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Animals, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2013), Pages 300-557

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Conceptualising the Impact of Arousal and Affective State on Training Outcomes of Operant Conditioning
Animals 2013, 3(2), 300-317; doi:10.3390/ani3020300
Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 25 March 2013 / Accepted: 28 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1606 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Animal training relies heavily on an understanding of species-specific behaviour as it integrates with operant conditioning principles. Following on from recent studies showing that affective states and arousal levels may correlate with behavioural outcomes, we explore the contribution of both affective state [...] Read more.
Animal training relies heavily on an understanding of species-specific behaviour as it integrates with operant conditioning principles. Following on from recent studies showing that affective states and arousal levels may correlate with behavioural outcomes, we explore the contribution of both affective state and arousal in behavioural responses to operant conditioning. This paper provides a framework for assessing how affective state and arousal may influence the efficacy of operant training methods. It provides a series of three-dimensional conceptual graphs as exemplars to describing putative influences of both affective state and arousal on the likelihood of dogs and horses performing commonly desired behaviours. These graphs are referred to as response landscapes, and they highlight the flexibility available for improving training efficacy and the likely need for different approaches to suit animals in different affective states and at various levels of arousal. Knowledge gaps are discussed and suggestions made for bridging them. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Ulcerative Pododermatitis of Breeding Rabbits
Animals 2013, 3(2), 318-326; doi:10.3390/ani3020318
Received: 22 February 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 12 April 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (91 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rabbits in conventional farms are housed in wire net cages with mesh floors to separate them from droppings. In time, lacerations appear on the legs of adult rabbits causing ulcerative pododermatitis or sore hocks, a severe health and welfare problem. Pain causes [...] Read more.
Rabbits in conventional farms are housed in wire net cages with mesh floors to separate them from droppings. In time, lacerations appear on the legs of adult rabbits causing ulcerative pododermatitis or sore hocks, a severe health and welfare problem. Pain causes behavioral changes; productivity is reduced and the most seriously affected animals die or are culled. In this study we evaluated the attention producers have given to this problem and its prevention by installing footrests in cages. We made 2,331 visits to 664 commercial farms in Spain and Portugal between 2001 and 2012, and evaluated morbidity by examining 105,009 females and 10,722 males. The study highlights that the rate of farms with footrests increased from 27.8% in 2001 to 75.2% in 2012. Prevalence of sore hocks in does in 2001 was 11.4%, decreasing to 6.3% in 2012; prevention of ulcerative pododermatitis was associated (P < 0.001) with the presence of footrests. Overall, prevalence was 4.87 ± 0.26 on farms with footrests and 13.71 ± 0.32 without (P < 0.01). Full article
Open AccessArticle Use of Anecdotal Occurrence Data in Species Distribution Models: An Example Based on the White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest
Animals 2013, 3(2), 327-348; doi:10.3390/ani3020327
Received: 20 February 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 12 April 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Species distributions are usually inferred from occurrence records. However, these records are prone to errors in spatial precision and reliability. Although influence of spatial errors has been fairly well studied, there is little information on impacts of poor reliability. Reliability of an [...] Read more.
Species distributions are usually inferred from occurrence records. However, these records are prone to errors in spatial precision and reliability. Although influence of spatial errors has been fairly well studied, there is little information on impacts of poor reliability. Reliability of an occurrence record can be influenced by characteristics of the species, conditions during the observation, and observer’s knowledge. Some studies have advocated use of anecdotal data, while others have advocated more stringent evidentiary standards such as only accepting records verified by physical evidence, at least for rare or elusive species. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of occurrence records with different reliability on species distribution models (SDMs) of a unique mammal, the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest. We compared SDMs developed using maximum entropy analysis of combined bioclimatic and biophysical variables and based on seven subsets of occurrence records that varied in reliability and spatial precision. We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence. Coati distribution in the American Southwest was predicted to occur in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona and was defined primarily by evenness of climate and Madrean woodland and chaparral land-cover types. Coati distribution patterns in this region suggest a good model for understanding the biogeographic structure of range margins. We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy. Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle On the Possible Detection of Lightning Storms by Elephants
Animals 2013, 3(2), 349-355; doi:10.3390/ani3020349
Received: 2 February 2013 / Revised: 15 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 April 2013 / Published: 18 April 2013
PDF Full-text (477 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Theoretical calculations suggest that sounds produced by thunderstorms and detected by a system similar to the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the detection of nuclear explosions at distances ≥100 km, are at sound pressure levels equal to or greater than 6 × [...] Read more.
