What is animal welfare?

Dr David Fraser is one of the pioneers of animal welfare science, has published many papers and books on this topic and is a Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. In this video Dr Fraser defines animal welfare and its measurement in his presentation at the Washington State University's Farm Animal Welfare Symposium (2012).

Animal welfare includes three main elements: the basic health and functioning of the animal, the affective state of the animal and the ability to live in a way that suits the animal’s adaptations. These elements are often referred to as the animals’ physical health, mental health and naturalness. These outlooks sometimes coincide, but not always, and the single-minded pursuit of any one may not lead to high welfare as judged by the others. Therefore, practices and standards need to strike a balance among all three if they are to be accepted as improving animal welfare.

In his presentation ‘The Definition of Animal Welfare’ Dr Fraser brings a clarity about animal welfare by explaining the following points:

  • What is animal welfare?
  • Why are there different views of animal welfare?
  • The science that is applied to animal welfare
  • How does animal welfare relate to, or differ from, animal husbandry and animal care?
  • How does professionalism and animal production affect animal welfare?

David Fraser on the Definition of Animal Welfare

Video (41mins)