Positive Welfare and the Like: Distinct Views and a Proposed Framework

Positive welfare and related terms such as good welfare, happiness, and a good life
are increasingly used in the animal welfare science literature. Overall, they highlight
the welfare benefits of providing animals opportunities for positive experiences, beyond
the alleviation of suffering. However, the various terms remain loosely defined and are
sometimes used interchangeably, resulting in discrepancy. In this perspective article,
we lay out the terms and concepts used in the literature. We identify two distinct
views: “hedonic positive welfare,” arising from likes and wants and their positive
outcomes on welfare; and “positive welfare balance,” as an overall positive welfare state
based on positive experiences outweighing negative ones. Eudaimonia, satisfaction with
one’s life, may emerge as a third view. We propose a framework that is applicable
across the different views. The “Vienna Framework” outlines different facets: frequency,
duration, arousal, context, previous experience, individual differences, sense of agency,
and long-term benefit. The framework aims to encourage researchers to consider
the relevance of these facets for their own research, to indicate how the facets are
affected by different interventions, or to compare different topics with respect to the different facets. We encourage researchers to carefully consider and clearly state how their work falls along these views and facets. This should prevent dilution of the meaning of positive welfare and thereby preserve its potential to improve the welfare of animals.

Rault, J. L., Hintze, S., Camerlink, I., & Yee, J. R. (2020). Positive welfare and the like: Distinct views and a proposed framework. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 370.

Full article / DOI can be found here.