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Animals, Volume 7, Issue 11 (November 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Association between the Prevalence of Indigestible Foreign Objects in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Slaughtered Cattle and Body Condition Score
Animals 2017, 7(11), 80; doi:10.3390/ani7110080
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
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Abstract
It is estimated that South Africa’s population will be above 65 million in 2050. Thus, food production needs to triple to alleviate poverty and food insecurity. However, infectious and non-infectious diseases affect livestock productivity, thereby hampering food supply. Non-infectious disease/conditions caused by the
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It is estimated that South Africa’s population will be above 65 million in 2050. Thus, food production needs to triple to alleviate poverty and food insecurity. However, infectious and non-infectious diseases affect livestock productivity, thereby hampering food supply. Non-infectious disease/conditions caused by the consumption of solid waste material are rarely reported. Hence, this study investigates the occurrence and type of indigestible foreign objects (IFOs) in the stomach of slaughtered cattle in two high-throughput abattoirs (n = 4424) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The study revealed that metallic and non-metallic indigestible objects had an overall prevalence of 63% in cattle slaughtered in Queenstown abattoir (QTA, (n = 1906)) and 64.8% at the East London abattoir (ELA, (n = 2518)). Most of the IFOs were found in the rumen (64.2% and 70.8%) and reticulum (28.5% and 20.6%) at QTA and ELA respectively. The leading IFOs in the stomach of cattle at QTA were plastics (27.7%), poly bezoars (10.7%) and ropes (10.7%), while poly bezoars (19.8%), ropes (17.6%) and stones (10.7%) were the main IFOs seen in cattle at ELA. The study showed a statistical significance (p < 0.05) between body condition score and the prevalence of indigestible objects in cattle. The study concluded that litter and waste containing IFOs could pose a threat to livestock health and productivity. The practice of good animal husbandry and efficient solid waste management will mitigate the problem of animals consuming IFOs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle An Examination of an Iconic Trap-Neuter-Return Program: The Newburyport, Massachusetts Case Study
Animals 2017, 7(11), 81; doi:10.3390/ani7110081
Received: 14 October 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
The use of trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a humane alternative to the lethal management of free-roaming cats has been on the rise for several decades in the United States; however a relative paucity of data from TNR programs exists. An iconic community-wide TNR effort;
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The use of trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a humane alternative to the lethal management of free-roaming cats has been on the rise for several decades in the United States; however a relative paucity of data from TNR programs exists. An iconic community-wide TNR effort; initiated in 1992 and renowned for having eliminated hundreds of free-roaming cats from the Newburyport; Massachusetts waterfront; is cited repeatedly; yet few details appear in the literature. Although the presence of feline population data was quite limited; a detailed narrative emerged from an examination of contemporaneous reports; extant TNR program documents; and stakeholder testimony. Available evidence indicates that an estimated 300 free-roaming cats were essentially unmanaged prior to the commencement of the TNR program; a quick reduction of up to one-third of the cats on the waterfront was attributed to the adoption of sociable cats and kittens; the elimination of the remaining population; over a 17-year period; was ascribed to attrition. These findings illuminate the potential effectiveness of TNR as a management practice; as well as call attention to the need for broad adoption of systematic data collection and assessment protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Hunting and Hunters by U.S. Respondents
Animals 2017, 7(11), 83; doi:10.3390/ani7110083
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 4 November 2017
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Abstract
Public acceptance of hunting and hunting practices is an important human dimension of wildlife management in the United States. Researchers surveyed 825 U.S. residents in an online questionnaire about their views of hunting, hunters, and hunting practices. Eighty-seven percent of respondents from the
