Scotland’s Rural College survey asks for farmers’ views on animal welfare

Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have launched a survey to help determine what both livestock farmers and members of the public believe makes farm animals happy.

According to SRUC, the public view is that farm animals are happiest when allowed to roam freely and exhibit their natural behaviours, whereas livestock farmers often place greater emphasis on maintaining the health of the animals.

This new investigation from SRUC’s Animal Behaviour and Welfare team aims to clarify how divided opinions are on what is most important for animal welfare.

The team has already surveyed 800 members of the public and is now asking farmers to provide their views on how important health and natural behaviours are for the well-being of farm animals.

The survey has been funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS), and is open to all livestock farmers across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Belinda Vigors, a social scientist at SRUC, said: “We hope the findings will help us gain a better understanding of the value placed on different aspects of farm animal welfare and how potential trade-offs between animal health and natural behaviours are viewed by key stakeholders.

“Interest in this survey has already been expressed by those working in policy, so contributions from the livestock sector would be really valuable at this stage.”

To complete the survey, click here to visit the Happy and Healthy webpage. Results are due to be released by the end of the year.

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