Skip to the content

Rapid animal welfare assessment: an archaeological approach

Schork, I and Young, RJ 2014, 'Rapid animal welfare assessment: an archaeological approach' , Biology Letters, 10 , p. 20140390.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (482kB) | Request a copy


The welfare of an individual depends on its capacity to overcome suboptimal conditions in its environment; otherwise, its physical and psychological health becomes compromised. A situation that clearly indicates lack of control of the environment is the expression of abnormal behaviours, such as stereotypies. This study aimed to verify the well-being of police horses using a new rapid form of welfare assessment: an archaeological approach. To this end, we sampled and quantified marks found on the stables, deposited as a result of abnormal behaviour. We cross-referenced these physical marks with veterinary records of diseases, such as colic, known to be associated with stress. A total of 46 horseswere sampled and the results showed a significant medium-strength, positive correlation between bite mark frequency on stable doors and the incidence of colic. Aweak significant positive correlation was found between length of scratch marks (from pawing) and the incidence of lameness.We conclude that these marks reflect the accumulated expression of abnormal behaviour and can provide rapid insight into the welfare of individual animals.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Biology Letters
Publisher: Royal Society, The
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1744-957X
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Professor Robert Young
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 10:22
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2016 08:49

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year