Theoretical calculations suggest that sounds produced by thunderstorms and detected by a system similar to the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the detection of nuclear explosions at distances ≥100 km, are at sound pressure levels equal to or greater than 6 × 10−3 Pa. Such sound pressure levels are well within the range of elephant hearing. Frequencies carrying these sounds might allow for interaural time delays such that adult elephants could not only hear but could also locate the source of these sounds. Determining whether it is possible for elephants to hear and locate thunderstorms contributes to the question of whether elephant movements are triggered or influenced by these abiotic sounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes)
Open AccessArticle The Release of a Captive-Raised Female African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Animals 2013, 3(2), 370-385; doi:10.3390/ani3020370
Received: 28 March 2013 / Revised: 22 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
PDF Full-text (245 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wild female elephants live in close-knit matrilineal groups and housing captive elephants in artificial social groupings can cause significant welfare issues for individuals not accepted by other group members. We document the release of a captive-raised female elephant used in the safari [...] Read more.
Wild female elephants live in close-knit matrilineal groups and housing captive elephants in artificial social groupings can cause significant welfare issues for individuals not accepted by other group members. We document the release of a captive-raised female elephant used in the safari industry because of welfare and management problems. She was fitted with a satellite collar, and spatial and behavioural data were collected over a 17-month period to quantify her interactions with the wild population. She was then monitored infrequently for a further five-and-a-half years. We observed few signs of aggression towards her from the wild elephants with which she socialized. She used an area of comparable size to wild female elephants, and this continued to increase as she explored new areas. Although she did not fully integrate into a wild herd, she had three calves of her own, and formed a social unit with another female and her calf that were later released from the same captive herd. We recommend that release to the wild be considered as a management option for other captive female elephants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Future of Pork Production in the World: Towards Sustainable, Welfare-Positive Systems
Animals 2013, 3(2), 401-415; doi:10.3390/ani3020401
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 May 2013 / Published: 15 May 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (99 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among land animals, more pork is eaten in the world than any other meat. The earth holds about one billion pigs who deliver over 100 mmt of pork to people for consumption. Systems of pork production changed from a forest-based to pasture-based [...] Read more.
Among land animals, more pork is eaten in the world than any other meat. The earth holds about one billion pigs who deliver over 100 mmt of pork to people for consumption. Systems of pork production changed from a forest-based to pasture-based to dirt lots and finally into specially-designed buildings. The world pork industry is variable and complex not just in production methods but in economics and cultural value. A systematic analysis of pork industry sustainability was performed. Sustainable production methods are considered at three levels using three examples in this paper: production system, penning system and for a production practice. A sustainability matrix was provided for each example. In a comparison of indoor vs. outdoor systems, the food safety/zoonoses concerns make current outdoor systems unsustainable. The choice of keeping pregnant sows in group pens or individual crates is complex in that the outcome of a sustainability assessment leads to the conclusion that group penning is more sustainable in the EU and certain USA states, but the individual crate is currently more sustainable in other USA states, Asia and Latin America. A comparison of conventional physical castration with immunological castration shows that the less-common immunological castration method is more sustainable (for a number of reasons). This paper provides a method to assess the sustainability of production systems and practices that take into account the best available science, human perception and culture, animal welfare, the environment, food safety, worker health and safety, and economics (including the cost of production and solving world hunger). This tool can be used in countries and regions where the table values of a sustainability matrix change based on local conditions. The sustainability matrix can be used to assess current systems and predict improved systems of the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle GeoBioScience: Red Wood Ants as Bioindicators for Active Tectonic Fault Systems in the West Eifel (Germany)
Animals 2013, 3(2), 475-498; doi:10.3390/ani3020475
Received: 13 March 2013 / Revised: 26 April 2013 / Accepted: 7 May 2013 / Published: 17 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a 1.140 km² study area of the volcanic West Eifel, a comprehensive investigation established the correlation between red wood ant mound (RWA; Formica rufa-group) sites and active tectonic faults. The current stress field with a NW-SE-trending main stress direction opens [...] Read more.
