Welfare of Large Animals In Scientific Research
For the purpose of this paper, large animal species are taken to be those animals that are commonly used as farm livestock animals namely: cows, pigs, goats, sheep, horses, camelids and deer. The numbers of procedures in the UK in 2006 involving such animals amounted to around 56,000 out of a total of around 3 million. It may be that human perception of these animals as livestock animals impairs our consideration of their needs, compared to say those of common pet animals, dogs or cats. As the perception of their environment, and the potential to suffer, of livestock animals is likely to be similar however, we should not neglect their needs. The use of large animals in scientific procedures has advantages in some respects – the animals are in the main domesticated, and are therefore comparatively docile and have been bred to cope with captivity. Nevertheless they can display aggressive behaviour and are capable of causing significant injury, so an understanding of their behaviour can reduce risks to staff caring for and working with these animals. This presentation considers the behaviour of these animals, their needs, signs of discomfort and pain, and means to ameliorate both their welfare and the safety of staff engaged in their use.