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Intensive broiler (meat) chicken production now exceeds 800 million birds each year in the United Kingdom and 2 x 10(10) birds worldwide, but it attracts accusations of poor welfare. The European Union is currently adopting standards for broilers aimed at a chief welfare concern--namely, overcrowding--by limiting maximum 'stocking density' (bird weight per(More)
Here, I provide a guide for those new to the burgeoning field of animal welfare science as to what this comprehensive, relatively young discipline is all about. Drawing on all branches of biology, including behavioural ecology and neuroscience, the science of animal welfare asks three big questions: Are animals conscious? How can we assess good and bad(More)
Animal welfare is a topic often thought to reside outside mainstream biology. The complexity of the methods used to assess welfare (such as health, physiology, immunological state, and behavior) require an understanding of a wide range of biological phenomena. Furthermore, the "welfare" of an animal provides a framework in which a diversity of its responses(More)
  • M S Dawkins
  • 1993
Explanations of signal design must meet three requirements: they must be logically coherent, they must explain the diversity in size of animal signals and they must explain the diversity in form of signals. Three selection pressures operating on animal signals are discussed: the degree of conflict or cooperation, the 'efficacy' of signals and how signalling(More)
1. Feather pecking is one of the major problems facing the egg industry in non-cage systems and is set to become even more of an issue with the European Union ban on the keeping of laying hens in barren battery cages which comes into force in 2012 and the prospect of a ban on beak-trimming. Reducing feather pecking without resorting to beak treatment is an(More)
Campylobacter jejuni is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, with contaminated chicken meat considered to represent a major source of human infection. Biosecurity measures can reduce C. jejuni shedding rates of housed chickens, but the increasing popularity of free-range and organic meat raises the question of whether the welfare(More)
1. Forty-six flocks of commercially-reared Pekin ducks were studied in 23 houses differing in their ventilation and brooding systems, and water and feed resources, in order to identify factors affecting duck welfare in commercial practice. 2. A wide range of environmental variables were measured, together with the physical and plumage condition of the ducks(More)
Feather pecking in laying hens is a major welfare and production problem for commercial egg producers, resulting in mortality, loss of production as well as welfare issues for the damaged birds. Damaging outbreaks of feather pecking are currently impossible to control, despite a number of proposed interventions. However, the ability to predict feather(More)