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Ensuring Animal Welfare Weighing the Options and Understanding Choices


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Title: Ensuring Animal Welfare Weighing the Options and Understanding Choices

Ensuring Animal WelfareWeighing the Options and
Understanding Choices
  • Gail C. Golab, PhD, DVM, MACVSc (Animal Welfare)
  • Director, Animal Welfare Division

  • Sowere smart people.
  • How difficult can making recommendations on
    animal welfare really be?

Example 1Dog in Three Different Environments
  • Eats whatevers on sale, frequent table scraps
  • Free roam of home, outside for walks
  • Annual veterinary examination
  • Toys available, occasional game of fetch
  • Only dog, no social interaction with other dogs
  • Controlled, nutritionally complete diet
  • Confined to kennel, outside for walks
  • Evaluation by caretaker each day, monthly exam by
  • Toys available, daily training by familiar
  • Able to see and hear, but not interact with other

Dog in Three Different Environments
  • Donated diet
  • Initial veterinary exam, daily observation
  • Communal housing, able to interact with other
  • Human interactions variable and inconsistent
  • High mortality rate (euthanasia)

Which Environment is Most Welfare Friendly?
Example 2Housing Laying Hens
  • Caged at 72 in2/hen, movement restricted
  • No nest box or litter for dust bathing
  • Easy access to feed trough and water
  • Aggressive interactions infrequent, cannibalism
  • Individual birds easily observed
  • Eggs protected and easily collected
  • Floor-raised in barn
  • Nest boxes, litter for dust bathing
  • Evidence of aggression, cannibalism, flighty
    (easily startled)
  • Nest box gregariousness, floor laying
  • Old bone breaks evident at end of lay

Housing Laying Hens
  • Large space, freedom of movement
  • Enclosures for sleeping and nesting
  • Natural substrates, multiple opportunities for
    expression of natural behaviors
  • Aggression and cannibalism moderate
  • Exposed to elements, pests, predators, and
    soil-borne disease

Which Environment Is Most Welfare Friendly?
  • Which would these people choose?
  • Those in business to produce animals and their
  • Your neighbor
  • Animal protection activists
  • Veterinarians

Why You Chose As You Did(Why We Dont All Think
Quantitative and qualitative comparisons to wild
or free-living counterparts
  • Butour choices are also conditioned by our
  • Those in the animal use industries
  • Members of the public
  • Animal protection activists
  • Veterinarians

Understanding Their ViewpointExperiences
Animal Use Industries
  • After WWII
  • Production/use costs ? (esp wages)
  • Prices ? (market forces)
  • Pressures on those involved in
  • animal use ? intensification
  • ? efficiency, emphasis on business
  • management
  • Specialization, few multiply-faceted
  • operations, contract operators
  • Economy of scale/type
  • Animal welfare important to successwhat is
  • emphasized influenced by business goals
  • But
  • Respond to consumer purchasing behavior
  • (desired attributes vs cost)

Understanding Their ViewpointExperiences Public
  • Urbanization
  • Social shifts in family units
  • Animals move from utility food/fiber/research
    to companions
  • Increase in disposable income
  • Public vision of animals reflects CA experience
  • What is thought about as good welfare has
    potential for direct conflict with views of
    animal use businesses
  • But
  • Concern for food and drug/device availability and

Understanding Their ViewpointExperiences Animal
Protection Activists
  • Come from all walks of life with all kinds of
  • Many are not familiar with the animal use
    industries and animal care practices
  • Most driven by a genuine desire to do the right
  • Buttheir organizations need to survive
  • Therefore
  • Have to create a platform and craft a message
    that meets the needs of their supporters
  • Resonate
  • Not excessively complex
  • Supporters
  • Those members of the public who are particularly
    interested in animal issues
  • Some who are not supportive of animal use

Understanding Their ViewpointsExperiences
Different Practices Different Focus
  • Companion animalindividual animal focus care
    decisions framed by owner attachment and ability
    to pay, and generally not by market value
    advanced procedures in demand
  • Equinefocus is mixture of pleasure and function
    care decisions often framed by use advanced
    procedures available, but return on investment
    can be an important consideration
  • Food Supplyherd focus care decisions framed by
    goal of bringing product to market advanced
    procedures limited by market value procedural

