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Animals, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In the months following Hurricane Harvey, interviews were held with key officials within the state [...] Read more.
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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Analysis of Stress Indicators for Evaluation of Animal Welfare and Meat Quality in Traditional and Jewish Slaughtering
Animals 2018, 8(4), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040043
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Sixty Charolais male beef cattle of eight months of age were divided into two groups according to the slaughtering method, i.e., traditional or Kosher (religious Jewish rite). The aim of the study was to detect and compare the plasma concentrations of cortisol and
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Sixty Charolais male beef cattle of eight months of age were divided into two groups according to the slaughtering method, i.e., traditional or Kosher (religious Jewish rite). The aim of the study was to detect and compare the plasma concentrations of cortisol and catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine), by Elisa and HPLC test. These four stress indicators were evaluated during three different stages of each animal productive life: on the farm (step 1), after transportation (step 2) and during bleeding (step 3). The patterns of the parameters measured were similar and, interestingly, revealed significant changes throughout the three steps considered. The greatest variation between the two methods of slaughtering was observed in step 3, where we found a statistically significant difference with all the parameters except epinephrine. In the animals slaughtered by the religious rite, cortisol, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine were 68.70 ± 30.61 nmol/L; 868.43 ± 508.52 ng/L; 3776.20 ± 1918.44 ng/L; and 4352.20 ± 3730.15 ng/L, respectively, versus 45.08 ± 14.15 nmol/L; 513.87 ± 286.32 ng/L; 3425.57 ± 1777.39 ng/L; and 3279.97 ± 1954.53 ng/L, respectively, in the other animals. This suggests that the animals slaughtered by the Kosher rite are subjected to higher stress conditions at the exsanguination phase. The animals slaughtered by the religious Jewish rite showed lower cortisol and catecholamine levels on the farm (step 1) and after transportation to the slaughterhouse (step 2). This was likely because the animals selected at the end of step 1 by the Rabbis for the religious rite are usually the most docile and gentle. Full article
Open AccessArticle Operationalizing Principle-Based Standards for Animal Welfare—Indicators for Climate Problems in Pig Houses
Animals 2018, 8(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040044
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
The Dutch animal welfare law includes so-called principle-based standards. This means that the objective is described in abstract terms, enabling farmers to comply with the law in their own way. Principle-based standards are, however, difficult for the inspection agency to enforce because strict
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The Dutch animal welfare law includes so-called principle-based standards. This means that the objective is described in abstract terms, enabling farmers to comply with the law in their own way. Principle-based standards are, however, difficult for the inspection agency to enforce because strict limits are missing. This pilot project aimed at developing indicators (measurements) to assess the climate in pig houses, thus enabling the enforcement of principle-based standards. In total, 64 farms with weaners and 32 farms with growing–finishing pigs were visited. On each farm, a set of climate-related measurements was collected in six pens. For each of these measurements, a threshold value was set, and exceeding this threshold indicated a welfare risk. Farm inspections were carried out during winter and spring, thus excluding situations with heat stress. Assessment of the variation and correlation between measurements reduced the dataset from 39 to 12 measurements. Using a principal components analysis helped to select five major measurements as warning signals. The number of exceeded thresholds per pen and per farm was calculated for both the large (12) and small (five) sets of measurements. CO2 and NH3 concentrations were related to the outside temperature. On colder days, there was less ventilation, and thus CO2 and NH3 concentrations increased. Air quality, reflected in the CO2 and NH3 concentrations, was associated with respiratory problems. Eye scores were positively correlated with both pig and pen fouling, and pig and pen fouling were closely related. We selected five signal indicators: CO2, NH3, and tail and eye score for weaners and finishers, and added ear score for weaners and pig fouling for growing–finishing pigs. The results indicate that pig farms can be ranked based on five signal indicators related to reduced animal welfare caused by climatic conditions. This approach could be adopted to other principle-based standards for pigs as well as for other species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Associated with High Live Release for Dogs at a Large, Open-Admission, Municipal Shelter
Animals 2018, 8(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040045
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
Better understanding of factors contributing to live release (rehoming) may help shelters improve outcomes. In this cross-sectional, exploratory, non-interventional study, data for all intakes (n = 21,409) for dogs eligible for rehoming from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 are analyzed to
