The Development and Evaluation of ‘Farm Animal Welfare’: An Educational Computer Game for Children
Psychology, School of Media, Culture and Society, University of West Scotland, Paisley PA1 2BE, UK
Scottish SPCA, Kingseat Road, Halbeath, Dunfermline, Fife KY11 8RY, UK
Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
The aim of this study was to design and evaluate a new digital game ‘Farm Animal Welfare’ to teach children about farm animal welfare. The game focuses on chickens and cows, and children played the game on touchscreen netbooks. To evaluate the game, we measured children’s knowledge, attitudes, compassion, and beliefs about whether farm animals have emotions and feelings, both before and after the game, using a child-friendly questionnaire. We found that the new game led to increases in children’s knowledge about animal welfare, knowledge about welfare in different farming systems (such as caged hens vs. free range), and children were more likely to believe that farm animals can feel emotions. The game did not seem to impact children’s attitudes about cruelty or compassion towards farm animals. The new game shows promise, and to improve children’s understanding of animal welfare, we recommend further research on digital animal welfare education interventions for children.