Simple SummaryPositive animal welfare (PAW) is thought to have come about as a response to there being too much of a focus on avoiding negatives in animal welfare science. However, despite its development over the last 10 years, it is not clear what it adds to the study of animal welfare. To clarify this, we conduct a review of the literature on PAW. We aim to identify the characteristic features of PAW and to show how PAW connects to the wider literature on animal welfare. We find that the PAW literature is characterised by four features: (1) positive emotions which highlights the capacity of animals to experience positive emotions; (2) positive affective engagement which seeks to create a link between positive emotions and behaviours animals are motivated to engage in; (3) quality of life which acts to give PAW a role in defining an appropriate balance of positives over negatives and; (4) happiness which brings a full life perspective to PAW. While the first two are already well situated in animal welfare studies the two last points open research agendas about aggregation of different aspects of PAW and how earlier experiences affect animals’ ability to have well-rounded lives.AbstractIt is claimed that positive animal welfare (PAW) developed over the last decade in reaction to animal welfare focusing too much on avoiding negatives. However, it remains unclear what PAW adds to the animal welfare literature and to what extent its ideas are new. Through a critical review of the PAW literature, we aim to separate different aspects of PAW and situate it in relation to the traditional animal welfare literature. We find that the core PAW literature is small (n = 10 papers) but links to wider areas of current research interest. The PAW literature is defined by four features: (1) positive emotions which is arguably the most widely acknowledged; (2) positive affective engagement which serves to functionally link positive emotions to goal-directed behavior; (3) quality of life which serves to situate PAW within the context of finding the right balance of positives over negatives; (4) happiness which brings a full life perspective to PAW. While the two first points are already part of welfare research going back decades, the two latter points could be linked to more recent research agendas concerning aggregation and how specific events may affect the ability of animals to make the best of their lives.
Human perception can depend on how an individual frames information in thought and how information is framed in communication. For example, framing something positively, instead of negatively, can change an individual’s response. This is of relevance to ‘positive animal welfare’, which places greater emphasis on farm animals being provided with opportunities for positive experiences. However, little is known about how this framing of animal welfare may influence the perception of key animal welfare stakeholders. Through a qualitative interview study with farmers and citizens, undertaken in Scotland, UK, this paper explores what positive animal welfare evokes to these key welfare stakeholders and highlights the implications of such internal frames for effectively communicating positive welfare in society. Results indicate that citizens make sense of positive welfare by contrasting positive and negative aspects of welfare, and thus frame it as animals having ‘positive experiences’ or being ‘free from negative experiences’. Farmers draw from their existing frames of animal welfare to frame positive welfare as ‘good husbandry’, ‘proactive welfare improvement’ or the ‘animal’s point of view’. Implications of such internal frames (e.g., the triggering of ‘negative welfare’ associations by the word ‘positive’) for the effective communication of positive welfare are also presented.
Simple SummaryPositive animal welfare is a relatively new concept which promotes the welfare benefits of providing animals with greater opportunities for positive experiences, in addition to minimising negative experiences. However, little is known about farmers’ attitudes towards this, and their knowledge of positive welfare. This presents a significant hurdle for the promotion of positive welfare indicators on-farm, where their effective implementation may depend on their acceptance by farmers. In response, this study uses qualitative interviews to explore farmers’ positive welfare perspectives. It finds that several aspects, reflective of the literature on positive welfare indicators, are evident in farmers’ positive welfare-related discussions. These include animal autonomy, play, positive affect, positive human–animal relationships, social interaction and appropriate genetic selection. Such findings provide insights into what farmers consider are relevant to, and indicative of, positive welfare. In addition, this paper explores how farmers see their role in the provision of positive welfare. It finds that farmers largely consider their inputs should be focused on making sure their animals’ needs (e.g., resources) are met and negative experiences are reduced, and that positive welfare will arise naturally, or indirectly, out of this. The implications of these findings and their overlaps with the positive welfare literature are discussed.AbstractTo support the furtherance of positive animal welfare, there is a need to develop meaningful and practical positive welfare indicators for on-farm welfare assessment. Considering the perspectives of farmers is arguably critical in this regard. Doing so helps ensure positive welfare indicators reflect farmers’ existing welfare norms and attitudes and, are thus, of practical relevance to them. However, a key issue for such development is the dearth of knowledge on farmers’ perspectives of positive welfare. To address this, this study uses qualitative interviews to directly examine livestock farmers’ perspectives of positive welfare. Findings reveal that farmers describe elements of positive welfare which are broadly in line with indicators suggested in the positive welfare literature. These elements include animal autonomy, play, positive affect, positive human-animal relationships, social interaction, and appropriate genetic selection. Additionally, this study finds that farmers construct the reduction of negative aspects of welfare as their primary management concern and mostly construct positive welfare as arising indirectly from this. Insights into the importance that farmers of different sectors and systems give to different aspects of positive welfare indicators are also explored. The implications of these findings and the similitudes between farmers’ perspectives and the positive welfare literature are discussed.
