University of Otago TV Set

Use of Infrared Thermography for Non-Invasive Assessment of Animal Welfare

Mairi Stewart

The development of a non-invasive tool to measure stress and pain in animals has significant applications in assuring the welfare standards of the New Zealand agricultural industry and boosting the value of its products in overseas markets. Here we are interested in stress involved in the disbudding (removal of horns) of cattle.

This video discusses how the emotional responses of cattle can be detected and quantified non-invasively through measurement of eye-temperature, using infrared thermography. Four treatments are compared in this designed study.

Other applications of this technology involve screening for swine flu at country borders, lie detection and detection of injuries in animals and consequential inflammation.


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The data are presented in the Excel file Disbud stress.xls. These tasks make use of the Bootstrap Procedure, instructions for which can be downloaded here (PDF). If you have access to GenStat, you can go through the lesson Disbud-GenStat.pdf.

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Video content recorded and edited by Robert van der Vyver[1] and John Harraway[2].
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1: Higher Education Development Unit, University of Otago
2: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago