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Ensuring Animal Welfare

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Ensuring Animal Welfare
Weighing the Options and
Understanding Choices
В®
Gail C. Golab, PhD, DVM, MACVSc (Animal Welfare)
Director, Animal Welfare Division
В®
So…we’re smart people.
How difficult can making
recommendations on animal
welfare really be?
Example 1—Dog in Three
Different Environments
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Eats whatever’s 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 veterinarian
Toys available, daily training by familiar
caretakers
Able to see and hear, but not interact with
other dogs
Home
Laboratory
Laboratory
Dog in Three Different
Environments
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Donated diet
Initial veterinary exam, daily
observation
Communal housing, able to
interact with other dogs
Human interactions variable
and inconsistent
High mortality rate (euthanasia)
Shelter
Which Environment is Most
Welfare Friendly?
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Example 2—Housing Laying Hens
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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 minimal
Individual birds easily observed
Eggs protected and easily collected
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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
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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?
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Which would these people choose?
пѓ�Those in business to produce animals and their
products
пѓ�Your neighbor
пѓ�Animal protection activists
пѓ�Veterinarians
Why You Chose As You Did
(Why We Don’t All Think Alike)
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Function
Measures of
health, growth
and productivity
Feelings
Natural Behavior
Measures of
affective states
(pain, suffering,
contentment)
Quantitative and qualitative
comparisons to
wild or free-living counterparts
1Adapted
from Fraser D, Weary DM, Pajor EA, et al. A scientific conception of animal welfare that reflects
ethical concerns. Anim Welf 1997;6:187-205.
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But…our choices are also
conditioned by our
experiences
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Those in the animal use industries
Members of the public
Animal protection activists
Veterinarians
Understanding Their Viewpoint—Experiences
Animal Use Industries
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After WWII
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Production/use costs ↑ (esp wages)
Prices ↓ (market forces)
Pressures on those involved in
animal use в†’ intensification
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↑ efficiency, emphasis on business
management
Specialization, few multiply-faceted
operations, contract operators
Economy of scale/type
Percent Respondents
Animal welfare important to success—what is
emphasized influenced by business goals
But…
пЃ® Respond to consumer purchasing behavior
(desired attributes vs cost)
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45
40
35
Willingness
to pay
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
10%
25%
% increase in product price
Understanding Their Viewpoint—Experiences
Public
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Urbanization
пЃ® Social shifts in family units
пЃ® Animals move from utility
[food/fiber/research] to companions
пЃ® Increase in disposable income
пЃ® Public vision of animals reflects CA
experience
пЃ® What is thought about as good welfare
has potential for direct conflict with
views of animal use businesses
But…
пЃ® Concern for food and drug/device
availability and security/safety
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Understanding Their Viewpoint—Experiences
Animal Protection Activists
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Come from all walks of life with all kinds of experiences
пЃ® Many are not familiar with the animal use industries
and animal care practices
пЃ® Most driven by a genuine desire to do the right thing
 But…their organizations need to survive
Therefore…
пЃ® Have to create a platform and craft a message that
meets the needs of their supporters
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Resonate
Not excessively complex
Supporters
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Those members of the public who are particularly interested in
animal issues
Some who are not supportive of animal use
Understanding Their Viewpoints—Experiences
Veterinarians
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Different Practices = Different Focus
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Companion animal—individual animal focus; care
decisions framed by owner attachment and ability to
pay, and generally not by market value; advanced
procedures in demand
Equine—focus 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 Supply—herd focus; care decisions framed by
goal of bringing product to market; advanced
procedures limited by market value; procedural
outsourcing
Understanding Their Viewpoints--Experiences
Veterinarians
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Laboratory Animal—group focus; care decisions
affected by demands of research and regulation;
advanced procedures limited by value to and affect on
research programs
 Public practice—multiple stakeholder demands and
factors
 Advocacy—animal industry or humane groups;
expected to fully support the missions and aims of
their particular group
And all these differences are compounded by…
пЃ® Age and gender effects
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So…
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Those in the animal use industries depend on the welfare of
their animals…but have to live with business practicalities.
Members of the public want to protect animal welfare…but
aren’t 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 used…and they have to make sure
their message resonates with their donors.
Veterinarians may have different concepts about animal
welfare…depending on how they and animal owners think
about the animals they treat.
Who’s Right????
Enter…Science
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1964—Ruth 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.’”
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Public/industry conflict
Science proposed as solution (Brambell
Committee)
Science—The Five Freedoms
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Freedom from thirst, hunger, malnutrition
пЃ® Freedom from discomfort
пЃ® Freedom from pain, injury, disease
пЃ® Freedom to express normal behaviors
пЃ® Freedom from fear and distress2
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1Brambell
FWR. 1965. Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the
Welfare of Animals Kept Under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems
ed. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
2Webster J. 2005. Limping Towards Eden. Hoboken, NJ: WileyBlackwell.
For Dog…
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Home
Laboratory
Shelter
Nutrition
Discomfort
Injury/Disease
—
+
+
+
—
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+/—
―
Behavior
Fear/Distress
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+
+
―
+
—
For Laying Hens…
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Cages
Barns
Free-range
Nutrition
Discomfort
Injury/Disease
+
+/―
+
+/—
+
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―
Behavior
Fear/Distress
―
+
+/—
―
+
—
Science as Solution
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The dream…all animal welfare decisions are
science-based
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We want to look at inputs and outputs and arrive
at a scientific solution
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Biological function—is homeostasis
maintained?
Health—absence/presence of disease/injury
Behavioral/social function
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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
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The reality
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Animal welfare decisions are social decisions
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Integration of culture, ethics, and science
Science didn’t even really play a role until 1950s
Science isn’t black-and-white or value-free
Science can be used to help resolve disputes (sometimes!)
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 perception
Science can determine what type or level of risk exists
Science cannot determine what type or level of risk is
acceptable (this is a social question)
Improving Animal Welfare
Decision-Making
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Understand and accept that animal welfare
decisions are complex
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Social acceptability (the “smell” test)
Science
Sustainability
Recognize that presentation and interpretation of
animal welfare questions and the related science is
not value-free
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Be cognizant of your experts’ prejudices—and your own!
Insist that ALL the information be brought to the table
Improving Animal Welfare
Decision-Making
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Beware the quick fix
Most animal care systems have advantages and
disadvantages
пЃ¬ Various components of systems integrate
пЃ¬ If it seems too obvious or too simple, it probably
is!
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Trade-offs
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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
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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
freedom?
Improving Animal Welfare
Decision-Making
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Consultative processes support animal
welfare best
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↑ stakeholder engagement = better decisions
Two approaches
Gold standard (Do it now!)
 Incremental improvement (We’ll get to where we
want to go, starting with this improvement)
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Improving animal welfare is a dynamic, not a
static, process
Some Resources
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AVMA animal welfare Web section
www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/default.asp
пЃ® AVMA animal welfare policies
www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/policies.asp
пЃ® Animal welfare backgrounders
www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/backgrounders.asp
пЃ® Upcoming meetings/activities
www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/meetings.asp
пЃ® Additional resources
www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/related_links.asp
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Thank You For Your
Time and Attention
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Please Let Me Know
What We Can Do
To Help You
ggolab@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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