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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Environmental Enrichment for Farm Animals

Authors
item Mench, Joy - UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS
item Morrow, Julie
item Chu, Ling-Ru - UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS

Submitted to: Lab Animal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Knowing how a particular species of animal spends its time and views its environment are important first steps in understanding environmental enrichment. Environmental enrichment devices or programs should be designed with consideration for the natural behavior and preferences of the animal, and should be evaluated to ensure that they actually improve the biological l(including behavioral) functioning of the animal in some way. Enrichment strategies can encompass the social environment (group housing and human-animal interactions), the nutritional environment (how the animal gets its food), and the sensory or the physical environment. However, the aim of all of the various means of enrichment should be to enhance the psychological well-being of the animal, the overall criterion of overall welfare. Because of the increasing concern about the welfare of farm animals in intensive agricultural production systems, there has been considerable research carried out on farm animal behavior in the last few decades. Along with this research has come a growing recognition that environmental enrichment can help to provide for the physical and psychological well-being of livestock and poultry. In this paper, we discuss some enrichments that have been found to be useful for farm animals, and that could be applied in the laboratory setting.

Technical Abstract: Knowing how a particular species of animal spends its time and views its environment are important first steps in understanding environmental enrichment. Environmental enrichment devices or programs should be designed with consideration for the natural behavior and preferences of the animal, and should be evaluated to ensure that they actually improve the biological l(including behavioral) functioning of the animal in some way. Enrichment strategies can encompass the social environment (group housing and human-animal interactions), the nutritional environment (how the animal gets its food), and the sensory or the physical environment. However, the aim of all of the various means of enrichment should be to enhance the psychological well-being of the animal, the overall criterion of overall welfare. Because of the increasing concern about the welfare of farm animals in intensive agricultural production systems, there has been considerable research carried out on farm animal behavior in the last few decades. Along with this research has come a growing recognition that environmental enrichment can help to provide for the physical and psychological well-being of livestock and poultry. In this paper, we discuss some enrichments that have been found to be useful for farm animals, and that could be applied in the laboratory setting.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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