UFAW’S Symposium well received

17 August 2017

MEASURING ANIMAL WELFARE AND APPLYING SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES – WHY IS IT STILL SO DIFFICULT?

UFAW’S international symposium was held at Royal Holloway from 27th to 29th June and welcomed over 240 delegates from 26 countries.  Attending were leading scientists, veterinary surgeons, policy makers and others interested in animals and their welfare. 

The theme of the symposium, was ‘Measuring animal welfare and applying scientific advances - Why is it still so difficult?  One of the aims of the conference was to stimulate new ideas and to promote higher quality and better-focused animal welfare science. 

Keynote speakers included Professor Mike Mendl, Dr Tom Smulders and Professor Georgia Mason, whose presentations on affective states and measures that can be used to assess these stimulated interesting and lively discussions. There was a growing consensus that welfare is what an animal consciously experiences, which leads researchers to look more closely at what we know about animal emotions and what we mean by emotions. 

Other general themes of the conference included the concept of lifelong positive welfare and behavioural reflections of poor welfare. Several talks discussed how behavioural measures could be used to determine poor welfare, including boredom, abnormal repetitive behaviours, sleep deprivation, facial expressions, motivational tests, play, vocalisations in pigs and chickens and fault bar development in the feathers of chickens.

In a meeting that encompassed all of the diversity of animal welfare, there were many inspiring and interesting talks and poster presentations given during its three days.

Hold the Date

Next year’s Animal Welfare Conference, entitled Recent advances in animal welfare science VI has been agreed for the 28th of June 2018.  Further details will follow shortly.