Animal State of Being
Business management experts for the past 50 years have built theories (and consulting practices) atop variations on this theme: what can be measured, can be managed. Yet, over the same time period, producers, processors and retailers have paid relatively little attention to the measurement of animal state of being -- even as consumer and regulatory interest in animal welfare has increased.
We support continuous improvement in animal husbandry, and endorse the “Performance Axiom” proposed by Dr. Stanley Curtis, which states:
For a constitutionally fit animal of any kind, in the continuing absence of an adequate scientifically informed understanding of its conscious feelings, the best single set of measurable—hence, manageable—indicators of that animal’s state of being will be its rates of productive and reproductive performance relative to its predicted potential to perform. Feed-conversion efficiency, inter-individual variation in performance, body condition index, and rates of culling, morbidity, and mortality also will provide valuable information on animal state of being.
Reference: Curtis, Stanley E. Commentary: Performance indicates animal state of being: A Cinderella axiom? Professional Animal Scientist. 2007; 23:573-583