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Abstract - Littlewood

Challenge, choice, and control provide opportunities for animals to have a good life

Animal welfare represents how an animal experiences their life. It means we must focus on an animal's overall mental experiences (or feelings). Animal welfare is a subjective concept that cannot be directly measured. Instead, welfare indicators are used to cautiously infer these mental experiences from resource provisions, management factors, and animal-based measures. The Five Domains Model is a holistic and structured framework for gathering these indicators and assessing animal welfare.

‘Positive welfare’ and a ‘good life’ can only result when animals have more positive than negative experiences in their lives. The more recent version of the Five Domains Model can be used to evaluate not only negative experiences but also how positive experiences may arise. This can be achieved by understanding animals' behavioural interactions that result in positive mental experiences. For animals closely controlled by humans, active interventions are often necessary to facilitate such positive experiences. Providing animals with opportunities for challenge, choice, and control can help them have a good life.

Dr Kat Littlewood
Registered Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics, & Law
Massey University, New Zealand