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Better understanding of factors contributing to live release (rehoming) may help shelters improve outcomes. In this cross-sectional, exploratory, non-interventional study, data for all intakes (n = 21,409) for dogs eligible for rehoming from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 are analyzed to identify such factors. Live release was >88%. A total of 1510 (7.1%) dogs interacted with the foster care system, 98.9% of whom had live release. Foster care increased the odds of live release by about five-fold for all dogs (odds ratio (OR) 5.30 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.13; 8.97), p < 0.001) and by >20-fold for adult dogs (OR 22.2 (95% CI: 5.48; 90.2), p < 0.001) compared to first-time owner-surrendered dogs. Dogs returned from foster care had a 70% reduction in health concerns, as judged by intake staff, compared with dogs sent to foster. In addition to saving 2882 lives, the rescue network utilized by this shelter was estimated as having reduced in-shelter care needs by 13,409 animal care-days over two years. Dogs returned from adoption also had increased odds of live release (OR 4.74 (95% CI: 3.02; 7.44), p < 0.0001). Nearly a third (29.6%) of dogs originally brought in by owners for euthanasia were determined to be potentially savable, and a fifth of the original group (21.1%) were ultimately placed. Less than 4% of dogs presented with behavioral concerns at intake. It remains to be determined whether other large, open intake shelters performing animal control can replicate these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessArticle Can a Red Wood-Ant Nest Be Associated with Fault-Related CH4 Micro-Seepage? A Case Study from Continuous Short-Term In-Situ Sampling
Animals 2018, 8(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040046
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
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Abstract
We measured methane (CH4) and stable carbon isotope of methane (δ13C-CH4) concentrations in ambient air and within a red wood-ant (RWA; Formica polyctena) nest in the Neuwied Basin (Germany) using high-resolution in-situ sampling to detect microbial,
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We measured methane (CH4) and stable carbon isotope of methane (δ13C-CH4) concentrations in ambient air and within a red wood-ant (RWA; Formica polyctena) nest in the Neuwied Basin (Germany) using high-resolution in-situ sampling to detect microbial, thermogenic, and abiotic fault-related micro-seepage of CH4. Methane degassing from RWA nests was not synchronized with earth tides, nor was it influenced by micro-earthquake degassing or concomitantly measured RWA activity. Two δ13C-CH4 signatures were identified in nest gas: −69‰ and −37‰. The lower peak was attributed to microbial decomposition of organic matter within the RWA nest, in line with previous observations that RWA nests are hot-spots of microbial CH4. The higher peak has not been reported in previous studies. We attribute this peak to fault-related CH4 emissions moving via fault networks into the RWA nest, which could originate either from thermogenic or abiotic CH4 formation. Sources of these micro-seepages could be Devonian schists, iron-bearing “Klerf Schichten”, or overlapping micro-seepage of magmatic CH4 from the Eifel plume. Given the abundance of RWA nests on the landscape, their role as sources of microbial CH4 and biological indicators for abiotically-derived CH4 should be included in estimation of methane emissions that are contributing to climatic change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Behavior and Natural Disasters)
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Open AccessArticle Did Harvey Learn from Katrina? Initial Observations of the Response to Companion Animals during Hurricane Harvey
Animals 2018, 8(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040047
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 became the genesis of animal emergency management and created significant reforms in the US particularly the passage of the Pets Emergency and Transportation Standards Act in 2006 that required state and local emergency management arrangements to
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The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 became the genesis of animal emergency management and created significant reforms in the US particularly the passage of the Pets Emergency and Transportation Standards Act in 2006 that required state and local emergency management arrangements to be pet- and service animal-inclusive. More than a decade later Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf states with all 68 directly related deaths occurring in the state of Texas. In this study, six key officials involved in the response underwent a semi-structured interview to investigate the impact of the PETS Act on preparedness and response. Though the results have limitations due to the low sample size, it was found that the PETS Act and the lessons of Hurricane Katrina had contributed to a positive cultural shift to including pets (companion animals) in emergency response. However, there was a general theme that plans required under the PETS Act were under-developed and many of the animal response lessons from previous emergencies remain unresolved. The study also observed the first empirical case of disaster hoarding which highlights the need for animal law enforcement agencies to be active in emergency response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Behavior and Natural Disasters)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Use of a Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt for the Euthanasia of Neonate Piglets
