Rapid animal welfare assessment: an archaeological approach

Ivana Gabriela Schork, Robert John Young

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The welfare of an individual depends on its capacity to overcome suboptimal conditions in its environment; otherwise, its physical and psychological health becomes compromised. A situation that clearly indicates lack of control of the environment is the expression of abnormal behaviours, such as stereotypies. This study aimed to verify the well-being of police horses using a new rapid form of welfare assessment: an archaeological approach. To this end, we sampled and quantified marks found on the stables, deposited as a result of abnormal behaviour. We cross-referenced these physical marks with veterinary records of diseases, such as colic, known to be associated with stress. A total of 46 horses were sampled and the results showed a significant medium-strength, positive correlation between bite mark frequency on stable doors and the incidence of colic. A weak significant positive correlation was found between length of scratch marks (from pawing) and the incidence of lameness. We conclude that these marks reflect the accumulated expression of abnormal behaviour and can provide rapid insight into the welfare of individual animals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20140390
JournalBiology Letters
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid animal welfare assessment: an archaeological approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this