Open AccessReview
To Group or Not to Group? Good Practice for Housing Male Laboratory Mice
Animals 2017, 7(12), 88; doi:10.3390/ani7120088 -
Abstract
It is widely recommended to group-house male laboratory mice because they are ‘social animals’, but male mice do not naturally share territories and aggression can be a serious welfare problem. Even without aggression, not all animals within a group will be in a
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It is widely recommended to group-house male laboratory mice because they are ‘social animals’, but male mice do not naturally share territories and aggression can be a serious welfare problem. Even without aggression, not all animals within a group will be in a state of positive welfare. Rather, many male mice may be negatively affected by the stress of repeated social defeat and subordination, raising concerns about welfare and also research validity. However, individual housing may not be an appropriate solution, given the welfare implications associated with no social contact. An essential question is whether it is in the best welfare interests of male mice to be group- or singly housed. This review explores the likely impacts—positive and negative—of both housing conditions, presents results of a survey of current practice and awareness of mouse behavior, and includes recommendations for good practice and future research. We conclude that whether group- or single-housing is better (or less worse) in any situation is highly context-dependent according to several factors including strain, age, social position, life experiences, and housing and husbandry protocols. It is important to recognise this and evaluate what is preferable from animal welfare and ethical perspectives in each case. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Mental Homologies of Mammals. Towards an Understanding of Another Mammals World View
Animals 2017, 7(12), 87; doi:10.3390/ani7120087 -
Abstract
Mammals’ mental homologies include that they look after their young, suckle and protect them; they acquire information about the world by learning. They have five types of sensory receptors and a brain to analyze the information and they feel: that is they are
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Mammals’ mental homologies include that they look after their young, suckle and protect them; they acquire information about the world by learning. They have five types of sensory receptors and a brain to analyze the information and they feel: that is they are sentient. Mental homologies have been largely ignored by behavioural scientists since Darwin because of certain historical beliefs. This however has not been the case for people who have had to do with non-human mammals who have long recognized their mental similarities to humans. As a result, behavioural science has sponsored some inappropriate research (examples are given). The study of another mammal species epistemology, (knowledge and world view) requires a recognition of these mental homologies. The result of a 25 year multi-disciplinary study indicates that there are nine mammalian mental homologies which define mammals. These are discussed and reviewed and further mental aptitudes which logically follow from these are pointed out. A Conditional Anthropomorphic approach is proposed. By recognizing the body/mind, whole “being” homologies of mammals, we can advance in understanding other mammal species’ and individual’s epistemology (world view), and consequently better their welfare and enrich our own lives. Full article
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 -
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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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Professional Affiliation on Expert’s View on Welfare Measures
Animals 2017, 7(11), 85; doi:10.3390/ani7110085 -
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 AccessFeature PaperArticle
Calves Use an Automated Brush and a Hanging Rope When Pair-Housed
Animals 2017, 7(11), 84; doi:10.3390/ani7110084 -
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
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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 -
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 AccessArticle
Perceptions of Hunting and Hunters by U.S. Respondents
Animals 2017, 7(11), 83; doi:10.3390/ani7110083 -
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 AccessReview
Addressing the Challenges of Conducting Observational Studies in Sheep Abattoirs
Animals 2017, 7(11), 82; doi:10.3390/ani7110082 -
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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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 -
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
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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 -
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 AccessArticle
Environmental Impact and Relative Invasiveness of Free-Roaming Domestic Carnivores—a North American Survey of Governmental Agencies
Animals 2017, 7(10), 78; doi:10.3390/ani7100078 -
Abstract
A survey of the United States and Canadian governmental agencies investigated the environmental impact and relative invasiveness of free-roaming domestic non-native carnivores—dogs, cats, and ferrets. Agencies represented wildlife, fish, game, natural or environmental resources, parks and recreation, veterinary and human health, animal control,
