Welfare Concepts and Assessment, and Zoo Animal Welfare
- Introduction - Concepts of animal welfare. Problems to be addressed.
- Introduction to welfare assessment - behaviour, physiology and motivation, preference and aversion testing etc. Examples given in this module include farm animals, companion animals, horses, laboratory animals, zoo animals and wild animals.
- Behaviour: methods of study. Functional systems of behaviour: social, feeding, hazard avoidance, body maintenance and implications for welfare. Abnormal behaviour as an indicator of poor welfare.
- Motivation, self-awareness and cognition in animals. Learning.
- Motivational investigations in the assessment of welfare. Preference testing, operant testing, measures of aversion.
- Physiological indicators of welfare. Measurement of stress responses. Immune system function and welfare. Pathological effects of stress. Relationships between welfare indicators. Using a range of methods in combination to assess welfare.
- The welfare of zoo animals: topics to be discussed include the evolution of zoos; why welfare problems might arise in zoo animals; what sort of husbandry techniques can be used to maintain good welfare, or to improve welfare in cases where a problem has arisen; how zoo animal welfare can affect the conservation role of modern zoos. Some case studies of primate welfare assessments will be discussed.
Law and Companion Animal Welfare
- Participants will be expected to have read required material on welfare legislation, companion animal welfare issues and human–animal relationships.
- Legislation protecting all domesticated species e.g. Protection of Animals Acts. Legislation on animal welfare in the UK and the EU in relation to farm animals. Legal protection of animals used in experimentation. Transport legislation and guidelines. The veterinary surgeon as expert witness in animal welfare cases.
- Companion animal welfare issues: cruelty; neglect; behavioural problems; review of studies comparing different kennel and cattery designs and management systems; stray animals; shelter animals.
- Human–animal relationships (historical and contemporary): influence of culture, socio-economic background and urbanisation. The role of the media in influencing public attitudes to animals and animal issues.
- Participants will be expected to have read required material on horse welfare.
- The effects of housing and management systems, training procedures, reproduction management, exercise and work on horse welfare. The causation of poor welfare in horses.
Principles of Ethics in Relation to Animal Use
- Participants will be expected to have read required material on ethics, laboratory animal welfare, utility animals and the veterinary surgeons role in animal welfare.
- Ethics and welfare. Public attitudes to welfare. Cultural and religious perspectives. Areas of conflict between human and animal interests.
- Laboratory animals. Ethics in use. Housing and welfare. Stress associated with experimentation. Use of alternatives to animals. Requirements of regulatory authorities.
- Welfare concerns for utility animals used in racing and hunting. Working dogs, guide dogs and hearing dogs, show animals and their breeding.
- The Veterinary Surgeon's role in animal welfare: the State Veterinary Service; private practice; the named veterinary surgeon (experimental animals); interactions with animal welfare organisations.
Farm Animal Welfare
- Participants will be expected to have read required material on farm animal housing, transport, operations and slaughter.
- Review of studies comparing different conventional and alternative housing systems for farm livestock: their effects on health and welfare.
- Understanding of environmental factors affecting welfare e.g. pen design, stocking density, safety aspects, building design. Problems associated with barren and enriched environments, social grouping and husbandry procedures. Methods of assessing and improving environments.
- Diseases related to animal housing. Lameness in cattle, leg weakness in poultry, wounding due to aggressive behaviour in pigs and poultry.
- Specific problems of farm animals: identification of casualty animals, transport, slaughter.
- Effects of routine surgical procedures: castration, tail docking, beak trimming.