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Public acceptance of hunting and hunting practices is an important human dimension of wildlife management in the United States. Researchers surveyed 825 U.S. residents in an online questionnaire about their views of hunting, hunters, and hunting practices. Eighty-seven percent of respondents from the national survey agreed that it was acceptable to hunt for food whereas 37% agreed that it was acceptable to hunt for a trophy. Over one-quarter of respondents did not know enough about hunting over bait, trapping, and captive hunts to form an opinion about whether the practice reduced animal welfare. Chi-square tests were used to explore relationships between perceptions of hunters and hunting practices and demographics. Those who knew hunters, participated in hunting-related activities, visited fairs or livestock operations, or were males who had more favorable opinions on hunting. A logistic regression model showed that not knowing a hunter was a statistically significant negative predictor of finding it acceptable to hunt; owning a pet was statistically significant and negative for approving of hunting for a trophy. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Calves Use an Automated Brush and a Hanging Rope When Pair-Housed
Animals 2017, 7(11), 84; doi:10.3390/ani7110084
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Calf housing often only meets the basic needs of calves, but there is a growing interest in providing enrichments. This study described the behaviour of calves when they were given the opportunity to interact with two commonly available enrichment items. Female and male
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Calf housing often only meets the basic needs of calves, but there is a growing interest in providing enrichments. This study described the behaviour of calves when they were given the opportunity to interact with two commonly available enrichment items. Female and male calves (approximately 11 days old) were pair-housed in 8 identical pens fitted with an automated brush and a hanging rope. Frequency and duration of behaviours were recorded on 3 separate days (from 12:00 until 08:00 the following day. Calves spent equal time using the brush and rope (27.1 min/day), but there was less variation in the use of the brush as opposed to the rope (coefficient of variation, CV: 23 vs. 78%, respectively). Calves had more frequent (94 bouts, CV: 24%) and shorter (17.8 s/bout, CV: 24%) brush use bouts compared to fewer (38 bouts, CV: 43%) and longer (38.3 s/bout, CV: 53%) rope use bouts. There was a diurnal pattern of use for both items. Frequency of play was similar to rope use, but total time playing was 8% of rope and brush use. Variability among calves suggested that individual preference existed; however, the social dynamics of the pair-housed environment were not measured and therefore could have influenced brush and rope use. Multiple enrichment items should be considered when designing improvements to calf housing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Professional Affiliation on Expert’s View on Welfare Measures
Animals 2017, 7(11), 85; doi:10.3390/ani7110085
Received: 14 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
The present study seeks to investigate the influence of expert affiliation in the weighing procedures within animal welfare assessments. Experts are often gathered with different backgrounds with differing approaches to animal welfare posing a potential pitfall if affiliation groups are not balanced in
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The present study seeks to investigate the influence of expert affiliation in the weighing procedures within animal welfare assessments. Experts are often gathered with different backgrounds with differing approaches to animal welfare posing a potential pitfall if affiliation groups are not balanced in numbers of experts. At two time points (2012 and 2016), dairy cattle and swine experts from four different stakeholder groups, namely researchers (RES), production advisors (CONS), practicing veterinarians (VET) and animal welfare control officers (AWC) were asked to weigh eight different welfare criteria: Hunger, Thirst, Resting comfort, Ease of movement, Injuries, Disease, Human-animal bond and Emotional state. A total of 54 dairy cattle experts (RES = 15%, CONS = 22%, VET = 35%, AWC = 28%) and 34 swine experts (RES = 24%, CONS = 35%, AWC = 41%) participated. Between—and within—group differences in the prioritization of criteria were assessed. AWC cattle experts differed consistently from the other cattle expert groups but only significantly for the criteria Hunger (p = 0.04), and tendencies towards significance within the criteria Thirst (p = 0.06). No significant differences were found between expert groups among swine experts. Inter-expert differences were more pronounced for both species. The results highlight the challenges of using expert weightings in aggregated welfare assessment models, as the choice of expert affiliation may play a confounding role in the final aggregation due to different prioritization of criteria. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Hock Injury Laterality and Lameness on Lying Behaviors and Lying Laterality in Holstein Dairy Cows
Animals 2017, 7(11), 86; doi:10.3390/ani7110086
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Lactating dairy cattle divide their lying equally between their left side and their right side. However, discomfort, such as pregnancy and cannulation, can cause a cow to shift lying side preference. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of lameness
