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Body Cameras Offer Viable Option for Remote Animal Welfare Assessments

Research conducted by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine indicates the use of body cameras offers a viable option for conducting animal welfare assessments remotely. Researchers with Western College of Veterinary Medicine have completed an evaluation of the use of body cameras, similar to those that have been used for years by police departments, as an option for barn personnel to support remote animal welfare assessments.
Dr. Giuliana Miguel Pacheco, a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, explains animal welfare assessments can be used to monitor well being and to ensure animal welfare standards are being met.
Clip-Giuliana Miguel Pacheco-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
We used a pig welfare assessment that has 16 indicators to validate the cameras, so for example measurements that we can collect by looking at the pigs itself, not the housing facilities. For example some of these indicators were how clean pigs look, skin, ear and tail lesions.
For this we were looking at the severity or presence of the lesions and we also looked at fear of humans. For this we were interested to measure how pigs reacted to the human presence. Would they approach or try to hide. This data was collected as any barn staff or assessor would do, by direct visual observation.
The main finding was that these cameras can be used to collect video footage that can be used to run animal welfare assessments remotely, because the agreement we observed between what assessors saw on-farm was high when compared to what was captured from the videos. However, when we looked at the data from the first stage or pen level for example, the agreement was not as strong.
This gave us the indication that potentially a lack of training was causing the difference because the background knowledge or lack of it may affect the way we measure or assess something, creating a difference or disagreement on the scores.
Source : Farmscape

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