Aggregation of measures to produce an overall assessment of animal welfare. Part 1: a review of existing methods

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  • R. Boteau, INRA, France
  • Marianne Bonde, Denmark
  • A. Butterworth, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • P. Perny, Laboratoire Informatique de Paris, France
  • M. B. M. Bracke, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • J. Capdeville, INRA, France
  • I Vessier, INRA, France
  • Department of Animal Health and Bioscience
  • Heard Health and Produktion Management
Several systems have been proposed for the overall assessment of animal welfare at the farm level for the purpose of advising farmers or assisting public decision-making. They are generally based on several measures compounded into a single evaluation, using different rules to assemble the information. Here we discuss the different methods used to aggregate welfare measures and their applicability to certification schemes involving welfare. Data obtained on a farm can be (i) analysed by an expert who draws an overall conclusion; (ii) compared with minimal requirements set for each measure; (iii) converted into ranks, which are then summed; or (iv) converted into values or scores compounded in a weighted sum (e.g. TGI35L) or using ad hoc rules. Existing methods used at present (at least when used exclusively) may be insufficiently sensitive or not routinely applicable, or may not reflect the multidimensional nature of welfare and the relative importance of various welfare measures. It is concluded that different methods may be used at different stages of the construction of an overall assessment of animal welfare, depending on the constraints imposed on the aggregation process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal
Volume1
Pages (from-to)1179-1187
ISSN1751-7311
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Research areas

  • animal, assessment, livestock, methodology

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