Understanding Their Viewpoints--ExperiencesVeteri
  • Laboratory Animalgroup focus care decisions
    affected by demands of research and regulation
    advanced procedures limited by value to and
    affect on research programs
  • Public practicemultiple stakeholder demands and
  • Advocacyanimal industry or humane groups
    expected to fully support the missions and aims
    of their particular group
  • And all these differences are compounded by
  • Age and gender effects

  • Those in the animal use industries depend on the
    welfare of their animalsbut have to live with
    business practicalities.
  • Members of the public want to protect animal
    welfarebut arent always sure what that means.
  • Animal protection activists either have passion
    about making sure animals are used appropriately
    or passion about ensuring they are not usedand
    they have to make sure their message resonates
    with their donors.
  • Veterinarians may have different concepts about
    animal welfaredepending on how they and animal
    owners think about the animals they treat.
  • Whos Right????

  • 1964Ruth Harrison authors Animal Machines, which
    described modern intensive farming practices in
    Great Britain
  • Life in the factory farm revolves
  • entirely around profits, and animals
  • are accessed purely for their ability
  • to convert food into flesh or
  • saleable products.
  • Public/industry conflict
  • Science proposed as solution (Brambell Committee)

ScienceThe Five Freedoms
  • Freedom from thirst, hunger, malnutrition
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury, disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviors
  • Freedom from fear and distress2
  • 1Brambell FWR. 1965. Report of the Technical
    Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals
    Kept Under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems
    ed. Her Majestys Stationery Office, London.
  • 2Webster J. 2005. Limping Towards Eden. Hoboken,
    NJ WileyBlackwell.

For Dog
For Laying Hens
Science as Solution
  • The dreamall animal welfare decisions are
  • We want to look at inputs and outputs and arrive
    at a scientific solution
  • Biological functionis homeostasis
  • maintained?
  • Healthabsence/presence of disease/injury
  • Behavioral/social function
  • Adaptation
  • Emotional states (e.g., distress, suffering)
  • Cognition/awareness
  • Choices
  • We know this is the best way to assure that the
    welfare of the animal is protected

Science as Solution
  • The reality
  • Animal welfare decisions are social decisions
  • Integration of culture, ethics, and science
  • Science didnt even really play a role until
  • Science isnt black-and-white or value-free
  • Science can be used to help resolve disputes
  • Science may not exist, may be used selectively,
    or be ignored
  • Science is used by both sides in policy debates
  • If societal perception is that something is
    wrong then science is unlikely to change that
  • Science can determine what type or level of risk
  • Science cannot determine what type or level of
    risk is acceptable (this is a social question)

Improving Animal Welfare Decision-Making
  • Understand and accept that animal welfare
    decisions are complex
  • Social acceptability (the smell test)
  • Science
  • Sustainability
  • Recognize that presentation and interpretation of
    animal welfare questions and the related science
    is not value-free
  • Be cognizant of your experts prejudicesand your
  • Insist that ALL the information be brought to the

Improving Animal Welfare Decision-Making
  • Beware the quick fix
  • Most animal care systems have advantages and
  • Various components of systems integrate
  • If it seems too obvious or too simple, it
    probably is!

  • Relying too much on one type of measure can
    prejudice decision-making
  • Unintended consequences can result from
    standards/policy based on a single criterion

Adapted from the LayWel Report
Improving Animal Welfare Decision-Making
  • Because the advantages and disadvantages of
    animal care systems and practices are
    qualitatively different, objectively ranking them
    for overall welfare can be extremely difficult.
  • How much mortality how much behavioral

Improving Animal Welfare Decision-Making
  • Consultative processes support animal welfare
  • ? stakeholder engagement better decisions
  • Two approaches
  • Gold standard (Do it now!)
  • Incremental improvement (Well get to where we
    want to go, starting with this improvement)
  • Improving animal welfare is a dynamic, not a
    static, process

Some Resources
  • AVMA animal welfare Web section
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/default.asp
  • AVMA animal welfare policies
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/policies.asp
  • Animal welfare backgrounders
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/backgrounders.a
  • Upcoming meetings/activities
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/meetings.asp
  • Additional resources
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/related_links.a

Thank You For Your Time and Attention
Please Let Me Know What We Can Do To Help
You ggolab_at_avma.org
The best public policy is made when you are
listening to people who are going to be impacted.
Then, once policy is determined, you call on them
to help you sell it. --Elizabeth Dole
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