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What is suffering in animals?

By D. M. Weary, M. C. Appleby, P. Sandoe

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In much of the recent animal welfare literature the word 'suffering' is used simply as an adjunct (as in 'pain and suffering') or to emphasize that the animal consciously perceives pain or some other negative affect. A stronger usage of the term implies that the negative feelings are prolonged, high intensity or both, but without any clear line to distinguish when suffering begins. Researchers in human medicine have developed more explicit definitions of suffering that also reference concurrent negative feelings (including fear, anxiety, sadness and depression) and the patient's ability to cope. Applying this broader definition of suffering to animal welfare will require a new approach to the research we do. Research on animal suffering will require not only the assessment of negative affective states but also an assessment of how concurrent negative states interact, a general assessment of the animal's emotional health and its ability to cope with adversity.

Pages 188-202
ISBN/ISSN 978-1-78064-216-1
Publisher Cabi
Language English
Author Address University of British Columbia, British Columbia,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adaptation
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Anxiety
  7. Assessment
  8. Depression
  9. Diseases and injuries of animals
  10. Emotions
  11. Fear
  12. Livestock
  13. Pain
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Wild animals