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Lactating dairy cattle divide their lying equally between their left side and their right side. However, discomfort, such as pregnancy and cannulation, can cause a cow to shift lying side preference. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of lameness and hock injuries on lying behaviors, particularly lying laterality, of lactating dairy cows. Cows from four commercial farms in eastern Croatia that had lying behavior data, health score data, and production records were used in the study. Health scores including hock injuries and locomotion were collected once per cow. Severely lame cows had greater daily lying time compared to sound cows and moderately lame cows. Overall, cows spent 51.3 ± 1.2% of their daily lying time on the left side. Maximum hock score, locomotion score, hock injury laterality, or parity did not result in lying laterality differing from 50%. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Association between Lameness and Indicators of Dairy Cow Welfare Based on Locomotion Scoring, Body and Hock Condition, Leg Hygiene and Lying Behavior
Animals 2017, 7(11), 79; doi:10.3390/ani7110079
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 5 November 2017
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Abstract
Dairy cow welfare is an important consideration for optimal production in the dairy industry. Lameness affects the welfare of dairy herds by limiting productivity. Whilst the application of LS systems helps in identifying lame cows, the technique meets with certain constraints, ranging from
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Dairy cow welfare is an important consideration for optimal production in the dairy industry. Lameness affects the welfare of dairy herds by limiting productivity. Whilst the application of LS systems helps in identifying lame cows, the technique meets with certain constraints, ranging from the detection of mild gait changes to on-farm practical applications. Recent studies have shown that certain animal-based measures considered in welfare assessment, such as body condition, hock condition and leg hygiene, are associated with lameness in dairy cows. Furthermore, behavioural changes inherent in lame cows, especially the comfort in resting and lying down, have been shown to be vital indicators of cow welfare. Highlighting the relationship between lameness and these welfare indicators could assist in better understanding their role, either as risk factors or as consequences of lameness. Nevertheless, since the conditions predisposing a cow to lameness are multifaceted, it is vital to cite the factors that could influence the on-farm practical application of such welfare indicators in lameness studies. This review begins with the welfare consequences of lameness by comparing normal and abnormal gait as well as the use of LS system in detecting lame cows. Animal-based measures related to cow welfare and links with changes in locomotion as employed in lameness research are discussed. Finally, alterations in lying behaviour are also presented as indicators of lameness with the corresponding welfare implication in lame cows. Full article
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Open AccessReview Addressing the Challenges of Conducting Observational Studies in Sheep Abattoirs
Animals 2017, 7(11), 82; doi:10.3390/ani7110082
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract
The competing needs of maintaining productivity within abattoirs, and maintaining high standards of animal welfare, provide fertile grounds for applied research in animal behavior. However, there are challenges involved in capturing useful behavioral data from the supply chain (from paddock to processing plant).
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The competing needs of maintaining productivity within abattoirs, and maintaining high standards of animal welfare, provide fertile grounds for applied research in animal behavior. However, there are challenges involved in capturing useful behavioral data from the supply chain (from paddock to processing plant). The challenges identified in this report are based on a review of the scientific literature as well as field study observations. This article describes those challenges as they relate to collecting behavioral data on livestock-herding dogs, humans and livestock as they interact in abattoirs, and provides insights and recommendations for others embarking on animal studies in confined spaces, as well as in commercial settings. Direct observation of livestock behavior permits animal-welfare assessments and evaluations of the efficacy of operations in unfamiliar and high-pressure contexts, such as abattoirs. This brief report summarizes the factors that must be considered when undertaking in situ studies in abattoirs. There is merit in passive behavioral data-collection using video-recording equipment. However, the potential for hardware issues and sampling difficulties must be anticipated and addressed. Future research directions and recommendations to avoid such issues are discussed. This information will be highly beneficial to future abattoir studies focusing on efficiency and animal welfare at commercial abattoirs. Furthermore, it may also be relevant to any analyses involving large cohorts of animals in a confined environment. Full article
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