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Animals, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Every year, millions of pet cats go missing from their homes, and many are never found by their [...] Read more.
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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2017
Animals 2018, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/ani8010009
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Animals maintains high quality standards for its published papers. In 2017, a total of 100 papers were published in the journal.[...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle Impact of Daily Grazing Time on Dairy Cow Welfare—Results of the Welfare Quality® Protocol
Animals 2018, 8(1), 1; doi:10.3390/ani8010001
Received: 14 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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Abstract
Grazing provides livestock better opportunities to act out their species-specific behavior compared to restrictive stable conditions. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of daily grazing time on welfare of dairy cows in organic and conventional farms based on
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Grazing provides livestock better opportunities to act out their species-specific behavior compared to restrictive stable conditions. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of daily grazing time on welfare of dairy cows in organic and conventional farms based on the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for dairy cattle (WQ®). Therefore, we applied the WQ® on 32 dairy farms (classified in 3 groups: Group 0, minor/zero grazing, n = 14; Group 1, medium grazing, n = 10; Group 2, high grazing, n = 8). We assessed the status of animal welfare once in winter and once in summer. For statistical analyses we used mixed models for repeated measures, with group, season, and their interaction as fixed factors. At the WQ® criteria level, five out of nine examined criteria improved in farms with grazing between winter and summer. In contrast, the welfare situation in minor/zero grazing farms remained largely unchanged. At the level of WQ® measures, only the individual parameters “% of cows with hairless patches” and “% of lame cows” were affected positively by high grazing. Grazing offers a potential to enhance welfare of dairy cows during the summer season, while beneficial effects are not guaranteed when management does not satisfy the animals´ needs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Animal-Based Measures to Assess the Welfare of Extensively Managed Ewes
Animals 2018, 8(1), 2; doi:10.3390/ani8010002
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 24 December 2017
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Abstract
The reliability and feasibility of 10 animal-based measures of ewe welfare were examined for use in extensive sheep production systems. Measures were: Body condition score (BCS), rumen fill, fleece cleanliness, fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score, foot-wall integrity, hoof overgrowth and
[...] Read more.
The reliability and feasibility of 10 animal-based measures of ewe welfare were examined for use in extensive sheep production systems. Measures were: Body condition score (BCS), rumen fill, fleece cleanliness, fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score, foot-wall integrity, hoof overgrowth and lameness, and all were examined on 100 Merino ewes (aged 2–4 years) during mid-pregnancy, mid-lactation and weaning by a pool of nine trained observers. The measures of BCS, fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score and lameness were deemed to be reliable and feasible. All had good observer agreement, as determined by the percentage of agreement, Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W) and Kappa (k) values. When combined, these nutritional and health measures provide a snapshot of the current welfare status of ewes, as well as evidencing previous or potential welfare issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology in Animals' Management, Health and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Attitudes of Veterinary Teaching Staff and Exposure of Veterinary Students to Early-Age Desexing, with Review of Current Early-Age Desexing Literature
Animals 2018, 8(1), 3; doi:10.3390/ani8010003
Received: 21 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 25 December 2017
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Abstract
Approximately 50% of cats admitted to Australian shelters are kittens, and 26% of dogs are puppies, and, particularly for cats, euthanasia rates are often high. Cats can be pregnant by 4 months of age, yet the traditional desexing age is 5–6 months, and
