Funder and dates: Scottish Government funding, March 2016 – October 2017
Collaborators/partners: SRUC and University of Bristol
The Scottish Government Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Welfare Working Group has recently endorsed the concepts of positive welfare and ‘a good life’ proposed by Farm Animal Welfare Council in 2009, setting the objective that all animals in Scotland should have a good life. However, assessment of whether an animal has a good life, for example for farm assurance or to bench-mark animal welfare state, is challenging. Recent EU-funded projects, in which both SRUC and University of Bristol participated, such as Welfare Quality and AWIN, have developed potential indicators of positive welfare. However, the implementation of these protocols on commercial farms or within farm assurance schemes has been limited, using some of the proposed indicators rather than the whole protocol (e.g. AHDB Pigs Real Welfare or Assurewel protocols). None of these initiatives, however, have included positive welfare indicators. The aim of this project is to address this need through the development of indicators to assess positive welfare. The project is working collaboratively, and engages with farmers and stakeholders, to identify and test indicators of positive welfare that might be suitable for farm assurance schemes.
This project is current and work with farmer stakeholders is underway. A range of positive welfare indicators have been proposed and will be tested on farm. Further results will be available as the project progresses.