Methodology

Methodology

Each of the 50 countries part of the Animal Protection Index (API) is assessed according to 10 indicators, grouped into 4 goals, which address key animal welfare issues found around the world. 

Read the detailed methodology below which provides further information about the themes and individual indicators included, as well as the scoring system applied.

Goals
  • Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering
    Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering

    This goal assesses whether animal sentience has been recognised in legislation and explores the core legislative protections granted to animals, such as the prohibition of animal cruelty.

  • Presence of animal welfare legislation
    Presence of animal welfare legislation

    This goal explores animal protection laws in relation to various categories of animals, namely: farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research and wild animals.

  • Establishment of supportive government bodies
    Establishment of supportive government bodies

    This goal examines government commitment to animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government to protect animals.

  • Support for international animal welfare standards
    Support for international animal welfare standards

    This goal looks at whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, and whether the Government is supportive of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

The methodology in detail

The Animal Protection Index (API) ranks 50 countries according to their animal welfare legislation and policy. Countries are assessed on 10 indicators, which cover various categories of animals (i.e. farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, animals used for draught and recreational purposes, animals used in scientific research, wild animals). Each country receives a letter grade ranging from A (the highest score) to G (the weakest score) for each indicator, as well as an overall grade.

How were countries selected?

The first edition of the Animal Protection Index (API), published in 2014, provided ratings for 50 countries; these same 50 countries have been re-assessed for this second edition of the API, published in 2020. These countries were selected using statistics published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in their Statistical Yearbook for World and Agriculture 2012, from the countries which are the largest producers of beef, poultry, pork, sheep and goat, milk and eggs.

How were countries scored?

For this second edition of the Animal Protection Index (API), each country is assessed according to 10 indicators, grouped into 4 goals. Further detail on each indicator can be found below.

Each indicator is split into three sub-parts. Firstly, the legislation relevant to each indicator is listed. Secondly, an assessment of the strength of that legislation or policy is made in the ‘analysis’ sub-part of each indicator. Thirdly, key legal and policy recommendations are provided for each indicator. These recommendations are addressed to the Government of the country assessed.

Countries are scored within seven letter bands, ranging from A (the highest score) to G (the lowest score). Countries receive a letter grade for each indicator, as well as an overall letter grade.

How has the methodology changed since the first edition of the API in 2014?

For this second edition, the API's methodology has been refined to be more in line with the latest scientific evidence and current societal expectations in terms of animal welfare.

Key changes between the 2014 and 2020 methodologies:

  • 4 indicators have been removed from the assessment, since they were not directly assessing legislation.
  • Indicator 11 on the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) still features in country reports but is no longer scored. This is because while Governments have pledged their support in principle for the UDAW, it has not yet been adopted at the United Nations. World Animal Protection greatly appreciates the pledges made by Governments and looks forward to the future adoption of the UDAW.
  • World Animal Protection has used a more stringent scoring, as expectations on animal welfare have evolved. For instance, there is now scientific evidence demonstrating that certain invertebrates are sentient.

The goals and indicators in detail

Goal 1: Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering

Indicator 1: Animal sentience is formally recognised in legislation 

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • Full formal recognition of sentience into law applicable to, at a minimum, all vertebrates, cephalopods and decapod crustaceans. Such a formal recognition of sentience should be enshrined in animal welfare legislation, as well as in the country’s Civil Code.
Indicator 2: There are animal protection laws that prohiit causing animal suffering either by a deliberate act of cruelty or by a failure to act 

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • Prohibition against causing physical and psychological suffering to animals, including suffering caused by failure to act by those responsible for animals.
  • Additional prohibitions on the abandonment of companion animals and on bestiality.

Goal 2: Presence of animal welfare legislation

Indicator 3: There are laws that apply to animals used in farming including rearing, transport and slaughter

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • General anti-cruelty provisions must be applicable to all animals.

Pigs 

  • Full ban on sow stalls and farrowing crates.
  • Full ban on piglet mutilations.

Broiler chickens

  • Provisions on natural light and enrichment.
  • Limitation on stocking density to 30 kg/m2 or lower.

Egg-laying hens 

  • Full ban on all types of cages, including enriched and colony cages, or a commitment to ban all cages by a certain date, with a phase-out period.

Dairy cattle and calves

  • Ban on tethering for dairy cattle and calves.
  • Ban on zero-grazing systems.

Transport

  • Provisions protecting the Five Freedoms of animals during transport.
  • Ban on long distance transport (i.e. over 8 hours).
  • Provision stipulating that animals should be slaughtered as close to the point of rearing as possible.

