Latest Research News & Resources

Latest highlights from on-going research projects investigating different aspects of positive animal welfare and further resources featuring talks, publications and interviews.

New QBA resources on the QBA project page.

New poster presentation from the Rat Tickling project. New talks on QBA and PAW in the Resources pages.

New results from the iPAW project on stakeholder views of PAW concepts.

LIFT logo of farm animals


Lifting farm animal lives

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Pig playing with straw

Here you will find an introduction to the science that underpins PAW including links to some key references. The site also includes summaries of selected PAW research projects. Currently we have featured our own research on environmental enrichment in farm animals and rat tickling to improve welfare of laboratory rats. We also provide an introduction to Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) which is one approach to assessing PAW in a range of species and contexts.

We will update the site with new content as it becomes available including other research on PAW.

Lambs playing

What is positive animal welfare?

Positive animal welfare (PAW) is a relatively recent idea that emphasises the welfare benefits of giving animals opportunities for positive experiences on a regular basis.

PAW is often seen as a response to there being too much focus on negative aspects of animal welfare.

PAW seems intuitively sensible and straightforward and yet a closer look reveals that it is a rather complex mixture of different ideas.

Important to the development of PAW is the growing scientific acceptance that animals can experience positive emotions.

It maybe that the increasing focus on positive emotions in animals was the primary cause for PAW emerging. However, we also need to consider how positive experiences for animals are generated. An important idea here is that animals can experience positive emotions by being able to express their motivations for species-typical or normal behaviour.

PAW also links to ideas that have come from studies of human well-being such as Quality of Life and Happiness. It has been proposed that a balance of positive rather than negative experiences over the long-term defines a good Quality of Life for animals.

Happiness in animals has a number of similarities to Quality of Life; how positive animals feel over time is one suggestion of what makes animals Happy.