CAWS Research

Where compassion for animals meets practical, scientific solutions.

Center Research Areas

  • Food animal well-being

  • Non-food animal well-being (e.g., lab, companion, wildlife animal)

  • Public interest/social/ethical economic issues relative to animal welfare

  • Interface between human-animal bond and animal welfare

Susan Eicher's research on calf grouping

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Current Projects

The Center for Animal Welfare Science works with faculty to provide seed funding to develop research projects across a wide range of animal welfare science issues. The following are examples of projects recently funded by the Center.


CAWS RFP AWARDEES

2017

Improving Mouse Welfare by Identifying Agression Reducing Pheromones

Brianna Gaskill

Aggression is the second most common reason for veterinary clinical care in laboratory mice and can lead to severe injury and death. While only accounting for 15% of cases, the potential for injury and suffering affects millions of mice every year. Peaceful groups of male mice are observed in the wild and in the lab, but the factors that differ between these groups and aggressive groups are unknown. There is a critical need to identify compound(s) that reduce aggression related injury and improve mouse welfare.

Faculty leads: Brianna Gaskill, Heng-Wei Chang, Jeffrey Lucas, Marisa Erasmus

The Role and Locus of Control on the Welfare of Working Horses in Central and Latin American Communities

Colleen Brady

Working equids are a vital source of labor in developing regions. Although much research has been conducted on the physical welfare status in this population of animals, little has investigated the human behavior component of this issue. This research team seeks to better understand how mindset and locus of control may be related to the physical welfare status of working equids. 

Faculty leads: Colleen Brady, Camie Heleski, Linda Pfieffer, Lauren Brizgys

Brady project

2016

Understanding Consumer Perceptions of Dairy Cattle Welfare

Nichole Widmar

This interdisciplinary team seeks to measure consumer preferences for dairy cattle production practices and treatment.  Practices of specific interest for this analysis will include dairy cattle tail docking and calf dehorning procedures.   Choice experiments will be utilized to facilitate measurement of consumer willingness to pay for various dairy cattle management practices.  Consumers’ willingness to pay across various consumer groups and household demographics will be studied to increase understanding of consumer demands and desires for the management of dairy cattle.

Faculty leads: Nicole Widmar, Christopher Wolf, Jonathan Townsend

Analysis of sound and activity levels as non-invasive measures of turkey well-being

Turkeys

The objective assessment of animal welfare and detection of animals that are unwell are challenging in commercial turkey flocks where thousands of turkeys are housed together.  Animal behavior changes in response to stressors and disease, but once behavioral changes are detected, animal welfare has already been affected.  The use of acoustic technology and accelerometers to detect changes in vocal signals and activity levels, respectively, has the potential to provide a rapid, objective, non-invasive method for early detection of risks to animal welfare. The objectives of this research are to evaluate 1) Analysis of turkey vocalizations for detecting and distinguishing between heat stress and immune challenge 2) The use of vocal signal and activity level analyses as early indicators of heat stress and immune challenge in turkeys. Results may provide a means for identifying and detecting changes in turkey welfare status, and for distinguishing between healthy and unwell turkeys. 

Faculty leads: Jiqin Ni, Marisa Erasmus

Effect of Probiotics on Social Stress-Associated Injurious Pecking Behavior in Laying Hens

Marisa Erasmus

Injurious pecking including aggression, feather pecking and cannibalism, which is an eminent cause of mortality, occurs in all egg production systems. Beak trimming is a common practice to reduce injurious pecking in poultry. However, beak trimming causes tissue damage, exposing billions of hens to pain. We hypothesize that feeding hens with the probiotic Bacillus subtilis is an alternative method to prevent injurious pecking behavior.The objectives of this project are to determine if dietary supplementation of a probiotic, sporulin, will:

  1. Inhibit social stress-associated injurious pecking
  2. Reduces social stress-associated mortality and increases egg production
  3. Alleviates acute and chronic physiological stress levels by regulating the serotonergic system.

The overall goal is to develop methods for preventing injurious pecking in hens and improving livability and egg production. This project is relevant to the CAWS goal of “developing novel approaches…for addressing key challenges that affect agricultural animal welfare.

Faculty leadsMarisa Erasmus, Heng-wei Cheng

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CAWS Travel Fellowship Abstracts

2017

2016

2015

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Membership

Interested in becoming a member of the Center for Animal Welfare Science?

Contact Us

Contact the Center for Animal Welfare Science

Director: Dr. Candace Croney
Email: ccroney@purdue.edu
Phone: 765-496-6665

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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