The role of expertise in scoring and aggregation of animal welfare indicators

Experts play a crucial role in terms of scoring and aggregating animal welfare indicators: they define the underlying notion of animal welfare and the component welfare indicators, they are involved in scoring the values of the indicators, and they are, in various ways, involved in determining how the indicators are added up to the total welfare scores. All indicators contribute with a certain weight to the total index value at farm level and these weights are calculated by means of input from a group of experts. However, experts may not agree on these weights and potential disagreements may translate into different outcomes on the total index values.

By means of social science based studies of experts and other potential assessors, this project will answer the following three groups of research questions:

  1. Can the index scoring scheme be improved to increase inter-observer reliability?
  2. How does the judgment of experts affect the aggregation of animal welfare in the index?
    1. Are there for example differences between how experts would assign weights to indicator scores; and if so how do these differences affect the aggregated welfare scores?
    2. Is there agreement across experts and between experts and the general public about the chosen aggregation model?
  3. How well do the aggregated welfare scores fit with a simpler and holistic expert evaluation of animal welfare at farm level?

More about the background of the project

Research plan