The science of animal welfare, now ~40 years old, developed from ethology, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, pharmacology, genetics, immunology, nutrition, cognitive-neuroscience and veterinary epidemiology, and incorporated established knowledge and practical understanding from these fields. These foundational ideas evolved into our current understanding that animal welfare is a state within an animal, being the net outcome of all internally and externally derived emotional or affective experiences the animal may have at any one time.
This issue of the Review, suggested by the OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare Science and Bioethical Analysis, outlines contemporary thinking about factors that promote or jeopardise the productivity, health and welfare of the wide range of animals used for human purposes. It also considers likely future developments in animal welfare thinking and management and, where possible, references influences of the diverse practical, economic, political, socio-cultural and religious factors that may be encountered globally in various cultural contexts.