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Animal welfare essay

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Assessment number A11029 Animal Welfare. Animal welfare is the viewpoint that animals should not suffer unnecessarily, and basic needs should be met. Suffering and satisfaction of an animal cannot be measured directly, but the consequences of various causes of suffering and satisfaction can be compared in numerous ways. For example welfare scientists discovered that it's more physiologically stressful for a lamb to have its tail docked with a knife than with a rubber ring (Lester, Mellor, Holmes, Ward, Stafford 1996). There are three components of animal welfare. Welfare science considers human effects on animals from the animals' point of view. Ethics concerns human actions towards animals. Legalisation considers treatment of animals from humans. There are three concepts of animal welfare. Physical status (fitness) suggests that when physiological systems cause survival or reproduction to be impaired, an animal has a poor state of welfare. An experiment on pregnant pigs in individual cage-stalls was carried out. The experiment showed the design of cage-stalls could affect the welfare of pigs. Pigs housed in stalls comprised of horizontal bars showed evidence of a chronic stress response of an enormity sufficient to adversely affect welfare, and active avoidance by neighbouring. ...read more.


A change in an animal's welfare can cause a change in physiological responses. There are two types of responses, the Autonomic Nervous responses and the Neuroendocrine responses. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) consists of the Sympathetic Adrenal Medullary system (SAM) and the Parasympathetic Nervous system (PNS). In the SAM system an increase in cardiac output leads to an increase in heart rate and cardiac muscle contraction. The intake of air will increase causing respiratory rate and bronchiole relaxation to increase. The PNS system regulates the SAM system. During this system cardiac output reduces therefore so does the heart rate. The heart rate can indicate a change in welfare. The heart rate may increase due to an animal preparing an active response. The heart rate may decrease due to the animal becoming motionless. A change in blood pressure can also be a measure of physiological behaviour. The respiratory rate is a good observation of present state as it can easily be observed, and is also closely linked with heart rate. A change in welfare has an effect on three sub-divisions of the NS. The three sub-divisions are the Hypothalmic-Pituary Adrenal Axis (HPA), Anterior Pituitary and the Posterior Pituitary. ...read more.


An animal spends time behaving constructively to avoid suffering and gain pleasure in a suitable environment. When the opportunity to control the environment is denied, suffering often occurs due to frustration. Stereotypical behaviour can be described as "Repetitive, invariant performance of an activity that is apparently purposeless because it is not directed towards any obvious reward" (Webster 2005). This type of behaviour is often seen as a mechanism to deal with frustration resulting from time spent in a barren environment. An experiment was used to measure the motivation of Clethrionomys glareolus in selecting an enriched environment in preference to a barren environment, following long-lasting confinement in barren cages. Some animals had developed stereotypic 'looping' behaviour, which is similar to turning somersaults in result of confinement. These showed a decrease in motivation to seek environmental enrichment when it was offered (Cooper & Nichol 1991). This showed the relationship between the progression of stereotypic behaviour and the prolonged denial of environmental enrichment. References Barnett, J.L., Cronin, G.M., Hemsworth, P.H., McCallan, T.H and Newman, E.A. (1991). Effects of design of individual cage-stalls on the behavioural and physiological responses to related to the welfare of pregnant pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 32, 23-33. Boe, K.E., Faerevik, G., Jensen, M.B. (2005). Dairy calves social preferences and the significance of a companion animal during seperation from the group. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 99, 205-221. Cooper, J.J. and Nichol, C.J. ...read more.

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