The role of animal welfare in improving the future of farming

Rebecca Doyle, Angus J. D. Campbell, Michel Dione, Madeleine Woodruff, Carolina Munoz, Gezahegn Alemayehu, Tsega Berhe, Theodore J. D. Knight-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Animal production plays a critical role in many global challenges around sustainability, including climate change and resilience, One Health and food security. With this role comes pressures on livestock welfare. Aims: This paper demonstrates key contributions animal welfare makes to global sustainability challenges. Methods: This paper highlights 'win-win' improvements for both animal welfare and other aspects of sustainability by using the following four case studies: tail docking Australian sheep, agroforestry systems in Ethiopia, the Australian dairy-beef industry, and strategic feeding of goats in Pakistan. Key results: These case studies show how animal welfare can be improved alongside livelihoods. However, even in these win-win situations, the adoption of improved practices is not guaranteed. Conclusions: Long-term, sustained change in animal welfare can simultaneously make in roads to other challenges around sustainability. To do this, we must have a broader understanding of the system in which the animals are raised, so that barriers to change can be identified. Implications: Lessons from these case studies can be applied to other production contexts and challenges, highlighting the universal value of understanding and addressing animal welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-943
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number11
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2022


  • Affective state
  • Agroforestry
  • Dairy
  • Goat
  • Sheep
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Sustainable intensification


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