Animal welfare is receiving increased attention in society. Many benefits are seen in high animal welfare standards. However, perceptions towards animal welfare and some practices vary greatly depending on the professional group (farmer, veterinarian or the general public). Attitudes toward animal handling are always based in part on the use, husbandry, value of the animals, and experiences of the person handling the animals. Providing information is often the modus operandi to bring about change. Therefore, education is a high priority in the animal welfare issue. But what should this training look like in the optimal case?
In China, a country where a lot of meat is produced but the concept of animal welfare is still in its infancy, two different approaches for "train the trainer" in the area of slaughterhouse and transport were compared. Here, the future trainers were either provided with training material online (via email) or they were specifically taught in a classroom. After this training, they themselves became active as trainers at their site. Participants in each of these trainings were interviewed before and after the training. After the training, only the participants whose trainers were trained in the classroom had more confidence in being able to improve the welfare of the animals in their care than before and also scored higher on the knowledge test. However, the region the students came from, their education level, and gender also had an impact on training outcomes. So, this study makes a clear case for on-site training.
In Australia / at the University of Sydney, a series of video clips were created and shown to veterinary and animal science students. This was to provide insight into the effectiveness of online audiovisual material in supporting the acquisition of animal handling skills. The effectiveness of these modules in supporting student learning was assessed via an online survey. The survey found that students found the videos to be a useful part of their learning experience, particularly because they were familiarized with proper handling procedures and the importance of safety when handling animals was emphasized. Students also emphasized that the online delivery supported flexible learning. Feedback from students on how the faculty could better prepare them to handle farm animals focused on the desire for more opportunities to practice animal handling on live animals. The audio-visual animal handling tool was seen as a valuable additional tool, but students clearly felt that more hands-on experience was needed to acquire animal handling skills.
One Opportunity for face-to-face training in animal welfare: Low Stress Stockmenship with Ronald Rongen
Also, animal behavior and welfare was offered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on course as a free introductory course in animal welfare. Participants came from Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania, South America, and Africa. Course data analysis and pre- and post-course surveys were used to determine, among other things, participants' experiences and changes in their attitudes and knowledge. Overall, learners agreed that the course was enjoyable and informative were almost unanimous (97.9%) in their opinion that the course was a good use of their time.
At the university of Sydney, a field trip was used to teach the one health concept and the feedback of the students was overwhelmingly positive. All these studies show the importance of knowledge transfer in the field of animal welfare. Such a complex topic is best communicated face to face.
Conclusion: for training in animal health and welfare, many preliminary considerations are important, because the target group must be analyzed precisely (education, gender, but also language)
- Online training may be less expensive to implement than on-site training or even a field trip. But if better results can be achieved with classroom training, it may be preferable. Due to the growing interest of society in animal welfare, the costs can possibly be recovered through labeling or similar.
- Training is animal welfare as we already wrote in another RI, this ist only about the best way.
- Descovich; k. et al. (2019): The Effect of AnimalWelfare Training on the Knowledge and Attitudes of Abattoir Stakeholders in China. Animals 2019, 9, 989 https://mdpi-res.com/d_attachment/animals/animals-09-00989/article_deploy/animals-09-00989.pdf?version=1574070830
- Klupiec, C. et al. (2014): Development and evaluation of online video teaching resources to enhance student knowledge of livestock handling. Australian Veterinary Journal Volume 92, No 7 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1111/avj.12195?download=true
- MacKay, J.R.D.; Langford, F. and Waran, N. (2016): Massive Open Online Courses as a Tool for Global Animal Welfare Education. J Vet Med Educ 2016 Fall;43(3):287-301. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26751911/
- Mor, S.M. et al. (2018): One health in our backyard: Design and evaluation of an experiential learning experience for veterinary medical students. One Health. Volume 5, June 2018, Pages 57-64. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352771418300119?via%3Dihub