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Approximately 50% of cats admitted to Australian shelters are kittens, and 26% of dogs are puppies, and, particularly for cats, euthanasia rates are often high. Cats can be pregnant by 4 months of age, yet the traditional desexing age is 5–6 months, and studies in Australasia and Nth America reveal that only a minority of veterinarians routinely perform early age desexing (EAD) of cats or dogs, suggesting they are not graduating with these skills. This study aimed to describe the attitudes of veterinary teaching staff in Australian and New Zealand universities towards EAD, and to determine if these changed from 2008 to 2015. It also aimed to identify students’ practical exposure to EAD. Most (64%) of the 25 participants in 2015 did not advocate EAD in their teaching and, in their personal opinion, only 32% advocated it for cats. Concerns related to EAD cited by staff included anesthetic risk, orthopedic problems, hypoglycemia, and, in female dogs, urinary incontinence. Those who advocated EAD cited benefits of population control, ease of surgery and behavioral benefits. Only three of the eight universities provided a majority of students with an opportunity to gain exposure to EAD procedures before graduation, and in two of these, most students had an opportunity to perform EAD. In conclusion, most veterinary students in Australia and New Zealand are not graduating with the knowledge or skills to perform EAD, and have little opportunity while at university to gain practical exposure. Welfare agencies could partner with universities to enable students to experience EAD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
Open AccessArticle Private Animal Welfare Standards—Opportunities and Risks
Animals 2018, 8(1), 4; doi:10.3390/ani8010004
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
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Abstract
The current shift moves the governance of animal welfare away from the government towards the private market and the consumers. We have studied the intentions, content, and on-farm inspection results from different sets of animal welfare legislation and private standards with an aim
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The current shift moves the governance of animal welfare away from the government towards the private market and the consumers. We have studied the intentions, content, and on-farm inspection results from different sets of animal welfare legislation and private standards with an aim to highlight the most important opportunities and risks identified in relation to the trend of increasingly relying on private standards for safeguarding or improving farm animal welfare. Our results show that different focuses, intentions, animal welfare requirements, inspection methods (i.e., methods for measuring and evaluating the compliance with a regulation), and inspection results, together with the use of vague wordings and a drive towards more flexible regulations does certainly not facilitate the interpretation and implementation of animal welfare regulations, especially not in relation to each other. Since farmers today often have to comply with several animal welfare regulations, including private standards, it is important to stress that a given regulation should never be seen as a single, stand-alone phenomenon, and the policymakers must hence consider the bigger picture, and apply the standards in relation to other existing regulations. This is especially relevant in relation to the legislation, a level that a private standard can never ignore. Full article
Open AccessArticle Search Methods Used to Locate Missing Cats and Locations Where Missing Cats Are Found
Animals 2018, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/ani8010005
Received: 19 November 2017 / Revised: 10 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
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Abstract
Missing pet cats are often not found by their owners, with many being euthanized at shelters. This study aimed to describe times that lost cats were missing for, search methods associated with their recovery, locations where found and distances travelled. A retrospective case
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Missing pet cats are often not found by their owners, with many being euthanized at shelters. This study aimed to describe times that lost cats were missing for, search methods associated with their recovery, locations where found and distances travelled. A retrospective case series was conducted where self-selected participants whose cat had gone missing provided data in an online questionnaire. Of the 1210 study cats, only 61% were found within one year, with 34% recovered alive by the owner within 7 days. Few cats were found alive after 90 days. There was evidence that physical searching increased the chance of finding the cat alive (p = 0.073), and 75% of cats were found within 500 m of the point of escape. Up to 75% of cats with outdoor access traveled 1609 m, further than the distance traveled by indoor-only cats (137 m; p ≤ 0.001). Cats considered to be highly curious were more likely to be found inside someone else’s house compared to other personality types. These findings suggest that thorough physical searching is a useful strategy, and should be conducted within the first week after cats go missing. They also support further investigation into whether shelter, neuter and return programs improve the chance of owners recovering missing cats and decrease numbers of cats euthanized in shelters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Infused Compressed Air Foam for Depopulation of Caged Laying Hens
Animals 2018, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/ani8010006
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
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Abstract
Depopulation of infected poultry flocks is a key strategy to control and contain reportable diseases. Water-based foam, carbon dioxide inhalation, and ventilation shutdown are depopulation methods available to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, these methods have limited usage in caged layer hen operations. Personnel
[...] Read more.
