Changes in the Welfare of an Injured Working Farm Dog Assessed Using the Five Domains Model
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 7 August 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
The Five Domains Model is now increasingly used to assess the welfare status of a wide range of species in markedly different circumstances. Particular strengths are that the Model facilitates structured, systematic and comprehensive evaluations of animals' negative andpositive mental experiences, the overall balance of which underlies their welfare status or quality of life. Importantly, the Model also clarifies the specific internal and external factors that give rise to those experiences. The welfare evaluation published here is the first to use the most up-to-dateversion of the Model, and stands as a detailed example that may assist others undertaking such welfare evaluations in other species and contexts. Moreover, it is the first such evaluation of acompanion animal. It employs a fictitious scenario involving a working farm dog before, during and after it sustains a serious hind leg injury requiring amputation and its subsequent rehoming as a pet. A wide range of negative and positive experiences are graded, interactions between them are revealed, and the balance between negative and positive states at different stages of the scenario is described. Such Model evaluations can highlight current practices that merit re-evaluation. Moregenerally, when major welfare issues are identified, use of the Model could enhance expert witness participation in related prosecutions by highlighting scientifically supported connections between indicative physical/functional states and behaviours and their associated negative experiences in ill-treated animals. Five Domains Model evaluations can also facilitate quality of life assessments and end-of-life decisions.