Animals 2018, 8(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040048
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles and Shelvoke CASH small animal tool, Birmingham, UK)
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The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles and Shelvoke CASH small animal tool, Birmingham, UK) to produce an immediate stun/kill with neonate piglets. One hundred and forty-seven piglets (average dead weight = 1.20 kg ± 0.58 (standard deviation, SD), mean age = 5.8 days (median = 3)) were euthanized with the device and demonstrated immediate loss of consciousness, subjectively assessed by behavioural signs and no recovery. The result that 147 out of 147 animals were effectively stun/killed gives a 95% confidence interval for the true percentage of animals that would be effectively stun/killed of 97.5–100% with the use of the CASH small animal tool under the conditions of the current study. This research concludes that the CASH small animal tool, using a 1 grain brown coded cartridge, is suitable for producing a stun/kill in neonate piglets when applied in a frontal/parietal position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Use of a Mechanical Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Device for the Euthanasia of Neonate Lambs
Animals 2018, 8(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040049
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 1.056) mean dead weight, to
[...] Read more.
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 1.056) mean dead weight, to assess effectiveness and shot position. Every lamb (n = 200) was effectively stunned when the weapon was applied powered by a brown, 1-grain cartridge but 10/200 (5%) of the lambs displayed rhythmic or agonal breathing and were subsequently euthanased using euthatal (Merial, UK, GTIN: 03661103015550). Evaluation of the method was conducted using behavioural indicators of brain dysfunction followed by post-mortem examination of the heads. A second trial was conducted using a higher velocity 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shot position on 48 lambs (mean dead weight = 6.21 kg, SD ± 1.24) averaging 5 days old. One hundred percent of the lambs in the second trial were immediately stun-killed. Given this complete kill rate and the sample size of the study, the study provides a statistical 95% confidence interval of 92.6% to 100%. The use of the Accles & Shelvoke “CASH” Small Animal Tool (Birmingham, UK) can therefore be recommended for the euthanasia of neonate lambs with a 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shooting position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Protocol to Assess Acclimation Rate in Bos taurus Heifers during Yard Weaning
Animals 2018, 8(4), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040051
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 31 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
The speed with which animals acclimate to a new environment could be an important measure of ability to cope with management induced stress. This study developed a measure of acclimation rate in a group of 50 Bos taurus heifers during yard weaning over
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The speed with which animals acclimate to a new environment could be an important measure of ability to cope with management induced stress. This study developed a measure of acclimation rate in a group of 50 Bos taurus heifers during yard weaning over nine days. We recorded the time and order in which heifers moved through a novel funnel structure into a feeding yard daily. We hypothesised that addition of an obstacle at the entrance would increase the time it took heifers to move through the funnel, but that they would acclimate to the obstacle over a three-day period. The change in latency to move through could then be used as a measure of acclimation rate. We hypothesised that individuals which acclimated to obstacles at a faster rate might display favourable temperament as assessed by flight time. All heifers took longer to move through the funnel after a novel object was introduced, then latency decreased over the following two days while the object was present. This indicates the protocol could be useful for measuring acclimation rate at a group level. Individual acclimation rate variables, measured as change in times and orders of heifers between test days, did not appear to have any consistent relationships with flight time or weight change during or post-weaning (p > 0.05). We concluded that the protocol was inappropriate for assessing acclimation rate at an individual level, due to social effects while testing heifers as a group. Heifers which were consistently one of the first 20 to move through the funnel had a significantly greater average weight 5 and 10 months post-weaning (345 ± 9 kg and 518 ± 10 kg respectively) than heifers which were consistently one of the last 20 through the funnel (311 ± 8 kg and 484 ± 8 kg respectively; p < 0.001). This may indicate order of movement through the funnel was related to feeding motivation or another aspect of temperament not reflected by flight time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Process of Nitrous Oxide before Carbon Dioxide for Humanely Euthanizing Piglets: On-Farm Trials
Animals 2018, 8(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040052
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old piglets. A commercial euthanasia
