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Record number 121879
Title Development of a decision support system to assess farm animal welfare
Author(s) Bracke, M.B.M.; Metz, J.H.M.; Spruijt, B.M.
Source Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section A-Animal Science 30 (2001). - ISSN 0906-4702 - p. 17 - 20.
Department(s) ATV Farm Technology
ID Lelystad, Institute for Animal Science and Health
Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering
Chair Ethology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2001
Abstract The progress of a project aimed at developing a decision support system (DSS) for overall welfare assessment is described. We chose the pregnant sow as a 'case' to develop the assessment method. First, we designed and tested a very simple prototype DSS in order to examine several basic ideas as to how welfare can be assessed on a scientific basis. In this prototype welfare assessment was based on the needs of animals. The second version of the DSS, which extended the approach taken in the first, included a wider range of housing systems and an improved knowledge base. It used a rigid formal procedure to construct the model, moving directly from scientific statements into if-then rules. However, this extended version resulted in counter-intuitive scores for the seven main housing systems for pregnant sows. In the third version of the DSS the complexity of the model was reduced, if-then rules being excluded. It was based on more general biological considerations (needs and sub-needs) and produced scores which accorded better with expert opinion. Weighting was managed in a simplified, but procedural way. For improved welfare assessment we suggest that the method of 'reflective equilibrium' should be used
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