Guide Companion Animal Ethics

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Structure: CAWC is an independent advisory body. It is funded through, and members are appointed by, the Welfare Fund for Companion Animals. There are 20 members. Working methods: Undertake independent and objective studies of companion animal welfare issues and identify where further information is required.

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Prepare and publish reports thereon. Make available information and research data which it has obtained, in order to enable Parliamentary legislation on companion animal welfare issues to be drafted and debated on an informal basis. Be open to requests for objective views, advice and the carrying out of independent studies on issues concerned with the welfare of companion animals.

Contact details:. CAWC Secretariat. The Dene. Old North Road. Cambridge CB23 2TZ. Companion Animal Welfare Council Reports. CAWC Workshop: Towards an independent advisory body on tackling genetic welfare problems in companion animals?

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This is the report of a workshop, held on 17 th February , to consider the idea of an independent advisory group to advise on tackling genetic welfare problems in companion animals in more detail, to define its nature and role and consider how it might be established.

This report discusses methods for the assessment of companion animal welfare and the need for further development of methodology. Behavioural responses to challenging situations can also be short-term or long-term. P a g e 26 term responses may be changes in posture or flight, whereas long-term responses may include the development of stereotypic behaviours or a reduction in normal behaviours.

The main advantage that behavioural assessment has over the physiological measures of welfare is that it is non-invasive, and assessment can be carried out without necessarily influencing the animal and its behaviour. As with physiological measures, knowledge of the natural behaviour of the animal is also required when using behaviour to assess welfare; for example, vocalisation by an individual of one species may be of more concern than vocalisation by another.

Similarly, some species naturally freeze in response to a threat whereas others do not, and such a response would be of more concern in some species than others. Specific behavioural responses to negative welfare experience such as fear and stress may be shown. Fear and stress are usually displayed as changes in body posture, activity levels and avoidance behaviours. If an animal finds a specific trigger to be a stressor, it will tend to avoid it in the future if given the choice.

Although every animal will have its own individualised response to stress, there are four general patterns followed by companion animals: 1. Flight — a fearful dog or cat will often try to escape a situation by fleeing; this may be obvious by a sudden exit from the current environment, but also can be more subtle e. Fight — it is a common misconception that an aggressive dog or cat is not a fearful dog or cat.

Aggression is just one of the ways a dog or cat can exhibit fear, and it is important for the welfare of the dog or cat to remember that if it is growling, snarling, lunging, barking, hissing spitting etc. This is not uncommonly seen in a veterinary setting where it can be mistaken for a compliant or well-behaved pet - whereas in fact it is terrified and frozen, thereby accepting of examination or manipulation.

This is one of the most common fear or anxiety responses seen in dogs and cats and includes behaviours such as lip-licking when not hungry, yawning when not tired, scratching when not itchy, visually scanning the room or shaking the coat as if wet. This is the companion animal equivalent of a person chewing their nails if nervous, or twirling their hair, or laughing in an inappropriate situation. These signs are very similar, and indeed many overlap with the signs of pain. It is therefore important to recognise the difference, as not only will the management or treatment regimens instigated in.

P a g e 27 response to these behavioural signs differ, but they may also affect long-term outcomes such anxiety and panic Seksel, In cats, two main styles of reacting to a stressor have been identified Heath, Active responders may benefit from the provision of additional sources of stimulatory enrichment e. Passive responders will benefit more from enrichments offering them a greater sense of security e. In dogs there are no similar models for how individuals will react, and each dog should be monitored carefully.

For example, some dogs may respond by freezing, or shutting down, resulting in a lack of. P a g e 28 interest in the environment, standing still, and decreased appetite. Other dogs may become aggressive or display fiddle behaviours such as shaking off as if wet, or scratching.

In order to understand animals and their emotions, it is necessary to be able to read and recognise their body language. The traffic light system is commonly used to evaluate body language and to decide whether to proceed with any examination of the dog or cat. When assessing welfare in individual animals, a combination of both physiological and behavioural measures should always be used. Pain is both a psychological and physiological experience and therefore the subject is both complex and controversial. Pain is highly aversive and something that an animal tries to avoid. It may be acute, chronic, localised, generalised, physical, emotional, adaptive or maladaptive and may arise from tissue damage.

