Animal Health
and Welfare
Veterinarians deliver a key role in safeguarding health and welfare:
  • Herd/flock health: Measure/Manage/Monitor
  • A life worth living and welfare outcomes

The vet cannot be an expert in all areas related to the running of a farm unit, but is ideally positioned as a coordinator of this process, with an overview of animal health and welfare, food production and environmental management. Therefore a key role of the vet is to help to form a cohesive farm policy alongside other specialist farm advisors, balancing animal health and welfare, economic and environmental considerations.

Herd health management (HHM) involves the delivery of a more coordinated approach with a critical process of PRIORITIZATION of management interventions. HHM has been defined as 'a method to optimise health, welfare and production in a population of animals through the systematic analysis of relevant data and through regular objective observations of the cows and their environment, such that informed, timely decisions are made to adjust and improve herd management over time'(Green, 2012). A cycle of 'Measure/Manage/Monitor' characterises this whole-herd approach and by taking ownership of the process through an effective vet–farmer partnership.

The widely recognised 'Five Freedoms' developed in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and 1970s, help to encapsulate society’s expectations for the conditions animals should experience when under human control, namely:

However, the aspiration for kept animals to achieve a 'good life' beyond just a 'life worth living' has become an important concept, alongside the five domains of animal welfare: the four interacting physical/functional domains, ie 'nutrition', 'environment', 'health' and 'behaviour', and a fifth domain of 'mental state'. The first four domains focus on internal physiological and pathophysiological disturbances: nutritional, environmental and health-related (1–3), and on external physical and social conditions in the animal’s environment that may limit its capacity to express various behaviours (domain 4). Once such internal and external factors are assessed, their anticipated affective consequences are assigned to the fifth ‘mental’ domain, and it is these experiences that determine the animal’s welfare state.

InSHAW aims to build partnerships and create opportunities involving:
Collaborative research on sustainable livestock health and welfare
The development of inclusive educational sustainability programmes for your organisation
Influencing opinion and policy development locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
To find out more and discuss opportunities to collaborate with the InSHAW network or to participate in future events please contact InSHAW by telephone on +44 (0)1782 731846 or email