Who we are
The Institute of Animal Welfare Science focuses on the welfare of animals kept by humans, primarily farm and companion animals. The ITT aims to safeguard and improve animal welfare by creating and disseminating scientific knowledge. Our research spans from basic research with novel ideas to applied research with science-based improvements in practice. The group has strong research expertise in ethology (the scientific study of animal behaviour), veterinary health, physiology and neuroscience.
Our definition of animal welfare
Conceptually, animal welfare refers to an internal state of the animal, specifically the way an animal experiences its environment and feels as a result. Animal welfare includes both psychological and physical health and it is a multi-dimensional concept characterised by transient states and assessed at the individual level. Operationally, animal welfare can be assessed through indicators from various scientific disciplines, including ethology (animal behaviour), physiology, health and neuroscience. Good welfare goes beyond the absence of suffering and encompasses positive experiences and states.
Our mission is to safeguard and improve animal welfare by creating and disseminating scientific knowledge to encourage implementation and improvement in practice. We have a dual focus on basic and applied research, from novel ideas to science-based improvements in practice. The scope is the welfare of domestic animals, primarily farm and companion animals, and other animals kept by humans.
Research in animal welfare science provides the basis to improve animal welfare in practice while addressing societal concerns. This ensures relevant and impactful research leading to change, for the benefits of animals. These goals are achieved through consultation with stakeholders, use of inter-disciplinary research approaches, and dissemination of the research outcomes to the scientific community, policy makers, targeted users and society at large through effective communication.
The ITT raison d’être
Scientific information provides one of the components that can assist in promoting animal welfare, alongside education and animal protection legislation, in order to fulfil the ethical responsibility of humans toward animals under their care. The ITT is a service provider operating for the common good, helping to protect the interests of animals through scientific research, dissemination of scientific knowledge and teaching. With this purpose in mind, work at the ITT is driven by commonly shared intentions for integrity, objectivity and scientifically rigorous research of the highest quality.
The ITT is composed of 7 permanent scientists who conduct research, teaching and extension activities, and a staff of approximately 25 persons in total.