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ASAS Centennial Paper: Farm animal welfare science in the United States

Johnson, A.K.
Journal of animal science 2009 v.87 no.6 pp. 2175-2179
animal well-being, farmed animal species, issues and policy, research support, research programs, research projects, animal science, veterinary medicine, surveys, research methods, questionnaires, scientists, researchers, dairy cattle, sheep, beef cattle, poultry, needs assessment, training (people), information exchange, United States
Compared with the more traditional sciences of nutrition, physiology, and reproduction, the acceptance of animal welfare science in its own right is still relatively new. Seven colleagues, who had an average of 10 yr experience with beef (n = 5), swine (n = 5), dairy (n = 2), poultry (n = 1), and sheep (n = 1) were asked several questions on the opportunities and challenges facing the field. The information collected was pooled for anonymity. General challenges identified by the group were (1) are we making progress and how can this be defined, (2) demand for information has outpaced the science, and (3) pressures from stakeholders. Solutions were (1) to continue providing sound science that has been validated, measured objectively, and is reliable; and (2) to continue to have animal science and veterinary medicine departments employ faculty trained in farm animal welfare. Highlights for the future were willingness for animal welfare scientists to work across disciplines and across departments, within the same institution, and enthusiastically across state lines, and expansion of new teaching models. In conclusion, new and innovative tools, personalities, and dedication to the field of animal welfare will continue to provide scientific information and direction for farm animal welfare science.