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«October 2009 SCIENTIFIC COORDINATOR Pierre Le Neindre, Senior research scientist, INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) ...»

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Animal pain

Identifying, understanding

and minimising pain in farm animals

Expertise scientifique collective (ESCo) INRA

INRA Expert scientific assessment (ESCo)

Summary of the expert report

October 2009


Pierre Le Neindre, Senior research scientist, INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research)


Claire Sabbagh, Multidisciplinary Scientific Assessment Unit (Unité Expertise Scientifique Collective), INRA


Helen CHIAPELLO and Claire SABBAGH, with contributions by Isabelle SAVINI


Pierre LE NEINDRE le-neindre@dbmail.com Claire SABBAGH claire.sabbagh@paris.inra.fr The multidisciplinary scientific assessment report, on which this summary is based, was written by the scientific experts without prior condition of approval by either the commissioning body or INRA. It is available online at the INRA site. This summary has been approved by the authors of the report.

The list of authors and contributors appears on the inside back cover.

This document should be referenced in the following manner:

Pierre Le Neindre, Raphaël Guatteo, Daniel Guémené, Jean-Luc Guichet, Karine Latouche, Christine Leterrier, Olivier Levionnois, Pierre Mormède, Armelle Prunier, Alain Serrie, Jacques Servière (editors), 2009.

AnimalPain: identifying, understanding and minimising pain in farm animals. Multidisciplinary scientific assessment, Summary of the expert report, INRA (France), 98 pages This document is a summary of study 09-03 funded by the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, under program 215, action 22. Responsibility for the contents of the report rests solely with the authors.

Expertise scientifique collective (ESCo) INRA INRA Expert scientific assessment (ESCo) Animal pain Identifying, understanding and minimising pain in farm animals Summary of the expert report Octobre 2009 Contents Foreword


1. The Question of animal pain: the issues for debate

1.1. The role of animals in traditional societies

1.2. The development of the modern view of animal pain

1.3. The current debate on animal pain

1.4. Summary

2. Pain: definitions, concepts and mechanisms in humans and farm animals

2.1. A growing scientific interest

2.2. Gradual widening of the scope of studies on pain in humans

2.3. Pain: mechanisms and structures involved

2.4. Transposing the concept of pain from humans to animals

2.5. Summary

3. How should pain in farm animals be assessed?

3.1. Measures based on tissue damage

3.2. Physiological responses

3.3. Behavioural responses

3.4. Criteria related to livestock productivity

3.5. Multi-parametric scales for assessing pain

3.6. Summary

4 Sources of known and/or potential pain in farm animals

4.1. Background to the different types of animal production and their regulation

4.2. Sources of known and potential pain associated with the practice and conduct of farming

4.3. Sources of known or potential pain associated with mutilations

4.4. Known or potential sources of pain associated with genetic selection

4.5. Known or potential sources of pain associated with slaughtering

4.6. Summary

5. Means of reducing pain in farm animals

5.1. General approach for reducing pain on farms

5.2. Alternative means for preventing or reducing pain in farm animals

5.3. "Soothe": Pharmacological treatment of pain

5.4. Summary

General conclusions

Research Priorities

Appendix: Methodology

Authors and editors of the multidisciplinary expertise

–  –  –

In modern society there is a growing awareness that animals may suffer pain. Pain in animals is perceived in a wide variety of contexts ranging from animal testing and experimentation, through mistreatment of pets and performing animals, such as in the circus, to the husbandry and treatment of farm animals destined for human consumption. This awareness has given rise to a rather difficult dialogue between animal rights activists who are against any animal exploitation, those who advocate improved living conditions for animals and the economic stakeholders who highlight the financial constraints that face them in their sector of activity.

There is thus a strain between the growing demand in the world for animal products and the social acceptability of the treatment of farm animals under modern farming systems. Over the second half of the 20th century, the capacity to supply markets was based largely on a concept of livestock farming which did not place animal pain at the forefront of its concerns. It was within this context that in 2008, at the initiative of the President of the French Republic, the Rencontres Animal-Société Animal-Society forum was held with the aim of providing a statement of the issues raised in the various domains of the relationship between man and animals. These meetings, which brought together members of the trade, scientists, politicians, government authorities and associations, progressively highlighted the need to come to agreement on the primary cause for debate: defining what constitutes pain and suffering in animals and what knowledge is available to clarify this issue? Hence the action plan emanating from the talks requested a multidisciplinary scientific assessment (ESCo) into animal pain. This request was addressed to INRA by the Ministers in charge of Agriculture and Research.

Expertise at INRA in support of public policy The mission of public research in providing expert reporting in support of public policy-making was reaffirmed by the law on research direction (2006). Providing scientific argument in support of political stance is now a necessity in international negotiations. However, the ever-increasing volume of scientific knowledge emanates from very diverse areas and is inaccessible in the raw state to policymakers. The ESCo activity developed at INRA since 2002 can be characterised as putting together and clarifying for public policy-making relevant findings produced in very diverse fields of knowledge.

