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.

Bobby calf welfare

Investigators: A. Fisher, E. Jongman, P Mansell

Student: N. Roadknight

Funding: Strategic Partnership for Animal Welfare RD&A / Parmalat / Meat and Livestock Australia.

Commencement date: 2017

Completion date: 2020

The goal of this PhD project is to measure the health and welfare status of bobby calves within the supply chain, and to identify variations in calf hydration, glucose levels, and colostral immunity in relation to breed, bodyweight, time off feed and transport distance.

The project will then include research on-farm (and onwards in the supply chain) to validate the optimal calf preparation strategies indicated by the initial research to provide objective data on industry performance, as well as forming the basis of updated advice to farmers on areas of calf preparation on which to focus for ensuring optimal calf welfare.




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