Animal welfare is a pressing public concern in the EU. At present, animal welfare status on-farm is usually inferred from external parameters such as cage size or feeder space.
This approach has serious limitations however, because the relationship between such design parameters and animal welfare is not clear and it is also influenced by an individual farmer’s animal husbandry skills. Current research offers the possibility of assessing the welfare of animals more directly, in terms of their condition, health, performance and behaviour. This animal-based approach, although still work in progress, is very promising.
The STOA project ‘Impact of Animal Welfare’ investigates the potential for introducing a European system of on-farm assessment of animal welfare using animal-based indicators.
Download the report from the STOA website