Michigan State University

About Us

The Animal Behavior and Welfare Group (ABWG) at Michigan State University (MSU) focuses its research on identifying and developing management practices and standards for improving the quality of life for animals and providing a scientific foundation for animal welfare standards.

Complementing the MSU ABWG research mission, graduate and undergraduate students complete courses in the science of animal behavior and welfare.  Coursework is taught in the classroom, on the farm and online to actively engage students in the learning process.

The ABWG also provides practical experiences for students. Through the Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest, students gain practical experience assessing animal welfare in a friendly yet competitive environment. Through independent study or sponsored undergraduate research, students can develop and carry out their own research projects area of animal welfare and behavior.


Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs) are written standards providing uniform, science-based standards for acceptable management practices.  Producers can compare their existing management routines against these standards, or use them as a guide for improving or developing their management practices. Learn More…

Upcoming Events

International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE) Conference 
When: November 17-18, 2012
Where: University of Guelph
Website:  http://www.uoguelph.ca/csaw/awjac2012/

Hot Topics

Monthly updates of interesting or important information pertaining to animal welfare, animal behavior, or practices and news that take place within the fields of animal science in general. Learn More…


Species and situations assessed in the contest vary from year to year.  In 2009, students were asked to assess animal welfare of scenarios: labortory rats, meat goats, farmed white-tailed deer, and sheep. Learn More…