How do we collect data?

Animal welfare data collection is carefully planned, taking into account the availability of the animals and owners/users and an appropriate sampling strategy according to the purpose.

Prioritise animal welfare
Animal welfare and human safety are prioritised at all times during data collection. Animal welfare indicators should not be used without sufficient training in animal handling, behaviour and welfare in order to ensure no harm is caused to animals or people involved. You can read more about our training process here.
Work in pairs

In Brooke, data are collected by two fully trained and standardised assessors working together; one examining the animal and the other verifying and recording the scores. Some indicators require consensus between the pair of assessors.

Assessors are advised to swap examiner and recorder roles after every five animals to reduce fatigue and encourage concentration and focus.

Use welfare-friendly restraint

Animals are safely restrained using a well-fitting head-collar or halter, and controlled by an experienced handler from Brooke or a suitably-trained person from the community.

Owners/users do not ordinarily handle animals during assessment. This is due to the potential for animal welfare compromise, human safety risk and influence on the animal’s behavioural responses.

The animal’s own head-collar, halter or bridle may be used if safe and comfortable, as in some cases this is least disruptive for the animal.

Trained assessors in Pakistan work together to consult the guidance notes to confirm the correct score. This is good practice and important for maintaining high quality data.
Minimise disruption

Animals are assessed at their place of work or accommodation according to what is feasible in the context and least disruptive to owners/users and animals.

Harnessing is removed whenever possible. Animals may be assessed in harness if necessary, and in some cases this is least disruptive for them, but are never assessed if bearing any load (by pack, cart, carriage, saddle).

When assessing tourist horses at their work place in Egypt, disruption to the animal is minimised by not removing harness and checking carefully underneath it.
Consult guidance
Assessors are encouraged to have and refer to the relevant guidance notes during data collection for confirmation of any uncertainty. These contain detailed descriptions and photographs of all scoring criteria and assessment protocol.