Animal behaviour and, as a result, animal welfare are increasingly complex areas of study, with the diversity of the animal kingdom and new research findings ensuring there is no one, easy answer. Instead, we need to take a holistic approach, combining scientific principles with both philosophical and ethical considerations to develop all-inclusive policies and legislation that decide how society should interact with domestic, farm and native animals.
With a focus on domestic animals, while also referring to wild species to reinforce the arguments, this book:
- promotes direct observation for those who claim to be interested in animals, their behaviour, and their welfare.
- considers the concept of consciousness, how it can be assessed, and how it relates to suffering and animal welfare more widely.
- emphasizes the need to understand better how animals behave both with humans and outside of human influence, considering the diversity of behaviour and sensorial capacities across species.
- includes author knowledge and expertise across a wide range of animal species, from primates to farm animals, and across animal living situations from intensive to free ranging.
We are far from having all the answers, so this book also raises questions that require further research and focus, such as the way animals are likely to act based on their recent and whole-of-life experiences. Still, this review of the topic, an updated translation of the French language work Vivre parmi les Animaux, Mieux les Comprendre, is an invaluable resource for everyone with an interest in animal behaviour and welfare.
Pierre Le Neindre is a retired scientist from INRA, France. He worked in the field on sheep and cattle in many environments ranging from very intensive such as veal calves in cages, to extensive such as beef cattle in the hills of France. He worked widely with sheep in France and Australia, mostly under extensive conditions. He also worked on experiments into the onset of maternal behaviour and on the importance of endocrinology. He led a team studying the ethics of animal husbandry and the biology of pain, suffering and consciousness. His team worked on basic academic studies as well as contract research for both the European and French ministries.
Bertrand Deputte’s main research is on the social behaviour of captive primates, their visual and vocal communication, development of social behaviour and social perception. Formerly he was the Honorary Director of Research at the CNRS / Honorary Professor of Ethology at the French National Veterinary Schools at Alfort (ENVA), where he also taught ethology and directed research on perception and social behaviours in cattle and dogs.