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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marcella D Ridgway, VMD, MS, DACVIM (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: Current concepts in the understanding and study of animal welfare and the interrelationships of the multiple disciplines which contribute to the broader field of animal welfare science are the subject of this book.
Purpose: It is intended to describe the many facets of animal welfare science and to address the history, advances, and future directions of this varied field. The purpose of the authors, though not clearly specified, appears to be to provide objective data and considerations of multiple assessments and perspectives which can then inform readers' perceptions and evolving understanding of the field and of animal welfare issues.
Audience: This book has a diverse audience, and includes those associated with agricultural, research, and sport/entertainment use of animals; with care and breeding of companion animals; and with determining animal-related legislation and addressing other societal issues related to animals and their management. The three authors bring tremendous expertise, diversity of experience, and openness to new perspectives to produce a balanced document that can serve as a foundation for new perspectives and direction.
Features: A general description of the animal welfare field and pertinent history of the development and evolution of the discipline begins the book, including how developments in agricultural and veterinary sciences, biotechnology, and animal breeding fueled the need for and contributed to the development of an animal welfare specialty. Scientific techniques and research designs that are applicable to the objective study of animal welfare issues are explained. The book goes on to describe the changing role of animals in society and human relationships with animals as well as the global diversity of human-animal interactions and animal welfare issues. The book is formatted in a particularly useful manner, with a summary phrase introducing each section that enhances readability and retention of the material and also increases the book's utility as a reference.
Assessment: This book brings together in one resource information that has previously been available only in small fragments widely distributed throughout the literature of different disciplines and, additionally, highlights the unifying concepts in a very diverse discipline. It provides a solid foundation for understanding and developing perspective on issues of animal welfare which have previously been addressed by varied facets of society in a more abstract manner. The authors present their well-informed opinions but advocate strongly as well for the application of objective measurement techniques and evidence-based approaches to inform the evolution of the field. The use of summary phrases to introduce each new thought or section is an outstanding approach to presenting the information, which other books would do well to adopt.