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A survey of the United States and Canadian governmental agencies investigated the environmental impact and relative invasiveness of free-roaming domestic non-native carnivores—dogs, cats, and ferrets. Agencies represented wildlife, fish, game, natural or environmental resources, parks and recreation, veterinary and human health, animal control, and agriculture. Respondents were asked to document the number and frequency of sightings of unconfined animals, evidence for environmental harm, and the resulting “degree of concern” in their respective jurisdictions. Results confirmed the existence of feral (breeding) cats and dogs, documenting high levels of concern regarding the impact of these animals on both continental and surrounding insular habitats. Except for occasional strays, no free-roaming or feral ferrets were reported; nor were there reports of ferrets impacting native wildlife, including ground-nesting birds, or sensitive species. This is the first study to report the relative impact of free-roaming domestic carnivores. Dogs and cats meet the current definition of “invasive” species, whereas ferrets do not. Differences in how each species impacts the North American environment highlights the complex interaction between non-native species and their environment. Public attitudes and perceptions regarding these species may be a factor in their control and agency management priorities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Supporting the Development and Adoption of Automatic Lameness Detection Systems in Dairy Cattle: Effect of System Cost and Performance on Potential Market Shares
Animals 2017, 7(10), 77; doi:10.3390/ani7100077 -
Abstract
Most automatic lameness detection system prototypes have not yet been commercialized, and are hence not yet adopted in practice. Therefore, the objective of this study was to simulate the effect of detection performance (percentage missed lame cows and percentage false alarms) and system
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Most automatic lameness detection system prototypes have not yet been commercialized, and are hence not yet adopted in practice. Therefore, the objective of this study was to simulate the effect of detection performance (percentage missed lame cows and percentage false alarms) and system cost on the potential market share of three automatic lameness detection systems relative to visual detection: a system attached to the cow, a walkover system, and a camera system. Simulations were done using a utility model derived from survey responses obtained from dairy farmers in Flanders, Belgium. Overall, systems attached to the cow had the largest market potential, but were still not competitive with visual detection. Increasing the detection performance or lowering the system cost led to higher market shares for automatic systems at the expense of visual detection. The willingness to pay for extra performance was €2.57 per % less missed lame cows, €1.65 per % less false alerts, and €12.7 for lame leg indication, respectively. The presented results could be exploited by system designers to determine the effect of adjustments to the technology on a system’s potential adoption rate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Objective Measures for the Assessment of Post-Operative Pain in Bos indicus Bull Calves Following Castration
Animals 2017, 7(10), 76; doi:10.3390/ani7100076 -
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess pain in Bos indicus bull calves following surgical castration. Forty-two animals were randomised to four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative lidocaine (CL, n = 12); castration with pre-operative meloxicam (CM,
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The aim of the study was to assess pain in Bos indicus bull calves following surgical castration. Forty-two animals were randomised to four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative lidocaine (CL, n = 12); castration with pre-operative meloxicam (CM, n = 12); and, castration alone (C, n = 12). Bodyweight was measured regularly and pedometers provided data on activity and rest from day −7 (7 days prior to surgery) to 13. Blood was collected for the measurement of serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin, fibrinogen, and iron on days 0, 3 and 6. Bodyweight and pedometry data were analysed with a mixed effect model. The blood results were analysed with repeated measure one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). There was no treatment effect on bodyweight or activity. The duration of rest was greatest in the CM group and lowest in the C group. There was a significant increase in the concentrations of SAA, haptoglobin, and fibrinogen in all of the groups from day 0 to 3. Iron concentrations were not different at the time points it was measured. The results of this study suggest that animals rest for longer periods after the pre-operative administration of meloxicam. The other objective assessments measured in this study were not able to consistently differentiate between treatment groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Brazilian Citizens’ Opinions and Attitudes about Farm Animal Production Systems
Animals 2017, 7(10), 75; doi:10.3390/ani7100075 -
Abstract
