Animal Welfare Centres: Are They Useful for the Improvement of Animal Welfare?
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Animal Welfare Laboratory, Animal Science Department, Federal University of Parana, Curitiba, R. dos Funcionarios 1540, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 April 2020 / Revised: 13 May 2020 / Accepted: 14 May 2020 / Published: 18 May 2020
Animal welfare has only recently become the subject of scientific studies. Over the past 30 years, a body of scientists has emerged, initially in isolated groups in disparate universities but with some more recently aggregated into centres. Centres have developed a reputation for their research in specific fields, which may have allowed animal welfare knowledge to advance more rapidly than it would otherwise have done. We studied the scientific literature on animal welfare that has been published in journals, by both scientists in animal welfare centres and those outside of these centres. We found that the literature from centres was more likely to acknowledge industry funding, which seems to bring opportunities for the respective scientists to conduct more research in their field but may also make it difficult for those scientists to advocate animal welfare improvements if they conflict with industry objectives. We advocate strict standards for the operations of animal welfare centres that govern the ethics of their research into animal welfare.