Quantifying Pain in Laying Hens, A Blueprint for the Comparative Analysis of Welfare in Animals

by Cynthia Schuck-Paim, Wladimir J. Alonso, Published: 2021, FileType: PDF

Quantifying pain in laying hens, a blueprint for the comparative analysis of welfare in animals

To effectively improve the lives of the animals under human care, a clear understanding of the impact of living conditions and practices on animal welfare is essential to establish which policies and interventions should be ascribed priority. This new book is an effort in this direction. It presents an analytical framework designed for the description and quantification of the negative affective experiences of animals, which are operationally referred to as ‘pain’ (physical and psychological). The book is the first road-test of the method, applying it to conditions that impact negatively the welfare of egg laying hens.

Topics include the impact of keel bone fractures, injurious pecking, deprivation of motivated behaviors, reproductive diseases, and the cumulative pain endured in different housing systems. It is our hope that the findings emerging from this endeavor contribute towards a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of decisions on the lives of animals, and a platform for debate and collaboration. Zoo Animals Behaviour Management and Welfare 1st Edition

This book is the first “road-test” of this method. The first chapter delineates the methodology and the second chapter defines the scope of the analysis, as applied to the understanding of the impact of reforms for improving the welfare of laying hens – a group of farmed animals as abundant as the global human population, and still predominantly raised in one of the most intensive forms of confinement in the animal farming industry. The following chapters then apply it to a range of conditions that negatively impact the welfare of these animals. Each chapter is a case study of one type of challenge to their welfare.

The book closes with a chapter where all evidence is integrated to identify the cumulative load of aversive experiences endured by laying hens in different types of housing conditions, providing a quantitative basis to evaluate the welfare impact of the transition from caged to cage-free housing systems. It is our hope that this effort also serves as a blueprint from which other welfare challenges, species and animal production systems can be investigated.

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