The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Delphi Project

Delphi Project – Expert consensus on animal welfare priority issues in the UK

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What is the Delphi Project?

The aim of this study was to use a modified Delphi procedure to create an overall ranking of welfare outcomes for managed animals in the UK. The species included in the study were: dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, exotics, cattle, pigs, poultry, small ruminants, and wildlife.  The results of this study will help guide the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) in prioritising support for particular areas of animal welfare research.


What is the Delphi Method?

The Delphi method is based on the assumption that group opinion is more valid than individual opinion. The method relies on a group of experts participating in multiple rounds of surveys in an attempt to reach consensus on an important issue, e.g. in this instance, welfare priority issues of managed animals in the UK. This study used both classical and modified Delphi methodologies. There were 4 rounds in this study, 3 anonymous online surveys and a workshop. The final round reached a consensus on the UK animal welfare priorities.


Who is involved in the study?

The Delphi project was funded by the Animal Welfare Foundation The Principal Investigator of the study was Prof Cathy Dwyer, Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, and the project is a collaboration between JMICAWE and SRUC. Co-investigators include Dr Mel Connor, Dr Heather Bacon and Prof Alistair Lawrence. Coordination and day-to-day management of the project was conducted by Dr Fiona Lang. We recruited 144 experts to take part in the study and are very grateful for their generous participation.


Benefits of the Study

The benefits of this study will be deriving a consensus from the expertise of multiple key stakeholders in animal welfare (e.g. veterinarians, academics, practitioners, voluntary and charitable bodies, etc). The outcomes of the study have been presented at:

  • BSAS Annual meeting, 9-11 April 2019, Edinburgh
  • AWF Discussion Forum, 5 June 2019, London
  • UFAW International Symposium, 3-4 July 2019, Bruges, Belgium 

The outcomes of the study have been published and are freely available.


For further information please contact Prof. Cathy Dwyer: