Assessing animal welfare through facial expressions


Dr Descovich is an animal scientist working at the interface between welfare, behaviour, management and zoology. She is currently a Research Fellow in UQ’s School of Veterinary Science working within the Animal Welfare Standards Project, a large international collaboration between Australia and China that aims to improve livestock management and welfare. Kris has a broad range of professional industry experience, having worked within zoos, veterinary clinics, and animal shelters. Dr Descovich’s research is diverse and encompasses a range of topics in animal welfare science including captive wildlife management, pain identification in animals, novel welfare methods, and applied animal ethology.

Facial expressions in animals can offer us insight into their intentions, motivations, and emotional states. This talk details the main methods for measuring facial expressions in animals, outlines when the use of facial expressions might be useful in animal management, and highlights some challenges and limitations to watch out for.