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Article

Assessment of the Welfare of Experimental Cattle and Pigs Using the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid

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Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine, VSM Building, Daphne Jackson Rd, Guildford GU2 7AL, UK
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The Pirbright Institute, Ash Road, Woking, Surrey GU24 0NF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Fabio Napolitano
Animals 2021, 11(4), 999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040999
Received: 16 March 2021 / Revised: 25 March 2021 / Accepted: 30 March 2021 / Published: 2 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid is a method for assessing quality of life, originally designed for experimental primates. This study adapts this welfare assessment tool for use in cattle and pigs, by adapting the factors included in welfare assessment for these species and including data which had been collected previously as the standard approach to monitoring these species in a research setting. The main intention is that the results presented will demonstrate how the data collected in a research environment can be improved for welfare assessment and also demonstrate the applicability of this welfare assessment tool to cattle and pigs. This paper emphasises the importance of including behavioural information when assessing welfare and not simply relying on assessment of physical condition. As a tool for assessing quality of life over a lifetime, the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid also demonstrated the potential for aiding the decision-making of when euthanasia should be performed.
The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG) is a method for assessing quality of life, originally designed for experimental primates. This study adapts the AWAG for use in cattle and pigs, by adapting the factors included for these species and including data which had been collected previously as the standard approach to monitoring these species in research. The intention is that the results presented here will allow the future data collected for experimental cattle and pigs to be optimised for inclusion in an AWAG. Data were collected from two vaccine assessment studies at the Pirbright Institute. Factors were scored for every recorded event using retrospective data and CCTV clips. There was a lack of behavioural data recorded in both studies, which limited the accuracy of assessing each animal’s welfare. This paper emphasises the importance of including behavioural information when assessing welfare and not simply relying on assessment of physical condition. Scores peaked following an exponential rise as animals reached set humane end points. This demonstrated the potential of using the AWAG to aid the decision-making of when euthanasia should be performed. Our study shows the AWAG to be a useful tool for assessing welfare, which can be used in harm:benefit assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: welfare assessment; AWAG; cattle; pigs; harm; benefit welfare assessment; AWAG; cattle; pigs; harm; benefit
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ryan, M.; Waters, R.; Wolfensohn, S. Assessment of the Welfare of Experimental Cattle and Pigs Using the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid. Animals 2021, 11, 999. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040999

AMA Style

Ryan M, Waters R, Wolfensohn S. Assessment of the Welfare of Experimental Cattle and Pigs Using the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid. Animals. 2021; 11(4):999. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040999

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ryan, Molly, Ryan Waters, and Sarah Wolfensohn. 2021. "Assessment of the Welfare of Experimental Cattle and Pigs Using the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid" Animals 11, no. 4: 999. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040999

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