This page contains information about semantic modelling (my dissertation) and related activities like risk assessment and TRAK (transparent assessment/decision scheme, TRansparent AfwegingsKader in Dutch). Below my main scientific publications and reports are listed as an entry. For more information, please see the underlying publications.
My PhD about semantic modelling concerns the development of a formal procedure to assess the welfare status of pregnant sows in various housing systems based on scientific information:
Bracke, M.B.M., 2001. Modelling of animal welfare: the development of a decision support system to assess the welfare status of pregnant sows. PhD Thesis. Wageningen University, Wageningen, 150 pp. (Bibliography).
Brochure: Semantic modelling of animal welfare (2007).
The conceptual framework used to assess welfare and to set welfare priorities (risk assessment avant la lettre) was formulated in an anonymous publication:
Anonymous, 2001. Scientists’ assessment of the impact of housing and management on animal welfare. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 4: 3-52.
Brochure: Blueprint for animal happiness: Scientific evaluation offers objective measure for animal welfare (2002, Popular summary of Anon. 2001, 6 pp).
The PhD thesis is based on 3 papers: 1. Defining welfare and asking the more philosophical question whether welfare assessment is possible in principle; 2. Reviewing existing schemes; 3. Formulation of a needs-based approach to welfare assessment:
1. Bracke, M.B.M., Spruijt, B.M., Metz, J.H.M., 1999. Overall welfare assessment reviewed. Part 1: Is it possible? Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 47, 279-291.
2. Bracke, M.B.M, Metz, J.H.M., Spruijt, B.M., 1999. Overall welfare reviewed. Part 2: Assessment tables and schemes. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Sci.ence 47, 293-305.
3. Bracke, M.B.M, Spruijt, B.M. and Metz, J.H.M. 1999. Overall welfare reviewed. Part 3: Welfare assessment based on needs and supported by expert opinion. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 47: 307-322.
The modelling principles and its implementation in a software programme (4) and the model’s validation based on expert opinion (5) have been published in the Journal of Animal Science.
4. Bracke, M.B.M., Spruijt, B.M., Metz, J.H.M. and Schouten, W.G.P. 2002a. Decision support system for overall welfare assessment in pregnant sows A: Model structure and weighting procedure. Journal of Animal Science 8: 1819-1834.
5. Bracke, M.B.M., Metz, J.H.M., Spruijt, B.M. and Schouten, W.G.P. 2002b. Decision support system for overall welfare assessment in pregnant sows B: Validation by expert opinion. Journal of Animal Science 8: 1835-1845.
Various other semantic models have been publised, on various species and topics:
Bracke, M.B.M., Hulsegge, B., Keeling, L., Blokhuis H.J., 2004a. Decision support system with semantic model to assess the risk of tail biting in pigs: 1. Modelling. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 87: 31-44.
Bracke, M.B.M., Hulsegge, B., Keeling, L., Blokhuis H.J., 2004b. Decision support system with semantic model to assess the risk of tail biting in pigs: 2. ‘Validation’. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 87: 45-54. Note: this paper uses a meta-analysis to validate the model.
Bracke, M.B.M., Zonderland, J.J., Bleumer, E.J.B., 2007. Expert judgement on enrichment materials for pigs validates preliminary RICHPIG Model. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 104: 1-13.
Bracke, M.B.M., Zonderland, J.J., Bleumer, E.J.B., 2007. Expert consultation on weighting factors of criteria for assessing environmental enrichment materials for pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 104: 14-23.
Bracke, M.B.M., 2008. RICHPIG: a semantic model to assess enrichment materials for pigs. Animal Welfare 17: 289-304.
Ursinus, W.W., F Schepers, R.M. de Mol, M.B.M. Bracke, J.H.M. Metz, P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp, 2009. COWEL: A decision support system husbandry systems for dairy cattle on welfare. Animal Welfare, 18, 454-552.
Bracke, M.B.M., Spoolder, H.A.M. 2011. Review of wallowing in pigs: Implications for animal welfare. Animal Welfare 20: 347-363.
Shimmura, T., M.B.M. Bracke, R.M. De Mol, S. Hirahara, K. Uetake and T. Tanaka, 2011. Overall welfare assessment of laying hens: Comparing science-based, environment-based and animal-based assessments. Animal Science Journal 82, 150–160.