In a 1.140 km² study area of the volcanic West Eifel, a comprehensive investigation established the correlation between red wood ant mound (RWA; Formica rufa-group) sites and active tectonic faults. The current stress field with a NW-SE-trending main stress direction opens pathways for geogenic gases and potential magmas following the same orientation. At the same time, Variscan and Mesozoic fault zones are reactivated. The results showed linear alignments and clusters of approx. 3,000 RWA mounds. While linear mound distribution correlate with strike-slip fault systems documented by quartz and ore veins and fault planes with slickensides, the clusters represent crosscut zones of dominant fault systems. Latter can be correlated with voids caused by crustal block rotation. Gas analyses from soil air, mineral springs and mofettes (CO2, Helium, Radon and H2S) reveal limiting concentrations for the spatial distribution of mounds and colonization. Striking is further the almost complete absence of RWA mounds in the core area of the Quaternary volcanic field. A possible cause can be found in occasionally occurring H2S in the fault systems, which is toxic at miniscule concentrations to the ants. Viewed overall, there is a strong relationship between RWA mounds and active tectonics in the West Eifel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes)
Open AccessArticle The Prospect of Market-Driven Improvements in Animal Welfare: Lessons from the Case of Grass Milk in Denmark
Animals 2013, 3(2), 499-512; doi:10.3390/ani3020499
Received: 16 April 2013 / Revised: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 29 May 2013 / Published: 4 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (93 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Citizens in many European countries urge that the welfare of farm animals should be improved. Policy-makers propose that this could, at least to some extent, be achieved through increased consumption of animal products produced under labeling schemes guaranteeing higher standards of animal [...] Read more.
Citizens in many European countries urge that the welfare of farm animals should be improved. Policy-makers propose that this could, at least to some extent, be achieved through increased consumption of animal products produced under labeling schemes guaranteeing higher standards of animal welfare. Yet considerable uncertainties exist about the ability of the market to promote animal welfare. So far the consumption of most welfare-friendly products has been limited, and the impact of driving and limiting factors is poorly understood. Reviewing market studies, we identify the factors that have shaped the relatively successful market for grass milk in Denmark. We conclude that the positive drivers such as an appealing animal welfare attribute and animal welfare being bundled with other qualities are essentially the same as those operating in connection with less successful animal welfare-friendly products. It is therefore to be expected that other animal welfare-friendly food products marketed via “natural behaviors” in the farm animals will catch the interest of consumers. However, grass milk consumption has been supported by proper labeling, ready availability and low price premiums as well as multifaceted public support. This suggests that successful cases require the joint presence of a number of positive drivers as well as low consumption barriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Nature of Pre-Earthquake Phenomena and their Effects on Living Organisms
Animals 2013, 3(2), 513-531; doi:10.3390/ani3020513
Received: 26 April 2013 / Revised: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Earthquakes occur when tectonic stresses build up deep in the Earth before catastrophic rupture. During the build-up of stress, processes that occur in the crustal rocks lead to the activation of highly mobile electronic charge carriers. These charge carriers are able to [...] Read more.
