The 2020 Five Domains Model: Including Human–Animal Interactions in Assessments of Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, 4442 Palmerston North, New Zealand
Equitation Science International, 3 Wonderland Ave, Tuerong, VIC 3915, Australia
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
RSPCA Australia, P.O. Box 265, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia
Saddletops Pty Ltd., P.O. Box 557, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2020
Accepted: 9 October 2020
Published: 14 October 2020
This review outlines the latest in a succession of updates of the Five Domains Model, which, at each stage, incorporated contemporary verified scientific thinking of relevance to animal welfare assessment. The current update includes, within the structure of the Model, specific guidance on how to evaluate the negative and/or positive impacts of human behaviour on animal welfare. Persons whose actions may be evaluated include, but are not limited to, livestock handlers, owners of draught animals, veterinary care staff, pound/shelter staff, zoo-keepers, wildlife managers, hunters, researchers, companion animal owners, owners of sport/recreational animals, animal trainers and service animal handlers. Situations where human–animal interactions may have negative welfare impacts include: when animals have had little or no prior human contact, when human presence adds to already threatening circumstances, when human actions are directly unpleasant, threatening and/or noxious, when humans’ prior actions are remembered as being aversive or noxious and when the actions of bonded humans cause unintended harms. In contrast, situations where human–animal interactions may have positive welfare impacts include: when the companionable presence of humans provides company and feelings of safety, when humans provide preferred foods, tactile contacts and/or training reinforcements, when humans participate in enjoyable routine activities or in engaging variable activities, when the presence of familiar humans is calming in threatening circumstances and when humans act to end periods of deprivation, inhibition or harm. The explicit delineation within the Model of the potential impacts of human interactions on the welfare of animals enhances the Model’s utility. Additional updates in this latest version are also explained.