The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG) is an online software designed to assess and monitor the welfare and cumulative lifetime experience of animals. The AWAG tool encompasses the five welfare needs across these four parameters below:
- Physical: assesses an animal’s clinical health including factors such as body condition, illness and injury.
- Behavioural/Psychological: assesses an animal’s mental wellbeing and includes factors such as response to stressors and how often these are encountered.
- Environmental: assesses the animal’s environment and does it facilitate enrichment provision, opportunities to interact with others, choice and comfort.
- Procedural: assesses how the animal responds to clinical and husbandry events, and includes factors such as handling, change in routine, and pain of the procedure.
The AWAG is unique in that is considers the lifetime experience of the individual animal, and the ‘cumulative suffering’ that can have an impact on quality of life.
The AWAG is currently available for users to assess:
Captive wild animals (zoo species)
The tool provides a mean score for each parameter and also a cumulative welfare score (CWAS), and this is tracked over time. This allows the user to be able to quantify welfare and assess if treatment or management procedures have been successful. You can also drill down to see which factors are positively or negatively affecting welfare to make interventions.
The AWAG creates a variety of visuals displaying the different scores over time. This is extremely useful to easily visualise how an animals welfare has improved or worsened.
The tool can be used by anyone who is assessing animal welfare – vets, vet nurses, researchers, technicians, animal carers etc.