© 2013 Wageningen Academic Publishers The Netherlands. The welfare assessment protocols that were developed for cattle, pigs and poultry in the Welfare QualityR project (and described in Chapters 5 and 6) clearly provide extremely important tools that can help the farmer to improve welfare management on the farm. At an early stage during the project's inception it was also recognised that to support such management systems a concerted European effort in the area of animal welfare should include research designed to identify practical ways of solving or at least alleviating some of the main welfare problems in current animal production. Animal welfare is a complex and multifactorial concept; an animaĺs welfare status is determined by both internal and external variables, and the causes of welfare problems can be numerous and varied. Firstly, for example, many farm animals, particularly poultry and pigs, may be kept under relatively low levels of sensory input in some modern farming systems; this is likely to engender negative emotional states such as fear, frustration, apathy and the development of injurious behaviours (Jones, 1997, 2001; Mench, 1994). The elicitation of such negative states can also result in undesirable economic consequences, for example they can reduce productivity, product quality and profitability (Jones and Boissy, 2011). Secondly, environmental constraints may prevent the animal from adopting a suitable response to a challenging event, for example a caged hen or tethered cow is unable to run away from a threatening stimulus (Jones, 1998). The inability to respond appropriately to challenge can further engender fear, distress, frustration, depression and other undesirable states. Thirdly, it is widely accepted that farming practice and selective breeding have often changed too rapidly and frequently for the animals' biology and behaviour to evolve appropriately and at the same pace (Faure et al., 2003; Jones and Hocking, 1999). Potential solutions may lie in identifying suitable changes to the environment and/or the animal (Faure and Jones, 2004; Faure et al., 2003).
|Title of host publication
|Improving Farm Animal Welfare Science and Society Working Together: The Welfare Quality Approach
|Number of pages
|Published - 1 Jan 2013