¿Qué es el Bienestar Animal? What is Animal Welfare? (english subtitles included)

¿Qué es el Bienestar Animal? What is Animal Welfare? (english subtitles included)

What is Animal Welfare? Although on a daily basis we might not spend much time thinking about our relationships with other animals, the reality is that their use has been, and continues being a fundamental part in our society. Animals provide us with food, clothing, work, company, entertainment and medical and scientific advances, so making use of them gives us the responsibility to care for their welfare since their birth until their death. But, what exactly do we mean when we talk about their welfare? Animal Welfare is a broad term that encompasses both PHYSICAL and MENTAL health of animals. When we keep animals in captivity, their physical health can be affected by factors such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, injuries, illnes and extreme temperatures. But their mental health can also be compromised by these same factors, coupled with being captive, handled, being in an unfamiliar environment or being isolated from the rest of the group, which can cause them distress, fear and pain and deprive them from experiencing positive emotions. However, the science of animal welfare cannot be guided by subjective and emotional arguments. In fact, animal welfare can and should be measured scientifically, objectively. And to achieve this, we can make use of: • physiological measures such as
-heart rate
-stress hormones (cortisol) With
• behavioral measures such as
– the quantification of the expression and duration of certain behaviors and
– records of changes in facial expressions • and psychological studies too, such as -cognitive bias: which is a deviation in judgment, experienced by humans and animals, as a result of the EMOTIONS produced by some experience. Thus, those who dedicate ourselves to the Science of Animal Welfare must be more and more creative when designing studies that allow us to understand the physical and psychological needs of different animal species and how we can cover them in the environments in which we keep them. For example, if we study the behavior of hens in the wild, we can observe that they spend more than half of their time scratching and pecking the soil in search of food. However, in an intensive system we keep them in these conditions. We give them food, but not the opportunity to express a natural behavior, or to obtain cognitive stimulation from their environment Actually, in these conditions, the only thing remotely interesting seems to be the hen next door so they redirect their frustrated motivation and the pecking and plucking of feathers is a problem so frequent that the solution that was reached was to trim their beaks and this became a routine practice. Clearly, this does not consider the welfare of the hens in any way so to try to find an alternative several studies of motivation and elasticity of demand were conducted, just as in economics studies The hens were offered various resources that we know they use in the wild and to gain access to each, each time they had to pay a higher price (they had to push heavier and heavier door each time). Thus, we know that there are resources that they like, but are not willing to work hard for them, while others, such as a substrate where they can peck, hangers and a nest, do not diminish their demand regardless of the effort needed to obtain them. And with these results, two alternatives were devised that offer a compromise between animal welfare and the producers’ economy: the enriched cage and the free range system with elements designed to allow hens to perform some of their important natural behaviors. In the same way, other studies in other species have shown, for example that rats value the company of other rats and the possibility of playing with them more than access to other resources and that social isolation causes them distress so now, the guidelines for the use of these animals in the lab indicate that they should be housed in groups And animal welfare does not have to be at odds with the economy The truth is that stress in animals compromises their immune system making them more susceptible to diseases. And diseases are a welfare problem but they also imply a significant economic loss in terms of decreased yields and increased veterinary expenses as well as implications on the quality and safety of products that go to the food chain In the case of the meat industry mismanagement in the last stages of production: transportation and slaughter causes up to 70% of injuries in bovines and 20% of seizures representing losses of approximately $ 12,588 million pesos (MXN) in the national livestock production. (Mexico) And usually, it is the lack of empathy towards the animals the lack of knowledge about their behavior and the lack of training the crucial factors that cause great losses in this industry. And the solution is right there in understanding the animals why they react in a certain way and what can we do to improve their quality of life and at the same time ease their handling Research is required but also training of the people who will work with them audits to ensure that animal welfare standards are met compensations and support to good producers and investments to improve equipment and facilities because with everything that we get from them there is no doubt that a life worth living is the least we owe them. Produced by Vivian Argüelles González as part fullfillment for the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh

5 thoughts on “¿Qué es el Bienestar Animal? What is Animal Welfare? (english subtitles included)

  1. Bienestar, qué término más subjetivo, verdad?
    Podemos hacer uso de los demás animales de forma "respetuosa" siempre que se cumpla la falacia del "bienestar" de los mismos, verdad?. O sea, ver a los demás animales como productos pero con mejor trato.
    Y eso es lo que para ti y para la gran mayoría de las personas de este planeta son los animales no humanos, PRODUCTOS. No me voy a parar mucho más tiempo en cuestiones metafísicas, pero te diría que practicases la empatía. Te gustaría ser uno de esos animales "bien" tratados y ser asesinada de forma involuntaria para el beneficio de los humanos?.

    Esa es tu percepción de "bienestar" desde un prisma antropocentrista, no debes olvidarlo, eres parte de la matanza de no humanos por muy bien que quieras que se les trate.


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