A charter for the expert scientific assessment at INRA The expert analyses were guided by a charter outlining the principles of practice to follow in order to ensure the robustness of the assessment produced. The charter set out four principles of conduct: competence, diversity, impartiality and transparency. The principle of competence was manifested by the INRA institute only undertaking to report on issues that fall within its field of expertise, the scientific legitimacy of which is assured by strong anchoring in long-term research. This principle of competence was equally applied to the experts who were deemed to be aptly qualified on the basis of their scientific publications and also by their adherence to process quality in conducting the assessment. Plurality was taken as a multidisciplinary approach to the issues raised and dealt with from the perspectives of both the life sciences and human and social sciences. The plurality was also reflected in the diversity of institutional origin of the experts, since INRA called on outside assistance to complement the range of expertise available internally. By ensuring plurality in research domains and disciplinary perspectives the intention was to stimulate debate and favour discussion on controversial issues thereby enhancing critical analysis. The principle of impartiality was safeguarded by the multiplicity of points of view presented and by requiring each expert to declare any links held with stakeholders or groups with vested interests.

Finally, transparency is guaranteed by the publication of the summary and work documents which are freely available to all.

Expertise scientifique collective "Douleurs animales" 3 Definition and functioning of the ESCo The task assigned to an ESCo is to establish an inventory of academic scientific knowledge from which components are extracted and assembled to address matters raised by the commissioning body. The directives given to INRA were outlined in the terms of reference, decided upon after back and forth consultation between the Ministries of Agriculture and Research as commissioners and the group of experts, who fixed the content and scope of the expert assessment. A monitoring committee, convened on the initiative of the commissioning body, provided an interface between the experts and oversaw smooth running of the inquiry. The experts were required to sign the report and are responsible for their contribution. INRA undertook responsibility for the conditions under which the expert inquiry proceeded: the quality of the literature research for updating bibliographic sources, transparency of discussions between experts, providing leadership for the work group and writing of ESCo reports in a form that reconciled scientific rigour with intelligibility to a wide audience.

Prior to this present assessment, five collective expert scientific assessments (ESCo) have been conducted on a wide and complex range of topics concerning food and the environment: "Storage of carbon in agricultural soils in France", "Pesticides, agriculture and the environment”, "Drought and agriculture", "The consumption of fruit and vegetables” and “Agriculture and Biodiversity”. The present study is the first in the field of animal production.

Animal Pain: A Central Issue for INRA INRA has been actively developing research programs on animal welfare for several years now. In 1998 INRA created the network Agri Animal Welfare (AgriBea), which now draws together a hundred research scientists from various research organisations, and conducts transversal leadership and support activities in this domain of research. INRA has not only been heavily implicated in work on the effects of rearing conditions on the welfare of animals, but as a research institute it is also involved in animal experimentation. The breadth of research conducted in this area is considerable, ranging from fundamental aspects to the techno-economic dimension, without forgetting reflection on ethical issues.

The information brought together in this expert report is destined to provide elucidation for public decision making, and beyond that, to bring a broad frame of reference to the debate on which positions and decisions can be argued and research needs identified so as to better respond to the questions raised.

4 Expertise scientifique collective "Douleurs animales"Introduction

The conclusions of the Animal-Society forum pointed out a profound renewal of man-animal relationships over recent decades, attributable to changes in lifestyles in our societies. Among the factors inducing change, urbanization has played an important role in stretching the traditional link with farm animals to replace it with pets, which now often serve as the frame of reference for animal status. Other factors include changes in modern rearing methods which have changed the status of animals. Finally, and more recently, are the questions raised by animal experimentation. Animals are perceived differently according to the purpose for which they are raised, whether they be pets, livestock, farm animals or laboratory animals, and for each category there are models and specific norms dictating the degree of protection they are to be afforded.

The request for an expert scientific assessment The French Ministries of Agriculture and Research issued a request for an expert scientific group assessment (ESCo) of the perception of pain by animals, particularly at the time of slaughter. The first questions to be addressed concerned the definition of animal pain in comparison with related concepts such as animal suffering and discomfort, and the clarification of the modes of expression of pain. Are all animals likely to feel pain and in what manner according to their phylogenetic position? The second question concerned the measurement of pain.

What tools exist to identify and measure pain, and are they readily available to the experts? The consequences of pain on behaviour and performance of the animal were also to be documented. The group of experts was also required to report a list of alternatives and possible solutions to limit pain. Finally, they were requested to put the ethical and socio-economic stakes connected with the issue of animal pain into perspective.

The scope of the expert assessment The conceptual framework for this expert report was defined as a position of acceptance of the legitimacy of livestock farming and its end purposes. Hence the assessment excluded extreme positions, consisting of the categorical refusal of the use of domestic animals for the benefit of man on one hand, and the total denial of animal pain on the other.

The scope of the assessment was limited to the component "pain" which constitutes a specific scientific question, while still being inter-connected to other aspects of animal welfare. The causes and management of pain in farm animals were required to be examined within the context of current animal rearing systems. The notion of pain at the heart of current debates is often poorly defined. The objectives of the expert report requested from INRA were to bring this public controversy up to date on the state of knowledge about pain in animals.

The generic part of the ESCo inquiry on the mechanisms and expression of pain, based on knowledge acquired in humans and in laboratory animals, may find applications to animals in general. However, the expert report is focused on pain in farm animals, in connection with intensive rearing practices, but excluding animals reared for their fur. The choice to focus on pain in farm animals reveals a widening of a preoccupation that was long the exclusive concern of the agricultural circle. This issue relates to today’s societal debates on the quality and affordability of food, the modes of food production and the ethical considerations on food consumption. This is especially the case when the food is derived from animals as living and sentient beings.

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