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Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science II

York medieval hallUFAW Animal Welfare Conference 

30th June 2010, York Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York

A regular one-day meeting which aims to provide a forum at which all those concerned with animal welfare can come together to share knowledge and practice, discuss advances and exchange views.



Programme details:

  • Bethell EJ, Holmes A, MacLarnon A and Semple S (Roehampton University and Birkbeck College, University of London, UK) Extending The Cognitive Bias Model Of Animal Psychological Wellbeing: Attentional Bias In Non-Human Primates
  • Buckley LA, McMillan LM, Sandilands VS, Tolkamp BJ, Hocking PM and D’Eath RS (Scottish Agricultural College, The Roslin Institute and University of Edinburgh, UK) How Hungry Is Too Hungry? Impaired Learning Leads To Poorer Payoffs In Hungry Broiler Breeders
  • Burton K, Hall C, Wells C and Billett E (Nottingham Trent University, UK) The Validation Of Infrared Thermography As A Non-Invasive Tool To Assess Welfare In The Horse(Equus Caballus)
  • Cafazzo S, Lai O, Maragliano L, Cerini N, Guarducci M, Carlevaro F, Di Paolo M, Carlevaro L, Scholl F, Bucci E, Scarcella R and Natoli E (Azienda USL Roma D and Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle regioni Lazio e Toscana, Italy) Evaluation Of The Effects Of The Italian National Law 281/91 On Free-Ranging Dog Management (Enforcing The ‘No-Kill’ Policy) In The Lazio Region; Determination Of Management Standards For Public Shelters
  • Gover N, Jarvis JR, Abeyesinghe SM and Wathes CM (Royal Veterinary College, UK)Spatial Acuity Of Domestic Fowl (Gallus g. domesticus) In Dim Light Environments
  • Hänninen L, Hokkanen AH, Pastell M, de Passille AM, Rushen J, Hepola H and Raussi S (University of Helsinki and MTT Agri-Food Finland, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) Sleep As A Welfare Measure?
  • Hothersall B, Caplen G, Murrell J, Nasr M, Nicol C, Waterman-Pearson A and Weeks C (University of Bristol, UK) Development Of New Techniques To Assess Pain In Domestic Chickens
  • Ribó O, Candiani D and Alpigiani I (European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Italy)Development Of The EFSA Guidance on Risk Assessment For Animal Welfare 
  • Sandercock DA, Gibson IF, Rutherford KMD, Donald RD, Scott EM and Nolan AM (University of Glasgow and Scottish Agricultural College, UK) Maternal Stress And Tail Docking In Juvenile Female Pigs: Effects On Mechanical Force Sensitivity And Responses To Acute Inflammatory Challenge 
  • Sherlock L, Cheng Z, Wathes CM and WathesDC (Royal Veterinary College, UK) Using Microarrays To Examine Production-Based Stress And Associated Welfare Problems In The Broiler Chicken
  • Davies A, Sherwin C, Friel M, Gale E, Nasr M, Petek M, Wilkins L and Nicol C (University of Bristol, UK, Zagazig University, Egypt and University of Uludag, Turkey)  The Welfare of UK Free-range Layer Hens Prior to Depopulation: Using Data From Captured Hens
  • Silva C, Laing N, Mellor DJ and Ellis K (University of Glasgow and Clyde Veterinary Group, Lanark, UK) Using Abattoir Surveillance To Quantify Welfare Problems Associated With Tagging Sheep's Ears
  • Walsh C, Douglas C, Bédué A, Bateson M and Edwards S (Newcastle University, UK and ENITA de Clermont Ferrand, France) Tests Of Cognitive Bias Can Inform On Pigs Subjective Affective State

Meeting report

At the end of June animal welfare scientists, veterinary surgeons and others with an interest in the way we keep and care for animals gathered at the medieval Merchant Adventurer’s Hall in York to share the findings of their latest research with their colleagues from across Europe and elsewhere. During the course of the day, one hundred and seventy-five delegates heard talks that addressed a range of issues, including new methods aimed at better assessing welfare and continuing widespread concerns about the welfare of layer and broiler chickens; many of these from students currently engaged in doctoral and post-doctoral research and featuring their most up to date findings. For example, Anna Davies (University of Bristol) presented some of the initial findings of her work assessing the welfare of UK free-range layer hens at the end of their 72 week laying life. She discovered high levels of injuries, many of which are hard to detect unless the bird is captured for close inspection eg 81% had damage to the head or comb most likely from pecking, 31% had been vent pecked, 19% had a prolapsed cloaca and 62% had a broken or deformed keel. Clearly, such high levels of injury are very concerning. Another, Cintia Silva (University of Glasgow), reported on work undertaken as part of her MSc assessing the welfare impact of the new EU directive for every sheep in the UK beyond 12 months of age to be double tagged. She found that double tagging was a significant risk factor in the development of ear lesions, with 14% of the sheep studied having ear tag-associated lesions. She indicated that better education of farmers on how to apply tags was desirable to reduce these levels.

The poster session, which featured over 40 posters, extended the range of topics being addressed. Topics as diverse as the transportation of ornamental fish, assessment of the quality of life in kennelled dogs and whether stressful experiences in neonatal lambs has a prolonged impact on their pain sensitivity were all discussed.

From UFAW’s perspective, the popularity of these meetings -which sold out weeks in advance - and the quality of the work being presented is very pleasing as it demonstrates the increasingly large number of people who are now devoting their energies to the science of animal welfare and identifying and addressing concerns about the way we keep and care for animals. It is not, however, a time to be complacent. In the current economic climate and with university funding being squeezed there is no guarantee that previous levels of Governmental investment in animal health and welfare will continue. Whilst the new UK government has stated that they believe in evidence based policy, the need to make savings in public spending is likely to mean that the role UFAW plays in supporting animal welfare science will become an even more vital one.