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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karen L Campbell, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVD (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This book explores a variety of topics relating to the science of animal welfare in three major parts. Part I presents a historical perspective on how animals and animal use have been viewed in different cultures; part II describes the various methods that may be used to evaluate the well-being of animals; and part III explores current areas of debate in animal welfare science.
Purpose: The goal is to provide an introduction to animal welfare science that includes historical perspectives, scientific methodology, and current areas of controversy. A book like this is needed because of the great interest in animal rights and animal welfare. This book provides excellent insights into these areas.
Audience: It will be of interest and value to students and scientists with an interest in animal welfare, animal producers, veterinarians and others working with animals, and policy makers, the latter including both government and corporate workers. The author, a professor in the animal welfare program at the University of British Columbia, is recognized as a pioneer of animal welfare science.
Features: This interesting book explains how modern-day animal welfare issues have evolved from a variety of different cultural views on animals and the importance of promoting their well-being. The author describes the difficulty of assessing emotional states of animals and explains the different types of scientific studies that can be used to assess animal well-being. Importantly, the author points out the strengths and shortcomings of different methods of assessing animal well-being. The discussion of contemporary debates in policies relating to animal use and housing are fascinating. References and an index will assist readers in locating topics of interest. The only shortcoming is a relative scarcity of illustrations.
Assessment: This is a must-read for those interested in understanding the background of animal welfare and how science can be used to better define animal well-being under different circumstances.