How important is natural behaviour in animal farming systems?
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It is often assumed and demanded that for a good welfare, farm animals should be given the freedom to express their natural behaviour. This demand is problematic for at least two reasons. First, natural behaviour is difficult to delineate because of itsvariability and flexibility. Second, some behavioural patterns that are clearly natural are in fact detrimental to animal welfare. These include emergency behaviours such as flight reactions that bring the animal into a state of stress without achievingthe goal for which the behaviour had evolved; and damaging behaviours such as rank-related or illness-related aggression during which animals inflict injuries or deprive their penmates of resources.
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