Depopulation of infected poultry flocks is a key strategy to control and contain reportable diseases. Water-based foam, carbon dioxide inhalation, and ventilation shutdown are depopulation methods available to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, these methods have limited usage in caged layer hen operations. Personnel safety and welfare of birds are equally important factors to consider during emergency depopulation procedures. We have previously reported that compressed air foam (CAF) is an alternative method for depopulation of caged layer hens. We hypothesized that infusion of gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2), into the CAF would reduce physiological stress and shorten time to cessation of movement. The study had six treatments, namely a negative control, CO2 inhalation, N2 inhalation, CAF with air (CAF Air), CAF with 50% CO2 (CAF CO2), and CAF with 100% N2 (CAF N2). Four spent hens were randomly assigned to one of these treatments on each of the eight replication days. A total of 192 spent hens were used in this study. Serum corticosterone and serotonin levels were measured and compared between treatments. Time to cessation of movement of spent hens was determined using accelerometers. The addition of CO2 in CAF significantly reduced the foam quality while the addition of N2 did not. The corticosterone and serotonin levels of spent hens subjected to foam (CAF, CAF CO2, CAF N2) and gas inhalation (CO2, N2) treatments did not differ significantly. The time to cessation of movement of spent hens in the CAF N2 treatment was significantly shorter than CAF and CAF CO2 treatments but longer than the gas inhalation treatments. These data suggest that the addition of N2 is advantageous in terms of shortening time to death and improved foam quality as compared to the CAF CO2 treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle An Indication of Reliability of the Two-Level Approach of the AWIN Welfare Assessment Protocol for Horses
Animals 2018, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/ani8010007
Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 5 January 2018
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Abstract
To enhance feasibility, the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol for horses consists of two levels: the first is a visual inspection of a sample of horses performed from a distance, the second a close-up inspection of all horses. The aim was to
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To enhance feasibility, the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol for horses consists of two levels: the first is a visual inspection of a sample of horses performed from a distance, the second a close-up inspection of all horses. The aim was to analyse whether information would be lost if only the first level were performed. In this study, 112 first and 112 second level assessments carried out on a subsequent day by one observer were compared by calculating the Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient (RS), Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC), Smallest Detectable Changes (SDC) and Limits of Agreements (LoA). Most indicators demonstrated sufficient reliability between the two levels. Exceptions were the Horse Grimace Scale, the Avoidance Distance Test and the Voluntary Human Approach Test (e.g., Voluntary Human Approach Test: RS: 0.38, ICC: 0.38, SDC: 0.21, LoA: −0.25–0.17), which could, however, be also interpreted as a lack of test-retest reliability. Further disagreement was found for the indicator consistency of manure (RS: 0.31, ICC: 0.38, SDC: 0.36, LoA: −0.38–0.36). For these indicators, an adaptation of the first level would be beneficial. Overall, in this study, the division into two levels was reliable and might therewith have the potential to enhance feasibility in other welfare assessment schemes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Longitudinal Assessment on Extensively Managed Ewes to Quantify Welfare Compromise and Risks
Animals 2018, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/ani8010008
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 1 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
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Abstract
This study examined variation in the welfare of extensively managed ewes and potential welfare risks. A total of 100 Merino ewes (aged 2–4 years) were individually identified and examined at three key stages: pregnancy, lactation and weaning. Eight animal-based welfare measures were used
[...] Read more.
This study examined variation in the welfare of extensively managed ewes and potential welfare risks. A total of 100 Merino ewes (aged 2–4 years) were individually identified and examined at three key stages: pregnancy, lactation and weaning. Eight animal-based welfare measures were used to assess welfare: flight distance, body condition score (BCS), fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score, lameness and mastitis. Data were analysed by ANOVA and McNemar’s statistics. Overall, the average BCS of the group was in agreement with industry recommendations. However, a number of animals were classified with inadequate condition (either too thin or too fat) across the three observation periods. The presence of heavy dags was greatest at mid-lactation (87%, P < 0.0001), lameness was greatest at weaning (14%, P = 0.01), clinical mastitis was 1% annually, and five ewes were lost from the study. Ewes had better health at mid-pregnancy compared to mid-lactation and weaning. The main welfare issues identified were under and over feeding, ewe mortality, lameness, ecto-parasites (flystrike) and mastitis, all of which have the potential to be reduced with improved management practices. Future welfare assessment programs must consider that significant variation in on-farm welfare will occur in extensively managed systems and this needs to be accounted for when evaluating farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology in Animals' Management, Health and Welfare)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On Farm Evaluation of a Novel Mechanical Cervical Dislocation Device for Poultry
Animals 2018, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/ani8010010
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
Urgent development of alternative on-farm killing methods for poultry is required following the number restrictions placed on the use of traditional manual cervical dislocation by European Legislation (EU 1099/2009). Alternatives must be proven to be humane and, crucially, practical in commercial settings with
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Urgent development of alternative on-farm killing methods for poultry is required following the number restrictions placed on the use of traditional manual cervical dislocation by European Legislation (EU 1099/2009). Alternatives must be proven to be humane and, crucially, practical in commercial settings with multiple users. We assessed the performance and reliability of a novel mechanical cervical dislocation device (NMCD) compared to the traditional manual cervical dislocation (MCD) method. NMCD was based on a novel device consisting of a thin supportive glove and two moveable metal finger inserts designed to aid the twisting motion of cervical dislocation. We employed a 2 × 2 factorial design, with a total of eight stockworkers from broiler and layer units (four per farm) each killing 70 birds per method. A successful kill performance was defined as immediate absence of rhythmic breathing and nictitating membrane reflex; a detectable gap in the vertebrae and only one kill attempt (i.e., one stretch and twist motion). The mean stockworker kill performance was significantly higher for MCD (98.4 ± 0.5%) compared to NMCD (81.6 ± 1.8%). However, the MCD technique normally used by the stockworkers (based previous in-house training received) affected the performance of NMCD and was confounded by unit type (broilers), with the majority of broiler stockworkers trained in a non-standard technique, making adaption to the NMCD more difficult. The consistency of trauma induced by the killing methods (based on several post-mortem parameters) was higher with NMCD demonstrated by “gold standard” trauma achieved in 30.2% of birds, compared to 11.4% for MCD (e.g., dislocation higher up the cervical region of the spine i.e., between vertebrae C0–C1, ≥1 carotid arteries severed), suggesting it has the potential to improve welfare at killing. However, the results also suggest that the NMCD method requires further refinement and training optimization in order for it to be acceptable as an alternative across poultry industry, irrespective of previous MCD technique and training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Depopulation of Caged Layer Hens with a Compressed Air Foam System
Animals 2018, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/ani8010011
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
During the 2014–2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of
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During the 2014–2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of the experiment was that a compressed air foam (CAF) system may be used as an alternative to carbon dioxide (CO2) inhalation for depopulating caged layer hens. The objective of this study was to evaluate corticosterone (CORT) and time to cessation of movement (COM) of hens subjected to CAF, CO2 inhalation, and negative control (NEG) treatments. In Experiment 1, two independent trials were conducted using young and spent hens. Experiment 1 consisted of five treatments: NEG, CO2 added to a chamber, a CO2 pre-charged chamber, CAF in cages, and CAF in a chamber. In Experiment 2, only spent hens were randomly assigned to three treatments: CAF in cages, CO2 added to a chamber, and aspirated foam. Serum CORT levels of young hens were not significantly different among the CAF in cages, CAF in a chamber, NEG control, and CO2 inhalation treatments. However, spent hens subjected to the CAF in a chamber had significantly higher CORT levels than birds in the rest of the treatments. Times to COM of spent hens subjected to CAF in cages and aspirated foam were significantly greater than of birds exposed to the CO2 in a chamber treatment. These data suggest that applying CAF in cages is a viable alternative for layer hen depopulation during a reportable disease outbreak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Predicting Lameness in Sheep Activity Using Tri-Axial Acceleration Signals
Animals 2018, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/ani8010012
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Lameness is a clinical symptom associated with a number of sheep diseases around the world, having adverse effects on weight gain, fertility, and lamb birth weight, and increasing the risk of secondary diseases. Current methods to identify lame animals rely on labour intensive
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Lameness is a clinical symptom associated with a number of sheep diseases around the world, having adverse effects on weight gain, fertility, and lamb birth weight, and increasing the risk of secondary diseases. Current methods to identify lame animals rely on labour intensive visual inspection. The aim of this current study was to determine the ability of a collar, leg, and ear attached tri-axial accelerometer to discriminate between sound and lame gait movement in sheep. Data were separated into 10 s mutually exclusive behaviour epochs and subjected to Quadratic Discriminant Analysis (QDA). Initial analysis showed the high misclassification of lame grazing events with sound grazing and standing from all deployment modes. The final classification model, which included lame walking and all sound activity classes, yielded a prediction accuracy for lame locomotion of 82%, 35%, and 87% for the ear, collar, and leg deployments, respectively. Misclassification of sound walking with lame walking within the leg accelerometer dataset highlights the superiority of an ear mode of attachment for the classification of lame gait characteristics based on time series accelerometer data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Understanding Tail-Biting in Pigs through Social Network Analysis
