Development of a decision support system for assessing farm animal welfare in relation to husbandry systems: Strategy and prototype [Book Review]

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 14 (3):321-337 (2001)
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Due to increasing empiricalinformation on farm animal welfare since the1960s, the prospects for sound decisionmakingconcerning welfare have improved. This paperdescribes a strategy to develop adecision-making aid, a decision support system,for assessment of farm-animal welfare based onavailable scientific knowledge. Such a decisionsupport system allows many factors to be takeninto account. It is to be developed accordingto the Evolutionary Prototyping Method, inwhich an initial prototype is improved inreiterative updating cycles. This initialprototype has been constructed. It useshierarchical representations to analysescientific statements and statements describingthe housing system. Welfare is assessed fromwhat is known about the biological needs of theanimals, using a welfare model in the form of atree that contains these needs as welfarecomponents. Each state of need is assessedusing welfare relevant attributes of thehousing system and weighting factors.Attributes are measurable properties of thehousing system. Weighting factors are assignedaccording to heuristic rules based on theprinciple of weighting all components(attributes and needs) equally, unless thereare strong reasons to do otherwise. Preliminarytests of the prototype indicate that it may bepossible to perform assessment of farm-animalwelfare in an explicit way and based onempirical findings. The procedure needs to berefined, but its prospects are promising.



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Do Regulators of Animal Welfare Need to Develop a Theory of Psychological Well-Being?Richard P. Haynes - 2001 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 14 (2):231-240.

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