Program 3 - Attitudes to animals and animal welfare, and farmer, consumer and community behaviour

a) The effects of the attitudes of stockpeople, animal handlers and animal owners on the welfare of their animals.

Human behaviour significantly impacts on animals both directly and indirectly. For livestock, direct effects include the adverse impact of inappropriate handling during production and slaughter, where fear and stress, physical trauma, ease of handling, reproductive performance, growth, productivity, health, meat quality and welfare may all be affected. For zoo, laboratory and companion animals, inappropriate handling includes effects on fear, stress, behavioural problems and welfare.
b) The effects of attitudes to animal welfare on consumer and community behaviour.
Indirect effects of human behaviour on all of these animals result from the impact of community attitudes on the use of animals for research, display, companionship and as food and fibre sources.
The projects conducted within this program aim to develop programs which target stockperson attitudes and behaviours that seriously limit animal productivity and welfare and to increase our understanding on how community attitudes and behaviours affect animal welfare through changes in legislation, codes of practice and animal management.

Animal welfare and values

Investigators: A. Fisher, R. Acharya, L. Hemsworth

Funding: Australian Eggs

Commencement date: 2018

Completion date: 2019

To oversee & report on a panel aiming to align animal welfare science and societal values within the egg sector.



Scale of production, attitudes of dairy farmers and stockpeople and the welfare of dairy cows

Investigators: P. Hemsworth

Funding: Dairy Australia

Commencement date: 2017

Completion date: 2018

Understanding the relationships between herd size and work-related attributes of farmers and stockpeople may provide the opportunity through education and training and herd management practices to safeguard cow productivity, health and welfare in situations where increasing herd size is a risk factor.


Identifying public and producer attitudes to sheep and cattle animal welfare to inform education  strategies

Investigators: G. Coleman, P. Hemsworth, L. Hemsworth

Funding: Animal Welfare Strategic Partnership Program

Commencement date: 2017

Completion date: 2021

This project will provide the tools for the red meat industry to firstly assess public and producer attitudes to animal welfare issues, their knowledge of the issues and their key opinion leaders and secondly to utilise validated education strategies to address misinformation on practices and disseminate research results on best-animal welfare practice addressing the specific contentious welfare issue in question. 


Developing the basis for an attitude-behaviour training program for stockpeople in the sheep transport and abattoir sectors 

Investigators: P. Hemsworth, G. Coleman, J. Skuse

Funding: Meat and Livestock Australia

Commencement date: 2017

Completion date: 2018

The objective of the project was to collaborate with key sheep-meat stakeholders to review the general content of a cognitive-behavioural training program for sheep abattoir stockpeople, decide on the platform for the program and its delivery method(s) and identify potential funders and sheep-meat industry collaborators.




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