1. Next steps in welfare assessment in dairy cows: Harmonisation of indicators to promote welfare
Facilitators: Marie Haskell, Scotland's Rural College; Elsa Vasseur, University of McGill, Canada; and Christoph Winckler, BOKU, Austria
Demand for validated and reliable animal welfare indicators has grown immensely, with retailers, consumers and policy makers using welfare indicators to verify the welfare standards of production animals. Researchers and others have responded to this demand by creating a large number of these welfare indicators. Research into these indicators, and their use, has spread across the world.
Can, and should we move towards harmonisation of welfare indicators for dairy cattle?
Harmonisation would involve defining standardised methods of measuring and recording welfare indicators. Harmonisation would facilitate comparisons across assessment schemes and countries, allow the use of these traits in breeding schemes and provide a template for new companies and countries to start recording welfare.
ICAR (International Committee for Animal Recording) is an international organisation that promotes standardisation and harmonisation in animal recording. Members of the WAFL ‘community’ are involved in a working group that is working towards harmonisation of welfare traits for dairy cattle.
What stakeholders should be involved? How should harmonisation be carried out?
We need your views!
The workshop will start with some short presentations on the background to the ICAR dairy cow welfare harmonisation project and examples of harmonisation for cow foot and leg health. Then all participants can take part in a virtual ‘World Café’ where a number of key challenges and issues for harmonisation will be proposed and assigned to break-out rooms. In small groups, participants will then move around the rooms to express their views and perspectives on each issue. Facilitators will summarise the discussions from each ‘table’ at the end of the session.
2. Applying human behaviour theory to key animal welfare issues
Facilitator: Grace Carroll, Queen's University Belfast
One of the major challenges faced by animal welfare scientists is human behaviour. Understanding the reasons why individuals act or fail to act to protect animal welfare is key. Behaviour change frameworks were originally developed within the field of health psychology. This workshop aims to provide an introductory guide for animal welfare scientists to develop their own human behaviour change interventions that are replicable and underpinned by psychological theory.
The topics covered within the workshop are as follows;
• Understanding the Behaviour you want to change
• Identify Intervention Content
• Identify Implementation Options
Key principles of the Theoretical Domains Framework, Behaviour Change Wheel and Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy will be introduced.
3. Animal welfare in veterinary education
Facilitators: Suzanne Millman, Iowa State University and Katy Proudfoot, University of Prince Edward Island
The case study approach is an increasingly popular active learning strategy that seeks to connect theoretical concepts to applied situations. In this workshop we will discuss the development and use of case studies to enhance animal welfare knowledge, skills and assessment. Participants will play an active role in reviewing and revising of actual case studies designed for senior veterinary students and animal welfare professionals.
This workshop will be led by members of the USDA Higher Education project - “Tools to develop animal welfare knowledge and skills for the next generation of food animal veterinarians”.
4. The journey to the long pig tail: an Irish perspective
Facilitator: Mona Larsen, KU Leuven
Tail biting is a damaging behavior in pigs that causes both significant animal welfare problems and economic losses. It is hugely difficult to prevent and control in conventional pig farming systems because the causes are multifactorial. The most effective method of reducing the risk of tail biting is tail docking, which has become routine practice in many countries worldwide, but this does not address the underlying causes of biting behavior, or entirely prevent it. Thus the process of terminating tail docking as a preventive measure is extremely challenging. The workshop will present the current status in Ireland with regard to both tail docking and biting, as well as ongoing research conducted on the use of technology and digitalisation as a method to address the tail biting challenge. Participants will be divided in breakout rooms to discuss the implementation of such a digitalised tool and should be prepared to answer poll questions.
The workshop will be open to researchers as well as stakeholders within the pig production not attending the WAFL conference. It will be recorded as part of data collection for a larger research project investigating development of a PLF tool to detect biting behaviour. Prior to the workshop, participants will be asked to sign a NDA and an informed consent form.
5. Animal welfare practices in a zoo setting
Facilitator: Seán McKeown, Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park is home to thousands of animals across a wide range of taxa: from Asiatic lions to Indian peafowl. Fota's primary objective is to provide the highest possible standard of care, housing and quality of life for all its species, both native and exotic. To do this, the staff at Fota have devised a range of innovative practices that reduce practical difficulties and make caring for the animals easier. In this workshop you will be introduced to some of these practices and to some of the research carried out at Fota that informs welfare policy at the wildlife park. This will be followed by a Q&A session with staff of the park.
All workshops take place on Tuesday 17th August from 1700 - 1900 (Irish time GMT +1). You can select one of the workshops below when registering for the conference. If you are already registered, you will receive a link to add a workshop to your registration.