2007 The impact of confinement
How much space does an elephant need? The impact of confinement on animal welfare.
Tuesday 27 February 2007
Telstra Theatre, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The environment we provide for any captive animal has a significant impact on its welfare
As the context and purpose of confinement changes, so does our perception of what is an ‘appropriate' space and what is provided for the animals within it. These perceptions influence our decision making in setting minimum standards for the confinement and housing of animals in different contexts, including:
- Intensive and extensively farmed animals
- Animals used for research and teaching
- Companion animals
- Animals used for sport, entertainment, work or display
- Captive wild animals
Speakers at the 2007 RSPCA Scientific Seminar examined recent national and international research on the impact of confinement on animals, and the factors that influence our perception of what is an ‘appropriate' housing environment. The seminar also examined those factors that affect the amount of space and type of physical environment that an animal needs, such as its social behaviour, dietary requirements, physiology, temperament and genetics.
Current thinking dictates that animal welfare standards should be science based, but this assumes that there is sufficient research in a given area to provide us with useful answers. The seminar aimed to identify gaps in our knowledge of the impact of confinement, and provide some direction for future research. It also looked at processes that are used to determine the quality and size of housing environments and to set minimum standards, particularly where relevant scientific information is lacking.
- Space, time and unassuming animals
Christine Nicol, School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol
- Spatial requirements of animals: allometry and beyond
Carol Petherick, Queensland DPI&F
- Defining issues of space in zoos
Peter Stroud, Consultant
- Without the wisdom of Solomon or his ring: Setting standards for exhibited animals
Matthew Crane, Animal Welfare Branch, NSW DPI
- The challenge of developing regulations for production animals that produce the welfare outcomes we want
Cheryl O'Connor, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand
- Does confinement improve the welfare of domestic cats?
Ellen Jongman, Animal Welfare Science Centre, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
- Impacts of confinement and research needs to underpin welfare standards
John Barnett, Animal Welfare Science Centre, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
This project is supported by the Commonwealth Government through a grant-in-aid administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.