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Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old piglets. A commercial euthanasia chamber was modified to deliver two euthanasia treatments: the two-step method using N2O then CO2 (N2O treatment) or only CO2 (CO2 treatment). In Experiment 1, 18 piglets were individually euthanized. In Experiment 2, 18 groups of four to six piglets were euthanized. In the N2O treatment, piglets lost posture, indicating the onset of losing consciousness, before going into CO2 where they showed heavy breathing and open-mouth breathing; whereas piglets in the CO2 treatment did not lose posture until after exhibiting these behaviors (p ≤ 0.004). However, piglets in the N2O treatment took longer to lose posture compared to the CO2 treatment (p < 0.001). Piglets in the N2O treatment displayed more behavioral signs of stress and aversion: squeals/minute (p = 0.004), escape attempts per pig (p = 0.021), and righting responses per pig (p = 0.084) in a group setting. In these regards, it cannot be concluded that euthanizing piglets for 6 min with N2O and then CO2 is more humane than euthanizing with CO2 alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Naturalness and Animal Welfare
Animals 2018, 8(4), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040053
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract
Naturalness is considered important for animals, and is one criterion for assessing how we care for them. However, it is a vague and ambiguous term, which needs definition and assessments suitable for scientific and ethical questions. This paper makes a start on that
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Naturalness is considered important for animals, and is one criterion for assessing how we care for them. However, it is a vague and ambiguous term, which needs definition and assessments suitable for scientific and ethical questions. This paper makes a start on that aim. This paper differentiates the term from other related concepts, such as species-typical behaviour and wellbeing. It identifies contingent ways in which naturalness might be used, as: (i) prompts for further welfare assessment; (ii) a plausible hypothesis for what safeguards wellbeing; (iii) a threshold for what is acceptable; (iv) constraints on what improvements are unacceptable; and (v) demarcating what is not morally wrong, because of a lack of human agency. It then suggests an approach to evaluating animals’ behaviour that is quantitative, is based on reality, and which assesses naturalness by degrees. It proposes classing unaffected wild populations as natural by definition. Where animals might have been affected by humans, they should be compared to the closest population(s) of unaffected animals. This approach could allow us both to assess naturalness scientifically, and to make practical decisions about the behaviour of domestic animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Ethics)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Dietary Supplementation of Propolis and Bee Pollen on Liver Pathology in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2018, 8(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040054
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
One of the major problems in intensive breeding of chickens is liver damage. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of dietary supplementation with propolis and bee pollen on liver pathology in broiler chickens. The study was conducted on 200
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One of the major problems in intensive breeding of chickens is liver damage. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of dietary supplementation with propolis and bee pollen on liver pathology in broiler chickens. The study was conducted on 200 Ross 308 chickens equally distributed by sex that were divided into five groups. Throughout the whole study, the control group of chickens was fed with a basal diet, while the experimental groups of chickens were fed with the same diet further supplemented with propolis and bee pollen, each supplement given separately or in combination in a certain proportion. The study showed that the clusters of lymphocytes in the hepatocytes, the vacuolar degeneration and necrosis of the liver parenchyma, the bile ductule hyperplasia, and the various forms of pathological changes in the liver arteries and veins were more frequent in liver tissue samples of the control group compared to liver tissue samples of all the experimental groups (p < 0.001). The study further showed that all the previously mentioned histopathological lesions of liver tissue were always more extensive in the liver tissue samples of the control group than in the liver tissue samples of all the experimental groups (p < 0.001). The supplementation of broiler chickens with propolis and/or bee pollen has a strong protective effect on liver pathology in broiler chickens. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of an Integrated Program of Return-to-Field and Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return on Feline Intake and Euthanasia at a Municipal Animal Shelter
Animals 2018, 8(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040055
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
Available evidence indicates that overall levels of feline intake and euthanasia at U.S. shelters have significantly declined in recent decades. Nevertheless, millions of cats, many of them free-roaming, continue to be admitted to shelters each year. In some locations, as many as 70%
