Vaccines and animal welfare

Rev Sci Tech. 2007 Apr;26(1):157-63.


Vaccination promotes animal welfare by protecting animal health, but it also has other welfare benefits, e.g. recent investigations have looked at the potential of vaccines in immunoneutering such as immunocastration--a humane alternative to the painful traditional methods. Similarly, vaccination can be used during disease outbreaks as a viable alternative to stamping-out, thus avoiding the welfare problems that on-farm mass slaughter can cause. Protecting animal health through vaccination leads to improved animal welfare, and maintaining good welfare ensures that animals can respond successfully to vaccination (as poor welfare can lead to immunosuppression, which can affect the response to vaccination). It is clear that vaccination has tremendous advantages for animal welfare and although the possible side effects of vaccination can have a negative effect on the welfare of some individual animals, the harm caused by these unwanted effects must be weighed against the undoubted benefits for groups of animals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Animal Welfare*
  • Animals
  • Castration / methods
  • Castration / veterinary*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary
  • Euthanasia, Animal
  • Fertility / immunology
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccination / veterinary*


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone