How to assess animal welfare?
Adjunct Professor, Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Münster
Good scientific practice in biomedical research includes assuring good welfare of experimental animals. Welfare can vary on a continuum from very good to very poor. The crucial question is: What are suitable methods to assess animal welfare objectively? In the last decades animal welfare research succeeded to establish reliable methods to diagnose welfare of animals living under human made housing conditions. In this talk, physiological and ethological indicators for animal welfare will be discussed on the basis of research examples: the main focus will be on stress hormones, spontaneous behaviour as well as preference tests. Furthermore, the assessment of emotions will be highlighted. Taken together, this talk aims to discuss an animal friendly housing and handling of experimental animals.