Animal welfare

The relationship between climate and animals influences animal welfare. The welfare of an individual is their status in relation to their attempts to adapt to their environment (Broom 1991). The quality of the environment and climate that surrounds the animal will directly influence their ability to maintain levels of welfare and thereby also whether they achieve optimal production. When an animal does not have the necessary resources to prevent thermal stress, there will be disruption in homeostasis, which may cause a state of stress, resulting in physiological problems of growth, reproductivity, immunological function, and in extreme cases even death (Henry 1992). One way to define animal welfare is to verify the biological functioning of the animal, to ensure that the animal can keep their bodily functions in balance, are able to grow and reproduce normally, are free from diseases and injuries, and that they present no signs of bad nutrition or abnormal behaviours and physiological responses. Welfare can also be assessed by physiological and behavioural characteristics, with physiological characteristics between species usually compared by allometric scaling. The respiratory rate, heart rate and rectal temperature are the main physiological measures assessed in quantifying the welfare of animals under unfavourable thermal environmental conditions.

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