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Book chapter2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Animal Welfare Assessment

Blokhuis, Harry; Veissier, Isabelle

Abstract

This chapter describes the general principles of animal welfare assessment. Although it focuses on farmed animals kept for food, the general principles described here are applicable to a wide variety of settings. Information on animal welfare can be used to guide production processes and management (on farms, during transport and at slaughter) or in assurance and information schemes and efforts. Animal welfare is a multi-dimensional concept and for a holistic assessment all relevant dimensions have to be taken into account. This chapter describes animal welfare dimensions and the different categories of measures, including those that are sensor-based. It addresses the difficulties with overall measures of animal welfare as well as the principles of multi-criteria approaches. Effective use of the measures requires knowledge of the reasons for, and goals of, welfare assessment and how information about animal welfare will be used, which determines the way the results from welfare measures are synthesised. Whereas measures of animal welfare can be taken objectively on animals or their environment, the way the results are assembled and interpreted into a level of welfare remains – at least partly – based on value judgements. It is concluded that animal welfare scientists should engage with people having an interest in animal welfare to build together animal welfare assessment tools.

Published in

Title: Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare
ISBN: 978-1-032-02206-2, eISBN: 978-1-003-18235-1Publisher: Routledge