Program 1 - Animal Welfare Methodology & Assessment

The community generally accepts the role of the scientific method to solve problems. However, there is considerable uncertainty within science on the concept of animal welfare. Scientists differ in their views on how animal welfare should be measured or judged, with three prominent concepts of animal welfare in the literature: the welfare of animals is judged on the basis of (1) how well the animal is performing from a biological functioning perspective; (2) affective states, such as suffering, pain and other feelings or emotions; and (3) the expression of normal or ‘natural’ behaviours.
In this program, we undertake projects to further our understanding of the relationships between these concepts and methodologies.
Developing ways to measure and increase sow contentment

Lead Investigator:                 R.Doyle, Uni Melb


Funding:                               CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork

Commencement date:           February 2015

Completion date:                  June 2018

This project will assess the contentment of sows during lactation by using scientific indicators of positive welfare and then developing practical measures for use on farm. This study will also assess the effect enrichment has on the welfare of lactating sows, with the hypothesis being that enrichment will increase the level of contentment a sow experiences during lactation.

Novel biomarkers of Animal Welfare; microRNA, immunobiology and on farm application

Lead Investigator:                C. Ralph, SARDI


Funding:                               Australian Pork Limited

Commencement date:          July 2017

Completion date:                  June 2018

To develop novel biomarkers of animal welfare in pigs.

Assessing and Addressing On-Farm Sheep Welfare

Lead Investigator:                R. Doyle, Uni Melb


Funding:                              Meat and Livestock Australia

Commencement date:          July 2014

Completion date:                 Dec 2017

The welfare and survival of sheep are vital to both farming profits and community acceptance of products. This project will examine the relationships between farmer attitudes, other job-related characteristics, farm management, profits and animal welfare. This project will also assess the efficacy of an intervention method on improving management and welfare on farm in an effort to encourage practice change, reduce mortalities and improve farm production and profitability


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