P a g e 29 nociceptive , tissue inflammation inflammatory or nerve damage neuropathic. An individual may experience several types of pain concurrently. The behavioural signs of pain may be overt or covert and vary with species, sex, age and previous experience as well as the current situation in which the animal finds itself. This adds to the difficulty in interpreting how pain affects animals. It is not known what percentage of the domesticated animal species suffer from pain.

One way that pain is commonly recognised in animals is by a change in their behaviour. In fact, a change in behaviour is often the first indication that an animal is unwell. If using behaviour as an indicator of pain it needs to be recognised that behavioural responses are complex. A behavioural response involves not only what an animal does but also when, how, where and why it exhibits the behaviour. Behaviour should never be considered in isolation but always in the context in which it occurs. There are individual as well as species differences in how animals respond to pain and these are in part related to the genetic variation in such factors as the number, distribution and morphology of opioid receptors Janicki et al.

In humans, research has indicated that biological sex and hormonal status may affect both pain responses and pain-relieving interventions Paller et al. Biological sex has also been shown to have an effect in non-human species and age has also been implicated AAHA, Males and females also differ in their response to stress, which may be a cause of psychological as well as physical pain Kudielkaa and Kirschbaum, There are also marked species-specific differences in behaviour and how they respond to pain and stress Paul-Murphy et al.

For example, inter-species variation such as predator versus prey species differences are markedly different but intra-species variation is also great Paul-Murphy et al. Previous exposure to noxious or stressful stimuli and the outcome of that experience will affect the behaviour exhibited Seksel, For example, the presence or absence of others conspecifics as well as members of other species , familiar or unfamiliar surroundings, the weather and novel stimuli all play a part in determining not only which behaviours are exhibited but also the duration and frequency of the behaviour.

Recognition of animal pain How people recognise the actuality and degree of pain perception in animals will be to some degree affected by the society in which they live, the culture in which they were raised and the attitudes of their community.

Can we assess the level of pain by observing behaviour? To what degree this is reflected as the true level of pain remains to be seen; however, it is the best indication we have for routine use in the clinical setting. There are both validated and non-validated measures that can be used for pain assessment in cats and dogs; for example, the Glasgow composite short form pain scale Reid et al.

Conclusion The Five Animal Welfare Needs is a simple but comprehensive framework that can be used when evaluating the overall level of welfare of an animal. The pet owner is a useful source of information regarding any changes in behaviour, which may be the first sign of a health problem negatively affecting welfare.

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When assessing each individual animal, using a combination of physiological and behavioural measures of animal welfare is recommended. Checklist Are you up to date with scientific advances in measuring and monitoring animal welfare? Are your staff members trained to monitor and manage the welfare of animals in their care? Are records kept to monitor and manage animal welfare in animals in the veterinary clinic? Are there activities that you could introduce to improve your capacity to measure and monitor animal welfare?

References AAHA Animal Welfare Act Animal Health and Welfare Scotland Act Bartley, E. Sex differences in pain: a brief review of clinical and experimental findings.

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Quality of life assessment in domestic dogs: An evidence-based rapid review. The Veterinary Journal, 2 , pp. P a g e 31 Boissy, A.

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Blyth, F. Chronic pain in Australia: a prevalence study. Pain, 89 2 , pp. Duncan, I. Welfare is to do with what animals feel. Journal of agricultural and environmental ethics. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 51 4 , pp. Heath, S.


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John Wiley and Sons: Chichester. Psychometric testing of the Helsinki chronic pain index by completion of a questionnaire in Finnish by owners of dogs with chronic signs of pain caused by osteoarthritis. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 70 6 , pp. International Association for the Study of Pain Janicki, P.

Kudielkaa, B. Anesthesiology 2 — Kim, H. Genetic predictors for acute experimental cold and heat pain sensitivity in humans. Journal of medical genetics, 43 8 , pp. Massar, S. Attentional bias in high-and low-anxious individuals: evidence for threat-induced effects on engagement and disengagement.

Mellor, D. Animals, 7 12 , p.