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Assessing the human-animal relationship in farmed species: a critical review

By S. Waiblinger, X. Boivin, V. Pedersen, M. V. Tosi, A. M. Janczak, E. K. Visser, R. B. Jones

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The present paper focuses on six main issues. First, we briefly explain why an increased understanding of the human-animal relationship (HAR) is an essential component of any strategy intended to improve the welfare of farmed animals and their stockpersons. Second, we list the main internal and external factors that can influence the nature of the relationship and the interactions between human beings and farm animals. Third, we argue that the numerous tests that have been used to assess the HAR fall into three main categories (stationary human, moving human, handling/restraint), according to the degree of human involvement. Fourth, the requirements that any test of HAR must fulfil before it can be considered effective, and the ways in which the tests can be validated are discussed. Fifth, the various types of test procedures that have been used to assess the HAR in a range of farmed species are reviewed and critically discussed. Finally, some research perspectives that merit further attention are shown. The present review embraces a range of farmed animals. Our primary reasons for including a particular species were: whether or not general interest has been expressed in its welfare and its relationship with humans, whether relevant literature was available, and whether it is farmed in at least some European countries. Therefore, we include large and small ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), pigs, poultry (chickens), fur animals (foxes, mink) and horses. Although horses are primarily used for sport, leisure or therapy they are farmed as draught, food or breeding animals in many countries. Literature on the HAR in other species was relatively scarce so they receive no further mention here.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 101
Issue 3/4
Pages 185-242
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Author Address Institute of Animal Husbandry and Welfare, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Science, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinarplatz 1, A 1210 Wien,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Birds
  6. Cattle
  7. Chickens
  8. Fowls
  9. Foxes
  10. Goats
  11. Horses
  12. Human behavior
  13. Mammals
  14. Mathematics and statistics
  15. mink
  16. open access
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Poultry
  19. Primates
  20. Reviews
  21. Sheep
  22. Social psychology and social anthropology
  23. Swine
  24. Techniques
  25. tests
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed