Automated bioacoustics: methods in ecology and conservation and their potential for animal welfare monitoring

Michael Mcloughlin, Rebecca Stewart, Alan McElligott

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Vocalisations carry emotional, physiological, and individual information. This suggests that they may serve as potentially useful indicators for inferring animal welfare. At the same time, automated methods for analysing and classifying sound have developed rapidly, particularly in the fields of ecology, conservation, and sound scene classification. These methods are already used to automatically classify animal vocalisations, for example in identifying animal species and estimating numbers of individuals. Despite this potential, they have not yet found widespread application in animal welfare monitoring. In this review, we first discuss current trends in sound analysis for ecology, conservation, and sound classification. Following this we detail the vocalisations produced by three of the most important farm livestock species: chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), and cattle (Bos taurus). Finally, we describe how these methods can be applied to monitor animal welfare with new potential for developing automated methods for large-scale farming.

© 2019, The Author(s), published by the Royal Society This is an author produced version of a paper published in JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20190225
Issue number155
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2019


  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chickens
  • Sus scrofa
  • Vocalization, Animal

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