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The aim of this paper is to present a review of the current scientific viewpoints about the concept and definition of animal welfare. The need of interaction among different disciplines is stressed, as well as the need to scientifically assess welfare, using validated indicators. The role of applied ethology in animal welfare science is stressed.

The paper provides a brief overview of the historical steps in the development of the concept and presents scientific viewpoints, briefly explaining their theoretical foundation.

The possibility of defining welfare on a scientific basis is explained, identifying the main problems according to the scientific, cultural and social background.

Another aspect considered is the relationship between welfare and ethics, evidencing the meaning of such an interaction and its possible evolution.


open access article