Animal welfare

Exploring animal welfare science, ethics and law
We want to ensure that the implications of the way we care for animals – including the impacts on human wellbeing and the environment – are understood so that 'One Welfare' can be supported.

Our work aims to equip future veterinary team members and those working in animal industries with the practical skills and knowledge to assess animal welfare, address factors that compromise animal welfare – including pain – and promote positive affective states in animals.

We aim to prepare veterinary team members for ethically challenging situations they may encounter in their work, and develop strategies to prevent and/or manage ethical challenges that can be adopted by individuals, professional organisations and regulatory bodies.

Our research involves animal welfare science, animal ethics, veterinary ethics, professional ethics, One Welfare, animal law, animal pain, analgesia, and animal husbandry.

Research areas

Key researchers: Anne Quain and Imke Tammen

Veterinary team members commonly encounter ethically challenging situations (ECS) in their daily work.

Poorly managed ECS may lead to animal welfare compromise or escalating conflict. They may also lead to moral stress and moral distress, negatively impacting the wellbeing of veterinary team members, leading to job turnover or career attrition.

We are seeking to identify the types of ECS encountered by veterinary team members, and strategies to assist veterinary team members for resolving these in alignment with their values.

Key researchers: Anne Quain

One Welfare refers to the inextricable relationship between animal welfare, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability, and aligns with the World Health Organisation’s (OIE) sustainable development goals. Prioritising one element without considering the others risks unintended harms.

This theme seeks to understand the relationships between animal welfare, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability, determine interventions that promote all three, and develop, promote and implement policies and practices that promote One Welfare.

Key researchers: Peter White, Dominique Van der Saag, Merran Govendir, Sanaa Zaki

Animal pain is a significant animal welfare issue, particularly in livestock production systems where routine husbandry procedures cause pain and discomfort to animals.

Changing social views regarding animal welfare are leading producers to offer best practice methods in animal production. This theme seeks to develop new ways of treating and recognising animal pain with the aim being to improve animal welfare.