Animals 2018, 8(1), 13; doi:10.3390/ani8010013
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the association between social structure and incidence of tail-biting in pigs. Pigs (n = 144, initial weight = 7.2 ± 1.57 kg, 4 weeks of age) were grouped based on their litter origin: littermates,
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The objective of this study was to investigate the association between social structure and incidence of tail-biting in pigs. Pigs (n = 144, initial weight = 7.2 ± 1.57 kg, 4 weeks of age) were grouped based on their litter origin: littermates, non-littermates, and half-group of littermates. Six pens (8 pigs/pen) of each litter origin were studied for 6 weeks. Incidence of tail injury and growth performance were monitored. Behavior of pigs was video recorded for 6 h at 6 and 8 weeks of age. Video recordings were scanned at 10 min intervals to register pigs that were lying together (1) or not (0) in binary matrices. Half weight association index was used for social network construction. Social network analysis was performed using the UCINET software. Littermates had lower network density (0.119 vs. 0.174; p < 0.05), more absent social ties (20 vs. 12; p < 0.05), and fewer weak social ties (6 vs. 14, p < 0.05) than non-littermates, indicating that littermates might be less socially connected. Fifteen percent of littermates were identified as victimized pigs by tail-biting, and no victimized pigs were observed in other treatment groups. These results suggest that littermates might be less socially connected among themselves which may predispose them to development of tail-biting. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Case Study in Citizen Science: The Effectiveness of a Trap-Neuter-Return Program in a Chicago Neighborhood
Animals 2018, 8(1), 14; doi:10.3390/ani8010014
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
The use of trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a method of managing free-roaming cat populations has increased in the United States in recent decades. Historically, TNR has been conducted most often at a grassroots level, which has led to inconsistent data collection and assessment practices.
[...] Read more.
The use of trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a method of managing free-roaming cat populations has increased in the United States in recent decades. Historically, TNR has been conducted most often at a grassroots level, which has led to inconsistent data collection and assessment practices. Consequently, a paucity of analyzable data exists. An initiative is underway to standardize TNR program data collection and assessment. However, it could be some time before scientifically sound protocols are implemented on a broad scale. In the interim, sets of data collected by nascent citizen scientists offer valid opportunities to evaluate grassroots TNR programs. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of a TNR program conducted by a citizen scientist located in Chicago, Illinois, where a county law permitting TNR was enacted in 2007. Colony populations, when grouped by the number of years enrolled in the program, declined by a mean of 54% from entry and 82% from peak levels. Results from coexistent TNR programs in the Chicago area are consistent with these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessArticle Speaking Up: Veterinary Ethical Responsibilities and Animal Welfare Issues in Everyday Practice
Animals 2018, 8(1), 15; doi:10.3390/ani8010015
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 31 December 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
Although expectations for appropriate animal care are present in most developed countries, significant animal welfare challenges continue to be seen on a regular basis in all areas of veterinary practice. Veterinary ethics is a relatively new area of educational focus but is thought
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Although expectations for appropriate animal care are present in most developed countries, significant animal welfare challenges continue to be seen on a regular basis in all areas of veterinary practice. Veterinary ethics is a relatively new area of educational focus but is thought to be critically important in helping veterinarians formulate their approach to clinical case management and in determining the overall acceptability of practices towards animals. An overview is provided of how veterinary ethics are taught and how common ethical frameworks and approaches are employed—along with legislation, guidelines and codes of professional conduct—to address animal welfare issues. Insufficiently mature ethical reasoning or a lack of veterinary ethical sensitivity can lead to an inability or difficulty in speaking up about concerns with clients and ultimately, failure in their duty of care to animals, leading to poor animal welfare outcomes. A number of examples are provided to illustrate this point. Ensuring that robust ethical frameworks are employed will ultimately help veterinarians to “speak up” to address animal welfare concerns and prevent future harms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Ethics)
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