Externally funded project

Methods and methodologies of animal welfare research in farm animals.
A project of the LOEWE Research Cluster Animals – Humans – Society
(Methodik und Methodologie der Erforschung des Wohlbefindens von Nutztieren)


Livestock husbandry faced many changes and challenges during the last decades. Many improvements towards better animal welfare have been achieved; however, a growing number of farm animals suffer from harmful conditions.Animal welfare science developed a wide range of methods in order to allow for valid conclusions on the welfare of animals. These methods can be linked to different concepts and methodological presuppositions, e.g. when does an explanation count as scientifically valid and adequate, and which methods pass as appropriate to answer research questions. For example, researchers' presuppositions on whether emotional states are accessible to ethological research have changed over years. Whereas early publications deny the possibility of scientific research on emotional states, more recent publications do no longer call this research into question.The aim of this doctoral thesis is to document and expatiate on the shifting methods as well as on the conceptual and methodological changes of animal welfare research. The focus is set on ethological methods to study emotions in farm animals.The interdisciplinary project, which combines applied ethology and philosophy of science, includes an extensive literature review and a reconstruction of the epistemic virtues of animal welfare research.

Funded by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts

Last updated on 2018-31-08 at 12:51