Earthquakes occur when tectonic stresses build up deep in the Earth before catastrophic rupture. During the build-up of stress, processes that occur in the crustal rocks lead to the activation of highly mobile electronic charge carriers. These charge carriers are able to flow out of the stressed rock volume into surrounding rocks. Such outflow constitutes an electric current, which generates electromagnetic (EM) signals. If the outflow occurs in bursts, it will lead to short EM pulses. If the outflow is continuous, the currents may fluctuate, generating EM emissions over a wide frequency range. Only ultralow and extremely low frequency (ULF/ELF) waves travel through rock and can reach the Earth surface. The outflowing charge carriers are (i) positively charged and (ii) highly oxidizing. When they arrive at the Earth surface from below, they build up microscopic electric fields, strong enough to field-ionize air molecules. As a result, the air above the epicentral region of an impending major earthquake often becomes laden with positive airborne ions. Medical research has long shown that positive airborne ions cause changes in stress hormone levels in animals and humans. In addition to the ULF/ELF emissions, positive airborne ions can cause unusual reactions among animals. When the charge carriers flow into water, they oxidize water to hydrogen peroxide. This, plus oxidation of organic compounds, can cause behavioral changes among aquatic animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes)
Open AccessArticle A Longitudinal Study on Feeding Behaviour and Activity Patterns of Released Chimpanzees in Conkouati-Douli National Park, Republic of Congo
Animals 2013, 3(2), 532-550; doi:10.3390/ani3020532
Received: 26 April 2013 / Revised: 30 May 2013 / Accepted: 3 June 2013 / Published: 7 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (144 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wild chimpanzee populations are still declining due to logging, disease transmission and hunting. The bushmeat trade frequently leads to an increase in the number of orphaned primates. HELP Congo was the first project to successfully release wild-born orphan chimpanzees into an existing [...] Read more.
Wild chimpanzee populations are still declining due to logging, disease transmission and hunting. The bushmeat trade frequently leads to an increase in the number of orphaned primates. HELP Congo was the first project to successfully release wild-born orphan chimpanzees into an existing chimpanzee habitat. A collection of post monitoring data over 16 years now offers the unique opportunity to investigate possible behavioural adaptations in these chimpanzees. We investigated the feeding and activity patterns in eight individuals via focal observation techniques from 1997–1999 and 2001–2005. Our results revealed a decline in the number of fruit and insect species in the diet of released chimpanzees over the years, whereas within the same period of time, the number of consumed seed species increased. Furthermore, we found a decline in time spent travelling, but an increase in time spent on social activities, such as grooming, as individuals matured. In conclusion, the observed changes in feeding and activity patterns seem to reflect important long-term behavioural and ecological adaptations in wild-born orphan released chimpanzees, demonstrating that the release of chimpanzees can be successful, even if it takes time for full adaptation. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Contrasting Attitudes towards Animal Welfare Issues within the Food Chain
Animals 2013, 3(2), 551-557; doi:10.3390/ani3020551
Received: 7 March 2013 / Revised: 19 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 10 June 2013
PDF Full-text (65 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Intensive systems have facilitated the production of animal-based products at relatively low prices. On one hand, these methods have been increasingly considered to be responsible for a dramatic reduction in animal welfare, as indicated by the high prevalence of stereotypies in sows, [...] Read more.
Intensive systems have facilitated the production of animal-based products at relatively low prices. On one hand, these methods have been increasingly considered to be responsible for a dramatic reduction in animal welfare, as indicated by the high prevalence of stereotypies in sows, brittle bones in hens, lameness in broilers and short life span in dairy cattle. As a consequence, large segments of animal welfare-sensitive consumers have been identified. On the other hand, price conscious consumers, if accepting higher prices, are more likely to require explicit justification of returns in quality. Therefore, scientifically validated monitoring systems for assessing the welfare of farm animals have been developed in order to provide a certification system, allow the differentiation of animal-based products through constant and reliable signaling systems, and promote animal welfare friendly farming systems. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Impact of Heat Stress on Poultry Production
Animals 2013, 3(2), 356-369; doi:10.3390/ani3020356
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 5 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 24 April 2013
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (89 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding and controlling environmental conditions is crucial to successful poultry production and welfare. Heat stress is one of the most important environmental stressors challenging poultry production worldwide. The detrimental effects of heat stress on broilers and laying hens range from reduced growth [...] Read more.
