March 01, 2016

Revised animal well-being policy statement available

ASAS Anmals small

February 29, 2016 – An ASAS policy statement that discusses farm animal well-being has been updated. It joins a list of several other policy statements updated by members of the ASAS Public Policy Committee. For your convenience, a copy of the policy statement is provided here. Access all of the updated ASAS Public Policy statements here.

Farm Animal Well-Being: Management Practices to Promote High Quality Animal Well-Being Standards


Scientists and animal producers have an ethical obligation to provide environments for farm animals that promote high quality animal well-being. Determination of the animal’s well-being is only gained through understanding the science of farm animal needs. Production of safe and high-quality animal-sourced food and fiber in a sustainable manner is essential for consumers as well as livestock and poultry producers. It is in the best interest of animal industries to use current, science-based standards to provide the best possible animal care.

  • Animal scientists conduct research to establish and refine management practices for optimal care, handling, housing, nutrition, health, and husbandry practices of farm animals.
  • A compilation of the scientific literature directed at appropriate farm animal care at universities, government laboratories, and research companies can be found in the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, commonly known as the Ag Guide. The Ag Guide provides up-to-date information on science-based farm animal care in agricultural and biomedical teaching and research. Although other guides are available, the Ag Guide is the most comprehensive, current, science-based document authored by dozens of professional animal scientists and peer reviewed by knowledgeable individuals.
  • ASAS encourages those involved in commercial animal agriculture and management of teaching and research programs to use science-based criteria to develop and refine guidelines for farm animal care.
  • Companies in the food marketing chain are encouraged to incorporate science-based animal care standards as they implement animal care programs in their organizations.
  • Changes in farm animal care management practices need to be considered in the context of impacts on the environment, food safety, societal views, and the animal itself. Understanding and considering societal animal well-being concerns will lead to more sustainable production systems.

Continued improvements in management practices which ensure animal well-being are a necessary part of sustainably satisfying the increasing world demand for animal-sourced food and fiber. The public has a legitimate interest in the potential environmental, food safety, and animal well-being implications of livestock and poultry production. The animal science community must faithfully and objectively examine those implications in a scientifically rigorous fashion—investigating, teaching, and implementing those practices and technologies found to accommodate high well-being of the animal and production efficiency.


Policy Statement:

ASAS encourages the use of management practices and technologies that have been developed through scientific investigations and have been shown to promote high quality standards of animal well-being.

Policy Objectives:

  • Support the use of science-based practices as described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching and/or other science-based standards that promote high standards of animal care and animal well-being for farm animals in all settings.
  • Support the use of science-based practices that promote high animal well-being in laboratory animals in research and teaching settings.
  • Support the use of standardized and sustainable guidelines for farm animal care at universities, government laboratories, and industry research facilities.

Revised February 2016