The animal welfare debate rages on like never before, and there is rarely a long way between input and data. Everyone says something, everyone thinks something, everyone is in the interest of animal welfare. Good animal welfare. And everyone is doing something wrong. Anything can come through anyone, and nothing is good enough. Does it sound familiar?
Well, here comes the raisins in the sausage. The answer you were looking for, but didn’t spend the time searching for.
Animal welfare. he is. Science.
We believe in climate scientists and we believe in educators. We believe in pharmacists, engineers, social workers and carpenters. why? Because we rely on their professional expertise. Very few people know or realize that animal welfare is a science. From there, we find ourselves in a void where one’s subjective opinions about animal welfare are affirmed as a kind of truth.
This is not how we can get it. It gives a misleading picture of the true needs, abilities and capabilities of animals, and it also leaves less scope for professional support than the professions and animal welfare as a science. The power to determine should lie with the professional community, not politicians, private interests or consumers.
Why do we need to know the science of behavior?
Animal welfare is a broad field with many specialists. Topics include knowledge in veterinary medicine, nutrition, breeding, genetics and, last but not least, the behavioral sciences. Ethology is the study of animal behavior, and ethical research is a science aligned with human psychology.
Behaviorists are behavioral specialists with knowledge of animal motivation and communication, the mechanisms of the hormonal and nervous system in animal behaviour, the evolution of behavior in individuals and species, behavioral genetics, cognition and learning theory.
For example, did you know that animals and humans are subject to the same reward system? Dopamine kicks in when we have expectations of something positive, whether that’s through clicks on social media, an approaching afternoon walk with the dog, or the expectation that the cow will visit focus.
Expectation creates the impulse that causes behavioral change. Knowledge of animal behavior provides a basis for understanding their needs, but it also forms a bridge to subjective insight and recognition of human origin, survival, behavior and needs. In other words, understanding animal behavior can help us better understand ourselves.
Different behaviour, problem solving, preferences, and emotions are measurable factors that behavioral scientists look for and form the basis for increasing knowledge about animals’ desires.
This knowledge is available to animal owners and contributes to facilitating and promoting different types of livestock farming, as well as changes in legislation. Behaviorists also have knowledge of species-specific behaviour, abnormal behavior, stereotypes, and social and environmental factors that affect animals. Advances in livestock farming have come a long way and this research in the behavioral sciences deserves many thanks.
But is it not enough to care for animals and have mercy?
You see: a horse relaxing in its crate.
The ethicist believes that couples standing alone without access to social contact probably shouldn’t have had their tires rotated, have little time for grazing and limited indoor space without much ecological enrichment.
You see: the chickens that were finally allowed to graze freely.
The behavioral scientist argues that: a flock of animals much larger than the social structure of the chicken usually indicates a greater chance of heels, feather pecking and cannibalism, more chances of escape and the chance of an increased need for aeration due to increased activity and the spread of dust, dirt and fine dust.
You see: pigs on a solid concrete floor.
Behavioral sees: an adaptation in animal production that takes into account several considerations, including hygiene, as well as the possibility of root material during molting, cracks in the floor for droppings, heating angles for pigs, and steel collars along the walls of the box that protect against killing pigs.
You see: angry dog.
The ethicist believes that an aggressive and fearful dog who may not be confident in the owner’s handling of the situation, and who has not learned to walk calmly on a leash, should not meet other dogs on its own terms and who have learned that attack is the best defense.
There is no one solution with two dashes below the answer
Connecting and caring for an animal touches some of the most basic in all of us. Humans are lovable by nature, which means that we are drawn to living things, animals, and the processes of nature. But life is largely about compromises, as is raising animals.
We are unable to maintain optimal animal welfare for each individual at all times, and behaviors can tell you that optimal animal welfare is not always, well, optimal. Animal welfare can lead to frustration, boredom, or more fighting due to a lack of challenges.
Animal welfare is a science that is in no way separated from the fact that people also have ethical considerations. But then we have to be honest, that’s what we’re talking about. Nothing is immutable, and animal husbandry is a process that is constantly changing and evolving. However, we must trust that professional animal care expertise is qualified to speak, advise and act on behalf of animals.
The reason why behavioral scientists are often in the boat can be seen in light of the Dunning-Kruger effect. When many people think a lot about animal welfare, behavioral scientists know that the picture is complex and complex.
There is no final decision about good animal welfare, because animal welfare is up to the individual and how the animal experiences itself and interacts with its environment. This is the basis of behavioral research. The results of the research can then be used to benefit the animals, with gradual changes in breeding, routine, handling, training methods, rights and laws.
Behaviorists are experts in animal care and our expertise can go a long way in increasing the general level of knowledge about animal care. We can also expect that the animal welfare approach will be ensured by occupational stability in line with other research-based development in the community.
Increased knowledge and confidence in animal welfare as a science will in turn be reflected in the future wishes of politicians, voters and consumers. But then ethical expertise must have its rightful place in the animal welfare debate.
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