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Available evidence indicates that overall levels of feline intake and euthanasia at U.S. shelters have significantly declined in recent decades. Nevertheless, millions of cats, many of them free-roaming, continue to be admitted to shelters each year. In some locations, as many as 70% of cats, perhaps up to one million or more per year nationally, are euthanized. New approaches, including return-to-field (RTF) and targeted trap-neuter-return (TNR) appear to have transformative potential. The purpose of the present study was to examine changes in feline intake and euthanasia, as well as additional associated metrics, at a municipal animal shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after institutionalized RTF and targeted TNR protocols, together referred to as a community cat program (CCP), were added to ongoing community-based TNR efforts and a pilot RTF initiative. Over the course of the CCP, which ran from April 2012 to March 2015, 11,746 cats were trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, and returned or adopted. Feline euthanasia at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department (AAWD) declined by 84.1% and feline intake dropped by 37.6% over three years; the live release rate (LRR) increased by 47.7% due primarily to these reductions in both intake and euthanasia. Modest increases in the percentage of cats returned to owner (RTO) and the adoption rate were also observed, although both metrics decreased on an absolute basis, while the number of calls to the city about dead cats declined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Use of a Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt for Euthanasia of Neonate Goats
Animals 2018, 8(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040058
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1 grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) of mean dead weight = 4.425 kg (SD
[...] Read more.
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1 grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) of mean dead weight = 4.425 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 0.4632), to assess effectiveness and shot position. Evaluation of the method was conducted using behavioural indicators of brain dysfunction followed by post mortem examination of the heads. Once correct shot position had been established, 100% of 158 kids (95% confidence interval 97.5% to 100%) were successfully stunned/killed with a shot positioned on the midline, between the ears, with the chin tucked into the neck. The use of the Accles and Shelvoke CASH Small Animal Tool can therefore be recommended for the euthanasia of neonate goats with a 1 grain cartridge and a specific shooting position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Does Flooring Substrate Impact Kennel and Dog Cleanliness in Commercial Breeding Facilities?
Animals 2018, 8(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040059
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
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Abstract
Evaluation of kennel flooring surfaces is needed to understand their impacts on dog health and well-being. This pilot study aimed to characterize aspects of physical health, kennel cleanliness, and dog body cleanliness on flooring types common in US breeding kennels. Subjects were 118
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Evaluation of kennel flooring surfaces is needed to understand their impacts on dog health and well-being. This pilot study aimed to characterize aspects of physical health, kennel cleanliness, and dog body cleanliness on flooring types common in US breeding kennels. Subjects were 118 adult dogs housed on diamond-coated expanded metal (DCEM), polypropylene (POLY), or concrete (CON) flooring at five commercial breeding facilities in Indiana, U.S. Body condition, paw, elbow, and hock health scores were recorded. Each indoor kennel and dog was visually assessed for cleanliness. Kennels were swabbed immediately after cleaning with electrostatic dry cloths and cultured for Escherichia coli. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis. Mean body condition score (BCS), kennel and dog cleanliness scores were all near ideal (3, 1.15, and 1.04, respectively). Thirty-one percent or fewer kennels at each facility were culture-positive for E. coli after cleaning. No serious paw, elbow, or hock problems were identified. Overall, the findings indicate that with appropriate management and regular access to additional surfaces, dog foot health, cleanliness, and kennel cleanliness can be maintained on the flooring types investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management in the 21st Century)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Objecthood, Agency and Mutualism in Valenced Farm Animal Environments
Animals 2018, 8(4), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040050
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
Genetic selection of farm animals for productivity, and intensification of farming practices have yielded substantial improvements in efficiency; however, the capacity of animals to cope with environmental challenges has diminished. Understanding how the animal and environment interact is central to efforts to improve