Simple SummaryMany members of the public express a desire for farm animals to have a good quality of life. Yet, when it comes to purchasing higher welfare products which would support this, many consumers do not ‘walk their talk’. This paper introduces the concept of ‘nudging’ as a means to help consumers align their actions with their intentions and support their desire to engage in pro-animal welfare behaviours. ‘Nudging’ is a collection of behaviour change tools designed to hint to, or suggest, a choice most closely aligned with an individual’s self-interests or intentions. Their purpose is to simplify the decision-making environment by working in concert with the behavioural flaws known to influence human decision-making. Four specific behavioural ‘nudges’ are outlined: self-nudges, choice architecture, social norms and pre-commitments, along with examples of how they can be applied to animal welfare. Inspired by effective applications of ‘nudging’ to close the consumer attitude–behaviour gap in other relevant domains, this paper seeks to highlight how similar initiatives might be applied to better support higher welfare choices amongst consumers and in turn, enhance the lives of farm animals.AbstractCitizen concern for the welfare of farm animals is well documented. However, there is a notable gap between people saying they want improved farm animal welfare and how they actually behave as a consumer. This is known as the citizen–consumer attitude–behaviour gap. As improvements in farm animal welfare can be affected by market demand, the choices consumers make become important. This paper introduces the concept of ‘nudging’ and discusses how it could be applied to reduce the attitude–behaviour gap amongst consumers. By designing the choice environment to better reflect the behavioural biases known to impact human decision-making, ‘nudge’ tools function to prompt individuals to make choices that are aligned with their stated intentions. Four ‘nudge’ tools: self-nudges, choice architecture, social norms and pre-commitments are discussed. The behavioural rationales for their use are reviewed and examples of how they might be applied to animal welfare provided. Improved farm animal welfare arguably requires improved pro-welfare consumer behaviour. This paper highlights how this might be encouraged by: self-nudging the salience of an ethical self-image; altering the choice architecture to influence decision-making; articulating social norms to impact behaviour; and using pre-commitment devices to overcome self-control issues.
Characterising the people that work in zoos is a key element of understanding how zoos might better contribute to conservation activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate demographics, early life experiences and perceptions of zoo staff to the role of the modern zoo. This paper reports the key characteristics and qualitative themes emerging from study of international (European and Chinese) zoo professionals. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with eight Chinese and eight European zoo staff about aspects of zoological animal welfare, conservation and zoological practices. These qualitative data were thematically analysed, and themes generated. This paper describes interviewee demographics and two themes relating to ‘early life influences’ and ‘the role of the modern zoo’. This analysis indicates that demographic data and early life influences of zoo professionals were broadly similar between two culturally diverse regions, but that their views on the role of the modern zoo differed, particularly in terms of their perceptions of conservation activities, with European interviewees focussing on biodiversity conservation, and Chinese interviewees focussing on animal protection.
Societal and scientific perspectives of animal welfare have an interconnected history. However, they have also, somewhat, evolved separately with scientific perspectives often focusing on specific aspects or indicators of animal welfare and societal perspectives typically taking a broader and more ethically oriented view of welfare. In this conceptual paper, we examine the similarities and differences between scientific and societal perspectives of positive welfare and examine what they may mean for future discussions of animal welfare considered as a whole. Reviewing published studies in the field we find that (UK and Republic of Ireland) farmers and (UK) members of the public (i.e., society) typically consider both negatives (i.e., minimising harms) and positives (i.e., promoting positive experiences) within the envelope of positive welfare and prioritise welfare needs according to the specific context or situation an animal is in. However, little consideration of a whole life perspective (e.g., the balance of positive and negative experiences across an animal's lifetime) is evident in these societal perspectives. We highlight how addressing these disparities, by simultaneously considering scientific and societal perspectives of positive welfare, provides an opportunity to more fully incorporate positive welfare within a comprehensive understanding of animal welfare. We suggest that a consideration of both scientific and societal perspectives points to an approach to welfare which accounts for both positive and negative experiences, prioritises them (e.g., by seeing positive experiences as dependent on basic animal needs being fulfilled), and considers the balance of positives and negatives over the lifetime of the animals. We expand on this view and conclude with its potential implications for future development of how to understand and assess animal welfare.
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