Slaughter 

  • Pre-slaughter stunning of all animals is mandated, without exemptions for cultural or religious practices.
  • Provision mandating the humane slaughter of animals, with an explicit prohibition on animals witnessing the slaughter of other animals.
  • Ban on aversive stunning methods (e.g. suffocation by gas for large mammals such as pigs).
  • Provision mandating regular inspections of slaughterhouses.
  • Provision mandating the presence of video surveillance at slaughterhouses.
Indicator 4: There are laws that apply to animals in captivity 

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • General anti-cruelty provisions must be applicable to all animals.

Zoos 

  • Protection of the Five Freedoms of captive animals.
  • Licencing system through which zoos must operate; licences should only be granted if the establishment holding animals abides by various animal welfare criteria.
  • Regular zoo inspections shall be mandated in legislation.

Private keeping of wild animals

  • Ban on the keeping of wild animals as pets.

Fur farming

  • Total ban on fur farming.
Indicator 5: Companion animals

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • General anti-cruelty provisions must be applicable to all animals.

Care of companion animals

  • Protection of pet companion animals, such as a duty of care on owners, responsible ownership provisions, rules on breeding and sale of animals.
  • Total ban on cosmetic mutilations.
  • Licencing system for commercial breeders of animals, through which only those complying with specific animal welfare criteria can operate.
  • A ban on third-party sale of animals.

Stray animals

  • Protection of stray or feral companion animals, including humane stray population management and a prohibition on culling.
Indicator 6: Animals used for draught and recreation

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • General anti-cruelty provisions must be applicable to all animals.
  • Full bans, applicable at the national level, on the use of animals for cruel forms of entertainment such as:
    • use of all animals in circuses
    • use of wild terrestrial animals in other shows (e.g. performances at zoos, bear dancing etc.)
    • use of marine mammals in shows (e.g. dolphin and orca shows)
    • rodeos
    • all types of animal fights (most common include bull fights, cock fights and dog fights)
    • rides on wild animals (e.g. camels, elephants)
    • all types of animal races (most common include horse and greyhound racing)
    • activities where direct human contact with wild animals is encouraged (e.g. wildlife selfies, lion cub petting etc.)
  • Specific animal welfare provisions protecting the Five Freedoms of animals used for draught (i.e. working animals such as horses, mules, donkeys).
Indicator 7:  There are laws that apply to animals used in scientific research

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • Provisions enshrining the Three Rs principles – Replacement, Reduction, Refinement.
  • Ethics committees in charge of reviewing projects that intend to use animals.
  • A national government body is responsible for overseeing the use of animals in scientific research, whose members include representatives of animal welfare organisations.
  • An additional government body dedicated to developing alternatives to animal research.
  • Ban on the use of animal testing for cosmetic products, including their ingredients.
Indicator 8: There are laws that apply to wild animals

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • Ban on sport and recreational hunting.
  • Wildlife management uses hunting only as a last resort, after demonstrating that all other alternatives have failed.
  • The cruellest forms of hunting are banned (i.e. dog hunting, live baiting, poisoning, trapping, falconry, bow hunting).

Goal 3: Establishment of supportive government bodies

Indicator 9: The government has assigned responsibility and accountability for improving animal protection at a high government level and has provided resources

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • A Ministry specifically dedicated to animal welfare, by comparison to having animal welfare included in the remit of responsibility of another Ministry, most often the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • A national government body is responsible for improving animal welfare standards and monitoring the due enforcement of animal protection legislation. This body comprises representatives from animal welfare organisations.
  • The Government has pledged human and financial resources to be allocated to this national body accountable for animal welfare.
  • There is an Ombudsperson for animal welfare at national level, acting as independent adviser to the Government and representing the interests of animals.

Goal 4: Support for international animal welfare standards

Indicator 10: The Government has incorporated the OIE’s guiding principles for animal welfare and its animal welfare standards into policy and legislation

A country will score ‘A’ for this indicator if its legislation contains:

  • A country has fully implemented the OIE animal welfare standards and exceeds those standards.
Indicator 11: The Government has pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)

The API also examines whether the Government supports the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). The UDAW is a proposed formal international acknowledgement of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community.

The indicator is not scored because while Governments have pledged their in principle support for the UDAW, it has not yet been adopted at the United Nations. World Animal Protection greatly appreciates the pledges made by Governments and looks forward to the future adoption of the UDAW.

Countries Selected
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