In 2012, the World Organisation for Animal Health adopted 10 ‘General Principles for the Welfare of Animals in Livestock Production Systems’ to guide the development of animal welfare standards. The General Principles draw on half a century of scientific research relevant to animal welfare: (1) how genetic selection affects animal health, behaviour and temperament; (2) how the environment influences injuries and the transmission of diseases and parasites; (3) how the environment affects resting, movement and the performance of natural behaviour; (4) the management of groups to minimize conflict and allow positive social contact; (5) the effects of air quality, temperature and humidity on animal health and comfort; (6) ensuring access to feed and water suited to the animals’ needs and adaptations; (7) prevention and control of diseases and parasites, with humane euthanasia if treatment is not feasible or recovery is unlikely; (8) prevention and management of pain; (9) creation of positive human–animal relationships; and (10) ensuring adequate skill and knowledge among animal handlers. Research directed at animal welfare, drawing on animal behaviour, stress physiology, veterinary epidemiology and other fields, complements more established fields of animal and veterinary science and helps to create a more comprehensive scientific basis for animal care and management.
Fraser, D., Duncan, I. J., Edwards, S. A., Grandin, T., Gregory, N. G., Guyonnet, V., ... & Mench, J. A. (2013). General principles for the welfare of animals in production systems: the underlying science and its application. The Veterinary Journal, 198(1), 19-27.