Rowe, E., Mullan, S. 2022. Advancing a “good life” for farm animals: Development of resource tier frameworks for on-farm assessment of positive welfare for beef cattle, broiler chicken and pigs. Animals 12(5), 565.
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours can elicit positive physical and emotional states and therefore positive welfare and a “good life” for farmed animals. Evaluation of resource provision is considered the best way of assessing positive welfare at present, in the absence of validated and practical animal-based measures. Previous research has outlined a framework of three tiers of increasingly positive welfare (Welfare +, Welfare ++, Welfare +++) containing resources that incrementally increase the opportunities for a good life over and above the requirements of UK law and code of practice. Based on this blueprint, “Good Life Frameworks” were developed for beef cattle, broiler chickens and pigs, containing resources that increase good life opportunities according to the scientific literature and expert consultation. We describe the initial development of these frameworks, including a piloting exercise with the UK farm assurance industry, to further refine the frameworks according to auditor and farmer feedback, and test the frameworks as a method of on-farm assessment and assurance of a “good life” for farm animals.