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Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., William Lockeretz, Ph.D.


  • Rowan, A.N. Farm Animal Welfare: The Focus of Animal Protection in the USA in the 21st Century. 1999.
  • Lund, V., and Weary, D. Understanding Animal Behviour and its Use in Organic Animal Husbandry. In: Vaarst, M., et al. (eds.) Animal Health and Welfare in Organic Agriculture. 2004.

Key Questions

Farm Animal Welfare

  • What are the various disciplinary areas on which the issue of animal welfare is based upon?
  • What is the difference between animal welfare and well being?
  • What are the different factors that can be considered to assess animal welfare?
  • What is the major criticism of using preference testing for understanding animal welfare? How has the feelings-based approach further evolved?
  • What are some of the drawbacks of a functioning based approach for evaluating animal welfare?
  • What are the different stages of animal production at which the threat to animal well-being is the maximum?
  • What are the issues of concern with respect to elective surgeries in animal management? What options do the authors suggest for better animal welfare?
  • What is the potential of the science of animal biotechnology in improving animal welfare?
  • Does considering the growth of animal protection movements and their increasing funding base enable us to better gauge public opinion about genetic engineering of animals?
  • Does differentiation of animal protection movements based on concepts of animal welfare and rights help the cause of better quality of life for animals?
  • What are the different stages of social movements? In which stage is the movement for animal welfare at present?
  • Based on past experiences and present circumstances, is it practical for livestock farmers to join hands with animal protection groups to work for better animal welfare?
  • Does combining various other interests like sustaining the family farms and environmental conservation with animal protection movements help the cause of improving animal welfare?

Understanding Animal Behavior and its Use in the Organic Animal Industry

  • How does observing and understanding animal behavior help in
    • Conventional livestock production?
    • Organic livestock production?
    • Improving animal welfare?
  • What is the relationship between the behavior of livestock animals and their wild relatives?
  • Is it necessary to create conditions that will allow animals to exhibit all their natural behavior if we were looking at improving animal welfare conditions?