Special Issue "Ethology and Animal Welfare"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Marie-Christine Meunier-Salaün

INRA-AgroCampus Ouest, UMR1348-PEGASE 16 Le Clos – 35590 Saint-Gilles, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: animal behavior; animal welfare; cognition; emotion; human–animal relationships; livestock precision farming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The motivation behind this Agriculture Special Issue is to highlight the key challenges of ethology science to provide knowledge and opportunities in animal production communities to face the animal welfare issues. The four Tinbergen's questions on the proximal and ultimate causes, the ontogeny and the phylogeny of behaviors, applied in research on farm animals, provide comprehensive view of the whole organism, the specific behavioural needs and the subjective experiences. Moreover, the enlarged cross-domain interactions between the ethology closely related to other scientific disciplines, such as physiology, pathology, health, immunology, endocrinology, neuroscience and genetic, and applied areas, such as ergonomic and livestock precision farming, are major opportunities for the stakeholders involved in the animal productions to take into account the animal welfare in the evolution of housing, equipment and management practices. In this Special Issue, we will welcome articles on how the concepts and methods used to study animal behavior (from ethology or interdisciplinary approaches) contribute to a greater understanding of animal welfare and to its quantitative and qualitative assessment. Articles addressing practical issues in agriculture in responses to ethical, economic and political dimensions of animal welfare issues are also welcome.

Dr. Marie-Christine Meunier-Salaün
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Tinbergen's four questions echoing animal welfare issues
  • Functioning of behavioural systems
  • Natural living and adaptations to livestock contexts
  • Subjectives experiences
  • Social behaviour/human–animal interactions
  • Ethology and Human social sciences
  • Ethology challenges in Precision Livestock Farming
  • Animal welfare assessment
  • Genetic and behaviour

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication “Naturalness” and Its Relation to Animal Welfare from an Ethological Perspective
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090136
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 31 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at
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Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at the time when the mechanism evolved. Function and goal may be de-coupled in a novel environment such as artificial housing conditions. We argue that an animal that can perform the behaviour it wants and can reach the goals it likes can behave according to what is “in-its-nature” even under human influenced conditions. We illustrate this argument using abnormal sucking behaviour in calves and piglets as well as dehorning in cattle and goats. We conclude that a minimal welfare standard is ensured for animals that are given the opportunity to behave as is in-their-nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethology and Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessDiscussion Why Pain Is Still a Welfare Issue for Farm Animals, and How Facial Expression Could Be the Answer
Agriculture 2018, 8(8), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8080127
Received: 12 July 2018 / Revised: 28 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
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Abstract
Pain is a sensory and emotional experience that significantly affects animal welfare and has negative impacts on the economics of farming. Pain is often associated with common production diseases such as lameness and mastitis, as well as introduced to the animal through routine
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Pain is a sensory and emotional experience that significantly affects animal welfare and has negative impacts on the economics of farming. Pain is often associated with common production diseases such as lameness and mastitis, as well as introduced to the animal through routine husbandry practices such as castration and tail docking. Farm animals are prey species which tend not to overtly express pain or weakness, making recognizing and evaluating pain incredibly difficult. Current methods of pain assessment do not provide information on what the animal is experiencing at that moment in time, only that its experience is having a long term negative impact on its behavior and biological functioning. Measures that provide reliable information about the animals’ affective state in that moment are urgently required; facial expression as a pain assessment tool has this ability. Automation of the detection and analysis of facial expression is currently in development, providing further incentive to use these methods in animal welfare assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethology and Animal Welfare)
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