Welfare study using the AWAG to Measure Quality of Life of Breeding macaques
AWF Research Fund
Area of study
The aim of this study was to use a novel animal welfare assessment software, called the Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG), to track the welfare of eight individual Rhesus macaques at the Centre for Macaques (CFM), Salisbury. This research project focused on the effects of introducing novel enrichments to the welfare of the macaques.
There was no clear correlation between the enrichment provided and the AWAG score, which may have been due to the inconstant external variables that were outside of the researcher’s control (for example feeding time, number of staff present). The macaques did show play behaviours towards novel enrichments, a positive step forward in our understanding of what enrichment works for these animals. The AWAG did show a clear representation of welfare; it could clearly highlight a correlation between negative events and poor welfare scores.
More use and evaluation of the AWAG software is necessary to allow this tool to grow and be used effectively as a tool for monitoring welfare. It is necessary to test the uses of this software in various situations, for example when animals are under stress, and when consistent enrichment is introduced. In the future, the AWAG has the potential to be used among all animal sectors, to be fully configurable and to offer a universal welfare assessment tool which can allow for quantitative, measurable and cumulative welfare assessments for all animal owners.