Choice tests: application and relevance in terms of improving husbandry methods and welfare of captive animals
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Choice tests have been widely used across numerous species for a variety of reasons, including environmental enrichment preference, food and its presentation, enclosure and enclosure furniture preference, and mate choice. Choice tests can entail a cost to the animal, for example by making it work for access to a resource. The harder an animal is willing to work for a resource, or the higher the price it is willing to pay for it can reflect the importance of that particular resource to that individual. The use of choice tests can be useful in establishing what an animal wants or prefers and have the potential to positively impact an individuals’ welfare, improve husbandry methods and expand on scientific knowledge. However, the results of choice tests can be very subjective and only ask what that individual wants at that one moment in time; choices can and do vary between individuals and even by the same individual over different time periods and under different circumstances.
Mellor, E. (2014) 'Choice tests; application and relevance in terms of improving husbandry methods and welfare of captive animals', The Plymouth Student Scientist, 7(1), p. 191-200.