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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Animal welfare.

Book cover for Animal welfare.


This second edition book is a collection of topics on animal welfare from 46 authors of varying expertise of 15 countries. The book is composed of five parts: I (issues), introduces the background and philosophy of animal welfare; II (problems), covers problems of animal welfare; III (assessment), considers various approaches to the assessment of animal welfare; IV (solutions), emphasizes how prob...


Chapter 4 (Page no: 44)

Hunger and thirst.

It has been argued that the recommendation of 'freedom from hunger and thirst' leads to confusion because it is generally assumed that hunger and thirst are required 'triggers' for an animal to start feeding or drinking. Here we consider what constitutes 'normal' feeding and drinking behaviour. All animals have such preferred or 'normal' behaviours, which are structured in bouts or meals. Such behaviours are very flexible and there is little evidence to suggest that deviations from a preferred feeding behaviour have significant welfare consequences. Because free and continuous access to a high-quality food leads to overweight, obesity and other problems, animal keepers impose a degree of quantitative or qualitative feeding restriction on animals, which may be associated with effects on animal behaviour. There is agreement between studies about behavioural changes that can be observed when food is qualitatively, compared with quantitatively restricted, but less so when physiological indicators of hunger are considered. These behavioural changes are interpreted by some as signs of improved welfare when animals are qualitatively restricted. Severe food restriction is considered here as undernutrition, and its effects on animal ill thrift, poor performance, severe deterioration of health and eventual death are well established. Malnutrition arises when an animal is given access to food that is inappropriately balanced. Severe malnutrition leads to problems similar to nutrient restriction and, in addition, may give rise to obesity. However, whether subtle cases of malnutrition lead to any behavioural changes and deteriorations in welfare is subject to debate. Finally, we suggest substituting the term thirst with that of 'water restriction', which may arise intentionally or unintentionally. Because of the many functions that water performs, even short-term restriction will lead to deterioration in health and welfare. There are many instances where water restriction can arise unintentionally, despite the fact that animal keepers frequently assume free and continuous availability of and access to water, and these are considered here.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Animal ethics. Author(s): Palmer, C. Sandøe, P.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 13) Understanding animal welfare. Author(s): Keeling, L. J. Rushen, J. Duncan, I. J. H.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 27) Environmental challenge and animal agency. Author(s): Špinka, M. Wemelsfelder, F.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 64) Pain. Author(s): Viñuela-Fernández, I. Weary, D. M. Flecknell, P.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 78) Fear and other negative emotions. Author(s): Jones, B. Boissy, A.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 98) Behavioural restriction. Author(s): Mason, G. J. Burn, C. C.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 120) Health and disease. Author(s): Cockram, M. S. Hughes, B. O.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 138) Behaviour. Author(s): Olsson, I. A. S. Würbel, H. Mench, J. A.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 155) Physiology. Author(s): Blache, D. Terlouw, C. Maloney, S. K.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 183) Preference and motivation research. Author(s): Fraser, D. Nicol, C. J.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 200) Practical strategies to assess (and improve) welfare. Author(s): Butterworth, A. Mench, J. A. Wielebnowski, N.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 215) Physical conditions. Author(s): Nielsen, B. L. Appleby, M. C. Waran, N. K.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 228) Social conditions. Author(s): Galindo, F. Newberry, R. C. Mendl, M.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 246) Human contact. Author(s): Hemsworth, P. H. Boivin, X.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 263) Genetic selection. Author(s): Hocking, P. M. D'Eath, R. B. Kjaer, J. B.
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 279) Economics. Author(s): Bennett, R. Thompson, P.
Chapter: 18 (Page no: 291) Incentives and enforcement. Author(s): Knierim, U. Pajor, E. A. Jackson, W. T. Steiger, A.
Chapter: 19 (Page no: 304) International issues. Author(s): Appleby, M. C. Huertas, S. M.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • University of Thessaly, PO Box 199, 43100, Karditsa, Greece.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2011
  • ISBN
  • 9781845936594
  • Record Number
  • 20113188675