Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Bracke, M.B.M.; Hopster, H. (2006)
Languages: English
Types: Article
The concept of natural behavior is a key element in current Dutch policy-making on animal welfare. It emphasizes that animals need positive experiences, in addition to minimized suffering. This paper interprets the concept of natural behavior in the context of the scientific framework for welfare assessment. Natural behavior may be defined as behavior that animals have a tendency to exhibit under natural conditions, because these behaviors are pleasurable and promote biological functioning. Animal welfare is the quality of life as perceived by the animal. Animals have evolved cognitive-emotional systems (¿welfare needs¿) to deal with a variable environment. Animals do not only have so-called physiological needs such as the need for food, water, and thermal comfort. They also need to exercise certain natural behaviors such as rooting or nest-building in pigs, and scratching or dust-bathing in poultry. All needs must be taken into account in order to assess overall welfare. The degree of need satisfaction and frustration can be assessed from scientific information about the intensity, duration, and incidence of (welfare) performance criteria such as measurements of behavior and/or (patho)physiology. Positive welfare value relates to how animals are inclined to behave under natural conditions, in preference tests, and in consumer-demand studies. Negative welfare value relates to stress, frustration, abnormal behavior, aggression, and reduced fitness. Examples are given to illustrate how the need to perform natural behaviors can be assessed following the general principles for welfare assessment, providing a first approximation of how different natural behaviors affect animal welfare
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Anonymous (2001), ''Scientists' Assessment of the Impact of Housing and Management on Animal Welfare,'' Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 4, pp. 1- 52.
    • Bracke, M. B. M., K. H. de Greef, and H. Hopster (2005), ''Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis for the Development of Sustainable Monitorring Systems for Farm Animal Welfare,'' Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18(1), pp. 27-56.
    • Bracke, M. B. M., B. M. Spruijt, and J. H. M. Metz (1999a), ''Overall Welfare Assessment Reviewed. Part 1: Is it Possible?,'' Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 47, pp. 279-291.
    • Bracke, M. B. M., B. M. Spruijt, and J. H. M. Metz (1999b), ''Overall Animal Welfare Reviewed Part 3: Welfare Assessment Based on Needs and Supported by Expert Opinion,'' Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 47, pp. 307-322.
    • Bracke, M. B. M. (2001), Modelling of Animal Welfare: The Development of a Decision Support System to Assess the Welfare Status of Pregnant Sows, PhD dissertation, Wageningen.
    • Bracke, M. B. M., B. M. Spruijt, J. H. M. Metz, and W. G. P. Schouten (2002), ''Decision Support System for Overall Welfare Assessment in Pregnant Sows A: Model Structure and Weighting Procedure,'' Journal of Animal Science 8, pp. 1819-1834.
    • Brambell, R. W. R. (1965), Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Livestock Kept in der Intensive Husbandry Conditions, Cmnd 28, HMSO, London.
    • Breland, K. and M. Breland (1961), ''The Misbehavior of Organisms,'' American Journal of Psychology 16, pp. 681-684.
    • Dawkins, M. S. (1990), ''From an Animal's Point of View: Motivation, Fitness, and Animal Welfare,'' Behavior and Brain Science 13, pp. 1-61.
    • FAWC (Farm Animal Welfare Council) (1992), ''FAWC Updates the Five Freedoms,'' Veterinary Record 131, p. 357.
    • Fraser, D., D. M. Weary, E. A. Pajor, and B. N. Milligan (1997), ''A Scientific Conception of Animal Welfare that Reflects Ethical Concerns,'' Animal Welfare 6, pp. 187-205.
    • Fraser, D. and I. J. H. Duncan (1998), '''Pleasures', 'Pains' and Animal Welfare: Toward a Natural History of Affect,'' Animal Welfare 7, pp. 383-396.
    • Hopster, H., R. M. Bruckmaier, J. T. N. van der Werf, S. M. Korte, J. Macuhova, G. Korte-Bouws, and C. G. Reenen (2002), ''Stress Responses During Milking; Comparing Conventional and Automatic Milking in Primiparous Dairy Cows,'' Journal of Dairy Science 85, pp. 3206-3216.