The inclusion of societal input is needed for food animal production industries to retain their “social license to operate”; failure to engage with the public on this topic risks the long-term sustainability of these industries. The primary aim of this study was to
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The inclusion of societal input is needed for food animal production industries to retain their “social license to operate”; failure to engage with the public on this topic risks the long-term sustainability of these industries. The primary aim of this study was to explore the beliefs and attitudes of Brazilians citizens not associated with livestock production towards farm animal production. A related secondary aim was to identify the specific beliefs and attitudes towards systems that are associated with restriction of movement. Each participant was shown pictures representing two of five possible major food animal industries (laying hens, beef cattle, pregnant sows, lactating sows, and poultry meat). Participants were presented a six pages survey that included demographic questions plus two sets of two pictures and a series of questions pertaining to the pictures. Each set of pictures represented a particular industry where one picture represented a housing type that is associated with behavioural restrictions and the other picture represented a system that allowed for a greater degree of movement. Participants were asked their perceptions on the prevalence of each system in Brazil, then their preference of one picture vs. the other, and the reasons justifying their preference. Immediately following, the participant repeated the same exercise with the second set of two pictures representing another industry followed by the same series of questions as described above. Quantitative data were analysed with mixed effects logistic regression, and qualitative responses were coded into themes. The proportion of participants that believed animals are reared in confinement varied by animal production type: 23% (beef cattle), 82% (poultry), 81% (laying hens), and 60% (swine). A large majority (79%) stated that farm animals are not well-treated in Brazil. Overall, participants preferred systems that were not associated with behavioural restriction. The preference for free-range or cage-free systems was justified based on the following reasons: naturalness, animals’ freedom to move, and ethics. A minority of participants indicated a preference for more restrictive systems, citing reasons associated with food security and food safety, increased productivity and hygiene. Our results suggest that the majority of our participants, preferred farm animal production systems that provide greater freedom of movement, which aligned with their perception that these systems are better for the animal. Our results provide some evidence that the current farm animal housing practices that are associated with restriction of movement, which are gaining traction in Brazil, may not align with societal expectations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
VetCompass Australia: A National Big Data Collection System for Veterinary Science
Animals 2017, 7(10), 74; doi:10.3390/ani7100074 -
Abstract
VetCompass Australia is veterinary medical records-based research coordinated with the global VetCompass endeavor to maximize its quality and effectiveness for Australian companion animals (cats, dogs, and horses). Bringing together all seven Australian veterinary schools, it is the first nationwide surveillance system collating clinical
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VetCompass Australia is veterinary medical records-based research coordinated with the global VetCompass endeavor to maximize its quality and effectiveness for Australian companion animals (cats, dogs, and horses). Bringing together all seven Australian veterinary schools, it is the first nationwide surveillance system collating clinical records on companion-animal diseases and treatments. VetCompass data service collects and aggregates real-time, clinical records for researchers to interrogate, delivering sustainable and cost-effective access to data from hundreds of veterinary practitioners nationwide. Analysis of these clinical records will reveal geographical and temporal trends in the prevalence of inherited and acquired diseases, identify frequently prescribed treatments, revolutionize clinical auditing, help the veterinary profession to rank research priorities, and assure evidence-based companion-animal curricula in veterinary schools. VetCompass Australia will progress in three phases: (1) roll-out of the VetCompass platform to harvest Australian veterinary clinical record data; (2) development and enrichment of the coding (data-presentation) platform; and (3) creation of a world-first, real-time surveillance interface with natural language processing (NLP) technology. The first of these three phases is described in the current article. Advances in the collection and sharing of records from numerous practices will enable veterinary professionals to deliver a vastly improved level of care for companion animals that will improve their quality of life. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Clicker Training for Shelter Cats
Animals 2017, 7(10), 73; doi:10.3390/ani7100073 -
Abstract
Clicker training has the potential to mitigate stress among shelter cats by providing environmental enrichment and human interaction. This study assessed the ability of cats housed in a shelter-like setting to learn new behaviors via clicker training in a limited amount of time.