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Genetic selection of farm animals for productivity, and intensification of farming practices have yielded substantial improvements in efficiency; however, the capacity of animals to cope with environmental challenges has diminished. Understanding how the animal and environment interact is central to efforts to improve the health, fitness, and welfare of animals through breeding and management strategies. The review examines aspects of the environment that are sensed by the animal. The predictive brain model of sensory perception and motor action (the Bayesian brain model) and its recent extension to account for anticipatory, predictive control of physiological activities is described. Afferent sensory input from the immune system, and induction of predictive immune functions by the efferent nervous system are also in accord with the Bayesian brain model. In this model, expected sensory input (from external, physiological and immunological environments) is reconciled with actual sensory input through behavioural, physiological and immune actions, and through updating future expectations. Sustained discrepancy between expected and actual sensory inputs occurs when environmental encounters cannot be predicted and controlled resulting in stress and negative affective states. Through these processes, from the animal’s perspective, aspects of the environment acquire a negative or positive character: that is the environment becomes valenced. In a homeostatic manner, affective experience guides the animal towards synchronisation and a greater degree of mutualism with its environment. A better understanding of the dynamic among environmental valence, animal affect and mutualism may provide a better understanding of genetic and phenotypic links between temperament, immune function, metabolic performance, affective state, and resilience in farm animals, and provide further opportunities to improve their welfare. Full article
Open AccessReview Use of Unpalatable Forages by Ruminants: The Influence of Experience with the Biophysical and Social Environment
Animals 2018, 8(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040056
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 14 April 2018
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Abstract
Unpalatable forage resources (low nutrient density, potentially toxic metabolites) are widespread and represent a challenge for ruminant nutrition, health, and welfare. Our objective was to synthesize the role of biophysical and social experience on the use of unpalatable forages by ruminants, and highlight
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Unpalatable forage resources (low nutrient density, potentially toxic metabolites) are widespread and represent a challenge for ruminant nutrition, health, and welfare. Our objective was to synthesize the role of biophysical and social experience on the use of unpalatable forages by ruminants, and highlight derived behavioural solutions for the well-being of soils, plants, and animals. Environmental experiences early in life modulate gene expression and promote learning, which alters morpho-physiological and psychological mechanisms that modify behavioural responses and change food and habitat selection. In this process, ruminants can become better adapted to the habitat where they are reared. Moreover, experiential learning provides flexibility in diet selection, which is critical for changing foraging environments. Learned associations between unpalatable and palatable foods, if ingested in appropriate amounts, sequence, and close temporal association, induce the development of preference for the former type of food. In this way, a more uniform use of resources can be achieved from the landscape level down to the individual plant, with the associated benefits to ecosystem integrity and stability. Ruminants can also learn the medicinal benefits of ingesting foods with toxins (e.g., condensed tannins and saponins with antiparasitic properties). This knowledge on behavioural processes can be translated into behavioural applications that provide low-cost solutions to many challenges that producers face in managing sustainable livestock production systems. Full article
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Open AccessReview Euthanasia of Cattle: Practical Considerations and Application
Animals 2018, 8(4), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040057
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of cattle include overdose of an anesthetic, gunshot and captive bolt. The use of anesthetics for euthanasia is costly and complicates carcass disposal. These issues can be avoided by use of a physical method such as gunshot or
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Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of cattle include overdose of an anesthetic, gunshot and captive bolt. The use of anesthetics for euthanasia is costly and complicates carcass disposal. These issues can be avoided by use of a physical method such as gunshot or captive bolt; however, each requires that certain conditions be met to assure an immediate loss of consciousness and death. For example, the caliber of firearm and type of bullet are important considerations when gunshot is used. When captive bolt is used, a penetrating captive bolt loaded with the appropriate powder charge and accompanied by a follow up (adjunctive) step to assure death are required. The success of physical methods also requires careful selection of the anatomic site for entry of a “free bullet” or “bolt” in the case of penetrating captive bolt. Disease eradication plans for animal health emergencies necessitate methods of euthanasia that will facilitate rapid and efficient depopulation of animals while preserving their welfare to the greatest extent possible. A portable pneumatic captive bolt device has been developed and validated as effective for use in mass depopulation scenarios. Finally, while most tend to focus on the technical aspects of euthanasia, it is extremely important that no one forget the human cost for those who may be required to perform the task of euthanasia on a regular basis. Symptoms including depression, grief, sleeplessness and destructive behaviors including alcoholism and drug abuse are not uncommon for those who participate in the euthanasia of animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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