    • Hughes, B. O. and I. J. H. Duncan (1988), ''The Notion of Ethological 'Need', Models of Motivation, and Animal Welfare,'' Animal Behaviour 36, pp. 1696- 1707.
    • Jensen, P. (1993), ''Nestbuilding in Domestic Sows: The Role of External Stimuli,'' Animal Behaviour 45, pp. 351-358.
    • Jensen, P. and F. M. Toates (1993), ''Who Needs Behavioural Needs - Motational Aspects of the Needs of Animals,'' Applied Animal Behaviour Science 37, pp. 161- 181.
    • De Jonge, F. H. and G. A. Goewie (2000), In het Belang van het Dier: Over het Welzijn van Dieren in de Veehouderij [In the interest of the Animal: About the Welfare of Animals in Livestock Production], The Hague: Rathenau Institute.
    • Lindqvist, C. and P. Jensen (2003), ''Contra Freeloading Decreases with Age and Social Isolation in Red Jungle Fowl and White Leghorn Layers,'' in V. Ferrante (ed.), Proceedings of the 37th International Congress of the ISAE, Fondazione Iniziative Zooprofilattiche e Zootecniche, Brescia, p. 159.
    • LNV (2002). Beleidsnota Dierenwelzijn, Maart 2002 (Animal Welfare Policy Memorandum, March 2002). The Hague: LNV.
    • McEwen, B. S. (2002), ''Sex, Stress and the Hippocampus: Allostasis, Allostatic Load and the Aging Process,'' Neurobiology of Aging 23, pp. 921-939.
    • Matthews, L. R. and J. Ladewig (1994), ''Environmental Requirements of Pigs Measured by Behavioural Demand Functions,'' Animal Behaviour 47, pp. 713- 719.
    • Ro¨ der, E. and R. van den Bos (2001), Passen en meten? Over soorteigen gedrag en dierenhuisvestingsbeleid bij productiedieren, proefdieren en plezierdieren [Fitting and Measuring About Species-Specific Behaviour and Policy Making on Housing for Livestock, Laboratory Animals and Pets], The Hague: NWO Ethiek & Beleid.
    • Rushen, J. (1991), ''Problems Associated with the Interpretation of Physiological Data in the Assessment of Animal Welfare,'' Applied Animal Behaviour Science 28, pp. 381-386.
    • Singh, D. (1970), ''Preference for Bar Pressing to Obtain Reward Over Freeloading in Rats and Children,'' Journal of Comparative Physiological Psychology 73, pp. 320-327.
    • Spruijt, B. M., R. Bos, and F. T. A. Pijlman (2001), ''A Concept of Welfare Based on Reward Evaluating Mechanisms in the Brain: Anticipatory Behaviour as an Indicator for the State of Reward Systems,'' Applied Animal Behaviour Science 72, pp. 145-171.
    • Stolba, A. and D. G. M. Wood-Gush (1989), ''The Behaviour of Pigs in a Seminatural Environment,'' Animal Production 48, pp. 419-425.
    • Toates, F. M. (1995), Stress: Conceptual and Biological Aspects, Chichester: Wiley.
    • Webster, J. (1995), Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye Towards Eden, Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Wiepkema, P. R. (1987), ''Behavioural Aspects of Stress,'' in P. R. Wiepkema and P. W. M. van Adrichem (eds.), Biology of Stress in Farm Animals: An Integrative Approach, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, pp. 113-133.
    • Wijffels (2001), Toekomst voor de veehouderij. Agenda voor een herontwerp van de sector [Future for Livestock Production. Agenda for a Redesign of the Sector], Report of the Commission Wijffels, The Hague.
    • Willeberg, P. (1991), ''Animal Welfare Studies: Epidemiological Considerations,'' Proceedings of the Society for Veterinary Epidemilogy and Preventive Medicine, London, pp. 76-82.
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Download from

Cite this article

Collected from