Stien, L.H., Marc B.M. Bracke, Ole Folkedal, Jonatan Nilsson, Frode Oppedal, Thomas Torgersen, Silje Kittelsen, Paul Midtlyng, Marco A. Vindas, Øyvind Øverli, Tore S. Kristiansen, 2013. Salmon Welfare Index Model (SWIM-1.0): A semantic model for overall welfare assessment of caged Atlantic salmon – review of selected welfare indicators and model presentation. Reviews in Aquaculture 5: 33-57.
Pettersen, J. M., M. B.M. Bracke, P. J. Midtlyng, O. Folkedal, L. H. Stien, H. Steffenak and T. S. Kristiansen. 2013. Salmon Welfare Index Model (SWIM) 2.0: an extended model for overall welfare assessment of caged Atlantic salmon, based on a review of selected welfare indicators and intended for fish health professionals. Reviews in Aquaculture 5:1-18.
Folkedal, O., Jostein M. Pettersen, Marc B. M. Bracke, Lars H. Stien, Jonatan Nilsson, Paul J. Midtlyng, Tore Kristiansen, 2016. On-farm evaluation of the Salmon Welfare Index Model (SWIM 1.0) – Theoretical and practical considerations. Animal Welfare.
De Mol., R.M., W.G.P. Schouten, E. Evers, H. Drost, H.W.J. Houwers, A.C. Smits, 2006. A computer model for welfare assessment of poultry production systems for laying hens. NJAS 54: 157-168. (FOWEL model for layers)
Semantic modelling principles have been related to risk assessment of animal welfare and to transparent decision making:
Bracke, M.B.M., S.A. Edwards, J.H.M. Metz, J.P.T.M. Noordhuizen and B. Algers. 2008. Synthesis of semantic modelling and risk analysis methodology applied to animal welfare. Animal 2: 1061-1072.
Bracke, M. B. M., S. A. Edwards, B. Engel, W.G. Buist and B. Algers. 2008. Expert opinion as ‘validation’ of risk assessment applied to calf welfare. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 50: 29.
TRAK (transparent assessment/decision scheme, TRansparent AfwegingsKader in Dutch), developed in collaboration with LEI Wageningen UR:
Bracke, M., De Bakker, E., Beekman, V., Jansson, K., De Graaff, R., 2008. TRAK: On track for food quality; Working towards a transparent decision-making framework. LEI report, 2008-002, LEI, The Hague (In Dutch).
Brochure: On TRA©K – TRAK, richtinggevend instrument bij waardenafwegingen rondom voedselkwaliteit. Brochure (in Dutch only). 2008
Other, related references (expert opinion, ducks, wildlife & websites):
Bracke, M.B.M. In press. Chains as proper enrichment for intensively-farmed pigs? In: Spinka, M. Advances in Pig Welfare. Elsevier.
Bracke, M.B.M. Subm. Expert opinion on metal chains and other indestructible objects as proper enrichment for intensively-farmed pigs.
Rodenburg, T.B., Bracke, M.B.M., Berk, J., Cooper, J., Faure, J.M., Guemene, D., Guy, G., Harlander, A., Jones, T., Knierim, U., Kuhnt, K., Pingel, H., Reiter, K., Serviere, J. and Ruis, M.A.W. 2005. Welfare of ducks in European duck husbandry systems. World’s Poultry Science Journal 61: 633-646.
Gerritzen, M.A.; Reimert, H.G.M.; Lourens, A.; Bracke, M.B.M.; Verhoeven, M.T.W. 2013. Killing wild geese with carbon dioxide or a mixture of carbon dioxide and argon. Animal Welfare, 22: 5-12.
www.playingwithpigs.nl (movie about a futuristic computer game for and with pigs)
www.hokverrijking.nl (Dutch website about pen enrichment for pigs, tail docking and tail biting, including a prize contest about practically applicable distraction materials for pigs)
www.farewelldock.eu (English website of the research project FareWellDock about tail docking, tail biting and enrichment for pigs).
www.henhub.eu (English website of the Hennovation project about feather pecking and end-of-lay welfare aspects of laying hens).