equid welfare

The Welfare Aggregation and Guidance (WAG) Tool: A New Method to Summarize Global Welfare Assessment Data for Equids

Citation

Laura M. Kubasiewicz, J. B. Rodrigues, Stuart L. Norris, Tamlin Watson, Karen Rickards, Nikki Bell, Andrew Judge, Zoe Raw, Faith A. Burden. 25 March 2020. The Welfare Aggregation and Guidance (WAG) Tool: A New Method to Summarize Global Welfare Assessment Data for Equids. Animals. 10:4. 546.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
25 March 2020
Journal: 
Animals
Volume: 
10
Issue: 
4
Page numbers: 
546
DOI number: 
10.3390/ani10040546
Abstract

Animal welfare can be represented by an array of indicators. There is, however, increasing demand for concise welfare assessments that can be easily communicated and compared. Previous methods to aggregate welfare assessments have focused on livestock systems and produced a single welfare score, which may not represent all aspects of welfare. We propose an aggregation method for the recently developed Equid Assessment Research and Scoping (EARS) welfare assessment tool that results in grades for five welfare categories: housing conditions, working conditions, health, nutrition, and behavior. We overcome the problems associated with existing approaches by using a single aggregation method (decision trees) that incorporates the most important welfare indicators in a single step. The process aims to identify equids with the poorest welfare and aid decision-making when allocating resources. We demonstrate its application using a case study of over 6000 equids across Europe and Asia, where equids in India and Pakistan had the poorest welfare status in terms of health (respiratory disease and open wounds) and behavior (signs of fear and distress, and limb tethering practices). We recommend identification of the specific causes of these issues, using either existing detailed welfare data or through issue-specific assessments by an appropriate professional, to guide the development of appropriate interventions and, ultimately, improve equid welfare.

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Equid Assessment, Research and Scoping (EARS): The Development and Implementation of a New Equid Welfare Assessment and Monitoring Tool

Citation

Zoe Raw, J. B. Rodrigues, Karen Rickards, Joe Ryding, Stuart L. Norris, Andrew Judge, Laura M. Kubasiewicz, Tamlin Watson, Holly Little, Ben Hart, Rebekah Sullivan, Chris Garrett, Faith A. Burden. 13 February 2020. Equid Assessment, Research and Scoping (EARS): The Development and Implementation of a New Equid Welfare Assessment and Monitoring Tool. Animals. 10:2. 297.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
13 February 2020
Journal: 
Animals
Volume: 
10
Issue: 
2
Page numbers: 
297
DOI number: 
10.3390/ani10020297
Abstract

The assessment of animal welfare poses numerous challenges, yet an emerging approach is the consolidation of existing knowledge into new frameworks which can offer standardised approaches to welfare assessment across a variety of contexts. Multiple tools exist for measuring the welfare of equids, but such tools have typically been developed for specific contexts. There is no ‘one size fits all’ which means that resulting datasets are generally non-comparable, creating a barrier to knowledge-sharing and collaboration between the many organisations working to improve equid welfare around the globe. To address this, we developed the Equid Assessment, Research and Scoping (EARS) tool, which incorporates pre-existing validated welfare assessment methods alongside new welfare indicators to deliver a larger and more comprehensive series of welfare indicators than currently exists, creating a single resource that can be used to assess equid welfare in any context. We field-trialled three welfare assessment protocols within the EARS tool, and applied these to welfare assessment of equids in a variety of contexts across nineteen countries. The EARS tool proved a useful, versatile and rapid method for collecting welfare assessment data and we collected 7464 welfare assessments in a period of fifteen months. We evaluate the EARS tool and provide ideas for future development.

Full article available open access.

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