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Clicker training has the potential to mitigate stress among shelter cats by providing environmental enrichment and human interaction. This study assessed the ability of cats housed in a shelter-like setting to learn new behaviors via clicker training in a limited amount of time. One hundred shelter cats were enrolled in the study. Their baseline ability to perform four specific behaviors touching a target, sitting, spinning, and giving a high-five was assessed, before exposing them to 15, five-min clicker training sessions, followed by a post-training assessment. Significant gains in performance scores were found for all four cued behaviors after training (p = 0.001). A cat’s age and sex did not have any effect on successful learning, but increased food motivation was correlated with greater gains in learning for two of the cued behaviors: high-five and targeting. Temperament also correlated with learning, as bolder cats at post assessment demonstrated greater gains in performance scores than shyer ones. Over the course of this study, 79% of cats mastered the ability to touch a target, 27% mastered sitting, 60% mastered spinning, and 31% mastered high-fiving. Aside from the ability to influence the cats’ well-being, clicker training also has the potential to make cats more desirable to adopters. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tech-Savvy Beef Cattle? How Heifers Respond to Moving Virtual Fence Lines
Animals 2017, 7(9), 72; doi:10.3390/ani7090072 -
Abstract
Global Positioning System (GPS)-based virtual fences offer the potential to improve the management of grazing animals. Prototype collar devices utilising patented virtual fencing algorithms were placed on six Angus heifers in a 6.15 hectare paddock. After a “no fence” period, sequential, shifting virtual
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Global Positioning System (GPS)-based virtual fences offer the potential to improve the management of grazing animals. Prototype collar devices utilising patented virtual fencing algorithms were placed on six Angus heifers in a 6.15 hectare paddock. After a “no fence” period, sequential, shifting virtual fences restricted the animals to 40%, 60%, and 80% of the paddock area widthways and 50% lengthways across 22 days. Audio cues signaled the virtual boundary, and were paired with electrical stimuli if the animals continued forward into the boundary. Within approximately 48 h, the cattle learned the 40% fence and were henceforth restricted to the subsequent inclusion zones a minimum of 96.70% (±standard error 0.01%) of the time. Over time, the animals increasingly stayed within the inclusion zones using audio cues alone, and on average, approached the new fence within 4.25 h. The animals were thus attentive to the audio cue, not the fence location. The time spent standing and lying and the number of steps were similar between inclusion zones (all p ≥ 0.42). More lying bouts occurred at the 80% and lengthways inclusion zones relative to “no fence” (p = 0.04). Further research should test different cattle groups in variable paddock settings and measure physiological welfare responses to the virtual fencing stimuli. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Penile Injuries in Immunocastrated and Entire Male Pigs of One Fattening Farm
Animals 2017, 7(9), 71; doi:10.3390/ani7090071 -
Abstract
Penile injuries in boars have been discussed as a relevant welfare problem in pork production with entire males (EM). The incidence of penile injuries with immunocastrated boars has not been described so far. Thus, it was the aim of this study to systematically
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Penile injuries in boars have been discussed as a relevant welfare problem in pork production with entire males (EM). The incidence of penile injuries with immunocastrated boars has not been described so far. Thus, it was the aim of this study to systematically compare frequency and severity of penile injuries in EM and IC. Incidence and size of penile injuries (wounds, scars, hematomas) were evaluated in 192 IC and 215 EM from one farm after slaughter (120 kg live weight; four batches (BA) in at least weekly intervals over five weeks). 75.8% EM and 48.4% IC showed injuries at the pars libra of the penis. Scars were observed in 71.2% EM and 44.8% IC. Scars/animal were significantly influenced by treatment (IC vs. EM), B and treatment x B and increased with age in EM (BA1: 2.61 ± 3.05; BA4: 3.59 ± 3.47), but not in IC (BA1: 2.00 ± 3.02; BA4: 1.22 ± 1.91). Wounds were obvious in 17.2% EM and 8.3% IC. Wounds/animal were only influenced significantly by treatment and were lower in IC than in EM. Thus, it is concluded that immunocastration reduces the frequency and severity of penile injuries in IC when compared to EM of same age and weight. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary
