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Livestock Welfare

AHA’s role in the animal welfare continuum is contained to issues that may impact on animal production, trade and market access and community social licence[1]. AHA plays an important role in supporting the livestock industries and governments to take a strategic approach to livestock welfare management. AHA provides leadership through collaboration and coordination to facilitate solutions for livestock welfare issues and contributes to the development and communications of livestock welfare policy initiatives on behalf of our members.

Find out more about AHA’s role in livestock welfare through this fact sheet.

Five Domains Model of animal welfare

The below Five Domains model infographic is a visual aid designed to help people conceptualise some experiences an animal may have, both positive and negative, that contribute to the animal’s welfare state.

Five welfare domains (pdf - 645 KB)


Mellor DJ (2017) Operational details of the Five Domains Models and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 7(8):60. doi:10.3390/ani7080060

Mellor DJ & Beausoleil NJ (2015) Extending the ‘Five Domains’ model for animal welfare assessment to incorporate positive welfare states. Animal Welfare 24:241–253. doi: 10.7120/09627286.24.3.241.

Definition of the animal welfare

Animal welfare, animal liberation and animal rights are not synonymous terms. Animal liberation and animal rights represent a wide diversity of philosophical views and personal values.

Animal Heath Australia accepts the agreed international definition of animal welfare from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):

Animal welfare means the physical and mental state of an animal in relation to the conditions in which it lives and dies. An animal experiences good welfare if the animal is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear and distress, and is able to express behaviours that are important for its physical and mental state. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and appropriate veterinary care, shelter, management and nutrition, a stimulating and safe environment, humane handling and humane slaughter or killing. While animal welfare refers to the state of the animal, the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.

Related links


[1] A social licence to operate is the community’s tacit consent for a business or project to exist.

Page reviewed: 19/06/2020