Read the new “Taking care of animal well-being” article on the Pop’Sciences website

On The January 6, 2022

© Angel Luciano_Unsplash
© Angel Luciano_Unsplash

For its article series on animal well-being, Pop’Sciences met with scientists from different disciplines involved in animal welfare research in Lyon and Saint-Étienne. Eight articles are available on the Pop’Sciences website, in a free and open format.

Entering 2022 with the best of intentions! From this year onwards, male chick culling and castrating piglets without the use of anesthesia are both prohibited. The co-president of the animal rights party is running for president in April 2022, which shows how important animal well-being is in today’s society.

Concern for animal well-being has a long history. The term first appeared around 1830 in the writings of Louis Furcy Grognier, a professor at the veterinary school in Lyon. While hiking through the local mountains, this animal care specialist witnessed farmers’ new practices of forcing their cows to become dairy cows. After years of being overlooked, animal well-being came back to the forefront in the 1960s, with the increase in industrial meat production.

Read the complete Pop’Sciences article series

In this Pop’Sciences article series:

“From sheep to fish, how can we tell what an animal is feeling?”
Exploring the emotions of an animal to define its state of well-being, or ill-being, requires putting aside our reflexes and, in particular, the tendency to compare them to human emotions.

“Animal welfare, a societal construct”
Since the 19th century, the issue of animal welfare has emerged as part of a wider trend of societal concern. An animal should have the same rights as a person, and it is up to us to defend these rights.

“The five animal freedoms”
Animal welfare is not an issue when the animal is free and in the wild. But when they are held in captivity, or even kept as pets, it is a completely different story.

“The clear discomfort of animals in captivity”
The unhappiness of animals in captivity can be seen in abnormal, so-called stereotyped behavior. Understanding this behavior and attempting to remedy it is the subject of much veterinary research, mainly in zoos.

“How the goat feels”
In order to assess an animal’s emotional state, researchers study whether the animal uses a judgment bias when making decisions. This allows us to measure the resilience of goats after they have been abused.

“Getting in tune with horses' emotions”
The noises animals make indicate their state of well-being. Experiments conducted with horses suggest that equines experience emotional contagion, even empathy.

“From scapegoat to animals as “people”. The way we look at animals is changing, and so are zoos”
A unique look into the Zoo de Lyon, located within the Parc de la Tête d’Or in the heart of Lyon. It is about going back to the history of these institutions that specialize in animal shows and that have been able to adapt to the evolution of society, whether they like it or not.

“Considering animal welfare in farming practices”
Our intensive meat production model has long ignored the feelings of animals. The industry is now forced to adapt under growing pressure from civil society.

Click here to find out more about the researchers and other contributors involved in this article series