Perception of sheep welfare and sentience by citizens, veterinarians, biologists and animal scientists of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
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We compared the perception of citizens (C), veterinarians (V), biologists (B) and animal scientists (A) from Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, regarding sheep welfare and sentience. Knowledge about animal welfare in C (15.2%) differed from V (0.0%), B (1.1%) and A (0.0%), in terms of respondents who did not know about the subject (P<0.01). Animal welfare was defined mainly considering terms related to Freedom from fear and distress, Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition and Freedom from discomfort. C and B differed from V and A on the perception of farm animal welfare, as C and B believed that welfare is not or less considered for farm animals (P<0.05). In addition, C and V showed higher perception of association between higher levels of animal welfare and productivity than B and A (P<0.05). The perception of sheep sentience did not differ among respondents (P>0.05). When asked about sheep suffering caused by management practices, in general, V and A attributed lower scores of suffering, when compared to C and B (P<0.05). The results suggest that C and B, and V and A, have similar perceptions on the consideration of welfare for farm animals and sheep suffering. The respondents showed similar perceptions of sheep sentience.