Identification by stakeholders of major welfare issues for captive elephant husbandry by stakeholders

Gurusamy, V., Tribe, A. and Phillips, C. J. C. (2014) Identification by stakeholders of major welfare issues for captive elephant husbandry by stakeholders. Animal Welfare, 23 1: 11-24. doi:10.7120/09627286.23.1.011

Author Gurusamy, V.
Tribe, A.
Phillips, C. J. C.
Title Identification by stakeholders of major welfare issues for captive elephant husbandry by stakeholders
Journal name Animal Welfare   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-7286
Publication date 2014-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.7120/09627286.23.1.011
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Start page 11
End page 24
Total pages 14
Place of publication Wheathampstead, St Albans, Herts, United Kingdom
Publisher Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Accurate identification of key welfare issues for captive elephants could improve standards and help in the development of a welfare index. In the absence of adequate scientific information on the relative importance of key issues, the views of a range of stakeholders were sought using adaptive conjoint analysis. Fifteen key welfare issues were identified by experts, and three to six Levels of each, representing common husbandry practices. In order of declining importance, 224 stakeholders rated the issues as enclosure substrate > group size > healthcare > enrichment > chaining > enclosure type > exercise provision > enclosure size > interaction with keeper > enclosure environment > keeper knowledge/experience > diet > contact method with keeper > display duration > enclosure security. Enclosure size was considered more important by scientists and keepers than zoo directors/managers and animal welfare organisation representatives. Animal welfare organisation representatives rated enclosure security higher than scientists. Keeper husbandry methods and ability of elephants to be active were two principal components in responses. Three principal groups of respondents were identified: scientists/veterinarians focusing more on conditions for the elephants and less on interaction with the public; keepers, focusing on keeper contact method, feeding and knowledge of elephants; and a group with mainly animal welfare organisation representatives/zoo directors focusing on enclosure security. It is concluded that there are some differences between stakeholders in their recognition of the most important welfare issues for elephants in zoos. However, recognising that a diversity of informed opinion is necessary to adequately devise welfare standards, an index of elephant welfare in zoos is proposed, based on the relative merits of different husbandry practices and the importance of the different issues.
Keyword Animal welfare
Welfare index
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 04 Mar 2014, 01:45:13 EST by Annette Winter on behalf of Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics