Animal welfare is a rising concern in livestock production and to assess the welfare state of an animal, it is needed to consider health, behaviour and emotions. Housing conditions and management normally impair animal welfare at different levels, so developing housing systems and management practices that imply a high level of animal welfare by preserving productive results is a need. Rabbit cages have to be improved in terms of space, enrichment and materials used to promote better conditions, and several alternatives are under evaluation such as increasing available space, providing animals with elevated platforms and hiding spaces, making available gnawing materials or changing cage materials. Moving from individual to collective housing systems to enhance social interaction is also being tested. Most of these alternatives have provided some steps towards better housing and management conditions for rabbits, while some of them have demonstrated to create more problems and have been abandoned. There is still a long way to go on this research topic.
Part of the book: Lagomorpha Characteristics