Assessing welfare: short-term responses
Since our definition of welfare refers to the state of an animal, we should be able to use measurements of that state to indicate welfare. Many aspects of an individual’s biology can reflect its attempts to cope with its environment, because there are various ways of trying to cope as well as numerous indicators of failure to cope. There can also be signs that welfare is good. It could be that, to combat some problem, one particular coping method is mainly employed, so measurements of that method would provide most of the necessary information. In most studies of welfare, however, it is desirable that a range of measures be obtained. Measures or techniques that are currently proving to be of value in assessing welfare are reviewed in this and the following two chapters. In practice, measurements of poor welfare are more common than those of good welfare, since poor welfare is associated with more obvious behavioural, physiological and pathological signs. Responses to, and consequences of, short-term problems are considered in this chapter.
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