The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: Why Harm–Benefit Analysis and Its Emphasis on Practical Benefit Jeopardizes the Credibility of Research
Animals 2017, 7(9), 70; doi:10.3390/ani7090070 -
Abstract
It is our concern that European Union Directive 2010/63/EU with its current project evaluation of animal research in the form of a harm–benefit analysis may lead to an erosion of the credibility of research. The HBA assesses whether the inflicted harm on animals
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It is our concern that European Union Directive 2010/63/EU with its current project evaluation of animal research in the form of a harm–benefit analysis may lead to an erosion of the credibility of research. The HBA assesses whether the inflicted harm on animals is outweighed by potential prospective benefits. Recent literature on prospective benefit analysis prioritizes “societal benefits” that have a foreseeable, positive impact on humans, animals, or the environment over benefit in the form of knowledge. In this study, we will argue that whether practical benefits are realized is (a) impossible to predict and (b) exceeds the scope and responsibility of researchers. Furthermore, we believe that the emphasis on practical benefits has the drawback of driving researchers into speculation on the societal benefit of their research and, therefore, into promising too much, thereby leading to a loss of trust and credibility. Thus, the concepts of benefit and benefit assessment in the HBA require a re-evaluation in a spirit that embraces the value of knowledge in our society. The generation of scientific knowledge has been utilised to great benefit for humans, animals, and the environment. The HBA, as it currently stands, tends to turn this idea upside down and implies that research is of value only if the resulting findings bring about immediate societal benefit. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Survey of Veterinarians Using a Novel Physical Compression Squeeze Procedure in the Management of Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome in Foals
Animals 2017, 7(9), 69; doi:10.3390/ani7090069 -
Abstract
Horses are a precocious species that must accomplish several milestones that are critical to survival in the immediate post-birth period for their survival. One essential milestone is the successful transition from the intrauterine unconsciousness to an extrauterine state of consciousness or awareness. This
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Horses are a precocious species that must accomplish several milestones that are critical to survival in the immediate post-birth period for their survival. One essential milestone is the successful transition from the intrauterine unconsciousness to an extrauterine state of consciousness or awareness. This transition involves a complex withdrawal of consciousness inhibitors and an increase in neuroactivating factors that support awareness. This process involves neuroactive hormones as well as inputs related to factors such as cold, visual, olfactory, and auditory stimuli. One factor not previously considered in this birth transition is a yet unreported direct neural reflex response to labor-induced physical compression of the fetus in the birth canal (squeezing). Neonatal maladjustment syndrome (NMS) is a disorder of the newborn foal characterized by altered behavior, low affinity for the mare, poor awareness of the environment, failure to bond to the mother, abnormal sucking, and other neurologically-based abnormalities. This syndrome has been associated with altered events during birth, and was believed to be caused exclusively by hypoxia and ischemia. However, recent findings revealed an association of the NMS syndrome with the persistence of high concentrations of in utero neuromodulating hormones (neurosteroids) in the postnatal period. Anecdotal evidence demonstrated that a novel physical compression (squeeze) method that applies 20 min of sustained pressure to the thorax of some neonatal foals with this syndrome might rapidly hasten recovery. This survey provides information about outcomes and time frames to recovery comparing neonatal foals that were given this squeeze treatment to foals treated with routine medical therapy alone. Results revealed that the squeeze procedure, when applied for 20 min, resulted in a faster full recovery of some foals diagnosed with NMS. The adjunctive use of a non-invasive squeeze method may improve animal welfare by hastening recovery and foal–mare interactions that minimize health problems. This would also avoid or reduce costs arising from hospitalization associated with veterinary and nursing care that sometimes leads owners to elect for euthanasia. Full article
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