Brooke launches a free repository of animal welfare indicators
In order to improve animal welfare, we first need to be able to measure it. One way Brooke does this is through the use of animal-based indicators. These are scientific, non-invasive measurements of aspects that contribute to an animal’s overall welfare state, which help us understand welfare from the animal’s perspective, and include physical measures such as nasal discharge or body lesions, and behavioural measures such as the animal’s response to contact or general attitude.
Now, for the first time, Brooke has compiled many of its animal welfare indicators into a freely-accessible online repository that can be used by professionals worldwide to assess and improve animal welfare in their work. We hope this will be useful for equine welfare practitioners, scientists, animal health workers, campaigners, policymakers, educators, students and many more, and that it will contribute to helping others create evidence-based improvement to the lives of animals around the world.
Brooke benefits from many years of experience in assessing animal welfare in the field, in numerous countries around the world. We are excited to be able to share our resources and our learning to support others with their efforts to measure and improve animal welfare.
Since the introduction of its first Working Equine Welfare Assessment protocol in 2003, Brooke has been continually refining how animal welfare is assessed in the field. A Standardised Equine-Based Welfare Assessment Tool (SEBWAT) was launched in 2011, which has been used by more than 150 welfare assessors around the world and continues to be used widely within Brooke’s international country programmes.
As a vet, receiving training in animal welfare indicators was helpful for me because it helped me to have better understanding about experiences and feelings of animals and to interpret health and welfare of the animals more accurately. I could relate better that animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing both positive and negative emotions.
To find out more about animal welfare indicators and to access the repository, click here.