In January 2024, sub working group 1.1 on ‘Setting things apart: Distinction and connection between positive animal welfare, positive affective states and animal welfare’ met in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was hosted by prof Jean-Loup Rault, head of the department of Animal Welfare Science at the Veterinary University of Vienna, Austria, and leader of working group 1. The aim of the meeting was to come to a common understanding of the term positive animal welfare (PAW).
Animal welfare in itself has several definitions due to the various views that people hold about the concept. This made it extra challenging to come to an agreement on how positive animal welfare can be defined. The team set to take on this task consisted of an impressive group of researchers, of which many have been instrumental in the development of animal welfare as a scientific discipline. While not everyone may agree with the definition, it has to be considered that the definition may evolve over time as our understanding of positive animal welfare increases. For now, an important milestone has been reached, by providing a foundation on which the other working groups can continue their work on the topic.