animal welfare issue. The key modifiable risk factors associated with such loss are age at first calving in primiparae, calf breed, gender and gestation length and calving management. The primary causes of mortality in [...] Read more.
Poor bovine neonatal survival rates are an international animal welfare issue. The key modifiable risk factors associated with such loss are age at first calving in primiparae, calf breed, gender and gestation length and calving management. The primary causes of mortality in the perinatal period are calving problems, in particular dystocia, defined as both difficult and abnormal calvings. Calf loss rates are rising on modern dairy farms in many countries internationally. High calf loss rates are often not recognised at national or at farm-level; recording needs to be improved. Improving bovine neonatal survival requires re-prioritization of this issue. Stakeholders need to be made cognisant of this prioritization. Actions to effect change need to occur at both national and farm-levels. National-level actions need firstly to address raising awareness of the issue. Farm-level actions need to focus on identifiable problem farms through targeted surveillance. Application of existing knowledge to alter modifiable risk factors is the key to improving calf welfare in the future. Research also has a role to play in filling knowledge gaps in particular about the ‘unexplained stillbirth’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessReview Exploration of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis to Improve Animal Welfare by Means of Genetic Selection: Lessons from the South African Merino
Animals 2013, 3(2), 442-474; doi:10.3390/ani3020442
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 May 2013 / Published: 17 May 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is a difficult task to improve animal production by means of genetic selection, if the environment does not allow full expression of the animal’s genetic potential. This concept may well be the future for animal welfare, because it highlights the need [...] Read more.
It is a difficult task to improve animal production by means of genetic selection, if the environment does not allow full expression of the animal’s genetic potential. This concept may well be the future for animal welfare, because it highlights the need to incorporate traits related to production and robustness, simultaneously, to reach sustainable breeding goals. This review explores the identification of potential genetic markers for robustness within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA), since this axis plays a vital role in the stress response. If genetic selection for superior HPAA responses to stress is possible, then it ought to be possible to breed robust and easily managed genotypes that might be able to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions whilst expressing a high production potential. This approach is explored in this review by means of lessons learnt from research on Merino sheep, which were divergently selected for their multiple rearing ability. These two selection lines have shown marked differences in reproduction, production and welfare, which makes this breeding programme ideal to investigate potential genetic markers of robustness. The HPAA function is explored in detail to elucidate where such genetic markers are likely to be found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessReview Modelling Farm Animal Welfare
Animals 2013, 3(2), 416-441; doi:10.3390/ani3020416
Received: 22 March 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 May 2013 / Published: 16 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (135 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessComment The Challenges to Improve Farm Animal Welfare in the United Kingdom by Reducing Disease Incidence with Greater Veterinary Involvement on Farm
Animals 2013, 3(3), 629-646; doi:10.3390/ani3030629
Received: 5 June 2013 / Revised: 1 July 2013 / Accepted: 4 July 2013 / Published: 10 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Cattle Health and Welfare Group of Great Britain report (CHAWG; 2012) lists the most important cattle diseases and disorders but fails to fully acknowledge the importance of animal mental health and; in so doing; misses the opportunity to further promote animal [...] Read more.
The Cattle Health and Welfare Group of Great Britain report (CHAWG; 2012) lists the most important cattle diseases and disorders but fails to fully acknowledge the importance of animal mental health and; in so doing; misses the opportunity to further promote animal welfare. There are effective prevention regimens; including vaccination; husbandry and management strategies for all ten listed animal health concerns in the CHAWG report; however control measures are infrequently implemented because of perceived costs and unwillingness of many farmers to commit adequate time and resources to basic farm management tasks such as biosecurity; and biocontainment. Reducing disease prevalence rates by active veterinary herd and flock health planning; and veterinary care of many individual animal problems presently “treated” by farmers; would greatly improve animal welfare. Published studies have highlighted that treatments for lame sheep are not implemented early enough with many farmers delaying treatment for weeks; and sometimes even months; which adversely affects prognosis. Disease and welfare concerns as a consequence of sheep ectoparasites could be greatly reduced if farmers applied proven control strategies detailed in either veterinary flock health plans or advice available from expert veterinary websites. Recent studies have concluded that there is also an urgent need for veterinarians to better manage pain in livestock. Where proven treatments are available; such as blockage of pain arising from ovine obstetrical problems by combined low extradural injection of lignocaine and xylazine; these are seldom requested by farmers because the technique is a veterinary procedure and incurs a professional fee which highlights many farmers’ focus on economics rather than individual animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)

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