Understanding and controlling environmental conditions is crucial to successful poultry production and welfare. Heat stress is one of the most important environmental stressors challenging poultry production worldwide. The detrimental effects of heat stress on broilers and laying hens range from reduced growth and egg production to decreased poultry and egg quality and safety. Moreover, the negative impact of heat stress on poultry welfare has recently attracted increasing public awareness and concern. Much information has been published on the effects of heat stress on productivity and immune response in poultry. However, our knowledge of basic mechanisms associated to the reported effects, as well as related to poultry behavior and welfare under heat stress conditions is in fact scarce. Intervention strategies to deal with heat stress conditions have been the focus of many published studies. Nevertheless, effectiveness of most of the interventions has been variable or inconsistent. This review focuses on the scientific evidence available on the importance and impact of heat stress in poultry production, with emphasis on broilers and laying hens. Full article
Open AccessReview Animal Welfare and Food Safety Aspects of Confining Broiler Chickens to Cages
Animals 2013, 3(2), 386-400; doi:10.3390/ani3020386
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 27 April 2013 / Accepted: 7 May 2013 / Published: 13 May 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In most areas of the world, broiler chickens are raised in floor systems, but cage confinement is becoming more common. The welfare of broiler chickens in cages is affected by movement restriction, poor bone strength due to lack of exercise, and prevention [...] Read more.
In most areas of the world, broiler chickens are raised in floor systems, but cage confinement is becoming more common. The welfare of broiler chickens in cages is affected by movement restriction, poor bone strength due to lack of exercise, and prevention of key behavioral patterns such as dustbathing and ground scratching. Cages for broiler chickens also have a long history of causing skin and leg conditions that could further compromise welfare, but a lack of controlled studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions about newer cage designs. Cage environments are usually stocked at a higher density than open floor systems, and the limited studies available suggest that caging may lead to increased levels of fear and stress in the birds. Further, birds reared on the floor appear less likely to harbor and shed Salmonella, as litter may serve as a seeding agent for competitive exclusion by other microorganisms. Cages for laying hens used in egg production have met with substantial opposition due to welfare concerns and caging broiler chickens will likely be subject to the same kinds of social disapproval. Full article
Open AccessReview Modelling Farm Animal Welfare
Animals 2013, 3(2), 416-441; doi:10.3390/ani3020416
Received: 22 March 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 May 2013 / Published: 16 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (135 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of models in the life sciences has greatly expanded in scope and advanced in technique in recent decades. However, the range, type and complexity of models used in farm animal welfare is comparatively poor, despite the great scope for use [...] Read more.
The use of models in the life sciences has greatly expanded in scope and advanced in technique in recent decades. However, the range, type and complexity of models used in farm animal welfare is comparatively poor, despite the great scope for use of modeling in this field of research. In this paper, we review the different modeling approaches used in farm animal welfare science to date, discussing the types of questions they have been used to answer, the merits and problems associated with the method, and possible future applications of each technique. We find that the most frequently published types of model used in farm animal welfare are conceptual and assessment models; two types of model that are frequently (though not exclusively) based on expert opinion. Simulation, optimization, scenario, and systems modeling approaches are rarer in animal welfare, despite being commonly used in other related fields. Finally, common issues such as a lack of quantitative data to parameterize models, and model selection and validation are discussed throughout the review, with possible solutions and alternative approaches suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
Open AccessReview Exploration of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis to Improve Animal Welfare by Means of Genetic Selection: Lessons from the South African Merino
Animals 2013, 3(2), 442-474; doi:10.3390/ani3020442
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 May 2013 / Published: 17 May 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is a difficult task to improve animal production by means of genetic selection, if the environment does not allow full expression of the animal’s genetic potential. This concept may well be the future for animal welfare, because it highlights the need [...] Read more.
It is a difficult task to improve animal production by means of genetic selection, if the environment does not allow full expression of the animal’s genetic potential. This concept may well be the future for animal welfare, because it highlights the need to incorporate traits related to production and robustness, simultaneously, to reach sustainable breeding goals. This review explores the identification of potential genetic markers for robustness within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA), since this axis plays a vital role in the stress response. If genetic selection for superior HPAA responses to stress is possible, then it ought to be possible to breed robust and easily managed genotypes that might be able to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions whilst expressing a high production potential. This approach is explored in this review by means of lessons learnt from research on Merino sheep, which were divergently selected for their multiple rearing ability. These two selection lines have shown marked differences in reproduction, production and welfare, which makes this breeding programme ideal to investigate potential genetic markers of robustness. The HPAA function is explored in detail to elucidate where such genetic markers are likely to be found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)
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