Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.
Sheep are managed under a variety of different environments (continually outdoors, partially outdoors with seasonal or diurnal variation, continuously indoors) and for different purposes, which makes assessing welfare challenging. This diversity means that resource-based indicators are not particularly useful and, thus, a welfare assessment scheme for sheep, focusing on animal-based indicators, was developed.