Farm animals cannot tell us directly how they feel and what they want. However, we can indirectly assess the animal welfare of farm animals in different husbandry systems with the help of various scientific recording and assessment methods. Animal welfare itself is multi-dimensional and can be classified on a continuum between good and bad. How well farm animals are doing in the housing environments can be assessed, for example, by the extent of absence of thirst, hunger, fear, suffering, discomfort, pain, malnutrition, injuries, disease and behavioural disorders, or by the presence of positive behaviours such as good cognitive performance or play behaviour.
At the Institute for Animal Welfare and Husbandry, we develop various methods for recording and assessing animal welfare. We apply these methods to different research questions. For example, the recording and assessing of the animal welfare situation can help us to estimate whether certain husbandry systems and procedures are animal friendly. Therefore, validated indicator of animal welfare can be used. The Institute for Animal Welfare and Husbandry, is also involved in the development of various application and systems for recording and evaluating the animal welfare situation on farm.