Animals2016, 6(5), 30; doi:10.3390/ani6050030 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Rodeos are public events at which stockpeople face tests of their ability to manage cattle and horses, some of which relate directly to rangeland cattle husbandry. One of these is calf roping, in which a calf released from a chute is pursued by a horse and rider, who lassoes, lifts and drops the calf to the ground and finally ties it around the legs. Measurements were made of behavior and stress responses of ten rodeo-naïve calves marshalled by a horse and rider, and ten rodeo-experienced calves that were roped. Naïve calves marshalled by a horse and rider traversed the arena slowly, whereas rodeo-experienced calves ran rapidly until roped. Each activity was repeated once after two hours. Blood samples taken before and after each activity demonstrated increased cortisol, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine in both groups. However, there was no evidence of a continued increase in stress hormones in either group by the start of the repeated activity, suggesting that the elevated stress hormones were not a response to a prolonged effect of the initial blood sampling. It is concluded that both the marshalling of calves naïve to the roping chute by stockpeople and the roping and dropping of experienced calves are stressful in a simulated rodeo calf roping event.
Animals2016, 6(5), 28; doi:10.3390/ani6050028 - published 26 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this study, the range use and behaviour of laying hens in commercial free-range flocks was explored. Six flocks were each visited on four separate days and data collected from their outdoor area (divided into zones based on distance from shed and available resources). These were: apron (0–10 m from shed normally without cover or other enrichments); enriched belt (10–50 m from shed where resources such as manmade cover, saplings and dust baths were provided); and outer range (beyond 50 m from shed with no cover and mainly grass pasture). Data collection consisted of counting the number of hens in each zone and recording behaviour, feather condition and nearest neighbour distance (NND) of 20 birds per zone on each visit day. In addition, we used techniques derived from ecological surveys to establish four transects perpendicular to the shed, running through the apron, enriched belt and outer range. Number of hens in each 10 m × 10 m quadrat was recorded four times per day as was the temperature and relative humidity of the outer range. On average, 12.5% of hens were found outside. Of these, 5.4% were found in the apron; 4.3% in the enriched zone; and 2.8% were in the outer range. This pattern was supported by data from quadrats, where the density of hens sharply dropped with increasing distance from shed. Consequently, NND was greatest in the outer range, least in the apron and intermediate in the enriched belt. Hens sampled in outer range and enriched belts had better feather condition than those from the apron. Standing, ground pecking, walking and foraging were the most commonly recorded activities with standing and pecking most likely to occur in the apron, and walking and foraging more common in the outer range. Use of the outer range declined with lower temperatures and increasing relative humidity, though use of apron and enriched belt was not affected by variation in these measures. These data support previous findings that outer range areas tend to be under-utilized in commercial free-range flocks and suggest positive relationships between range use, feather condition and increased behavioural opportunities and decline in the use of range in cold and/or damp conditions.
Animals2016, 6(5), 29; doi:10.3390/ani6050029 - published 26 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Australian Magpie ( Cracticus tibicen ) is a common bird found in urban Australian environments where its nest defense behavior during spring brings it into conflict with humans. This article explores the role of print media in covering this conflict. Leximancer software was used to analyze newspaper reports about the Australian Magpie from a sample of 634 news stories, letters-to-the editor and opinion pieces, published in newspapers from around Australia between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2014. The results confirm that stories about these birds are primarily published in the daily regional and weekly suburban press, and that the dominant story frame concerns the risk of “swooping” behavior to cyclists and pedestrians from birds protecting their nests during the spring breeding season. The most prominent sources used by journalists are local and state government representatives, as well as members of the public. The results show that the “swooping season” has become a normal part of the annual news cycle for these publications, with the implication that discourse surrounding the Australian Magpie predominantly concerns the risk these birds pose to humans, and ignores their decline in non-urban environments.
Animals2016, 6(5), 27; doi:10.3390/ani6050027 - published 25 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Daylength used as a management tool has powerful implications on the welfare of both broilers and turkeys. Near-constant light results in many detrimental impacts, including lack of behavioural rhythms and circadian melatonin rhythms. Both are suggestive that sleep fragmentation could result in birds reared on long photoperiods, which can lead to the same negative health and physiological responses as total sleep deprivation. An indirect comparison of the welfare implications of graded levels of daylength on broilers and turkeys clearly indicate that long daylengths depress welfare by increasing mortality, reducing mobility, increasing ocular pathologies and changing behaviour in both species. Furthermore, long daylengths change melatonin secretion patterns and eliminate behavioural and melatonin circadian rhythms, which were measured in broilers in these works. However, feather pecking in turkeys was reduced when birds were exposed to long daylengths. Exactly how much darkness should be included in a management program to maximize welfare will depend on the species, the age of marketing, and in turkeys, bird gender.
Animals2016, 6(5), 26; doi:10.3390/ani6050026 - published 25 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The killing of a satellite-tagged male lion by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe in July 2015 provoked an unprecedented media reaction. We analyse the global media response to the trophy hunting of the lion, nicknamed “Cecil”, a study animal in a long-term project run by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). We collaborated with a media-monitoring company to investigate the development of the media coverage spatially and temporally. Relevant articles were identified using a Boolean search for the terms Cecil AND lion in 127 languages. Stories about Cecil the Lion in the editorial media increased from approximately 15 per day to nearly 12,000 at its peak, and mentions of Cecil the Lion in social media reached 87,533 at its peak. We found that, while there were clear regional differences in the level of media saturation of the Cecil story, the patterns of the development of the coverage of this story were remarkably similar across the globe, and that there was no evidence of a lag between the social media and the editorial media. Further, all the main social media platforms appeared to react in synchrony. This story appears to have spread synchronously across media channels and geographically across the globe over the span of about two days. For lion conservation in particular, and perhaps for wildlife conservation more generally, we speculate that the atmosphere may have been changed significantly. We consider the possible reasons why this incident provoked a reaction unprecedented in the conservation sector.
Animals2016, 6(4), 25; doi:10.3390/ani6040025 - published 25 March 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In boars, sexually motivated mounting can not only cause problems such as lameness, but penile injuries are also reported. The relevance of penis biting in boars is discussed controversially, but reliable data is missing. In the present study, boars (n = 385) and barrows (n = 85) from experimental farms were therefore evaluated for scars, fresh wounds and severe injuries of the penis. Similarly, 321 boars from 11 farms specializing in pork production with boars, and 15 sexually mature wild boars from the hunting season of 2015/16 were included in the study. In domestic boars, a high incidence of penile injuries was obvious (76.6%–91.3% of animals with scars and/or wounds at experimental farms, 64.0%–94.9% at commercial farms). The number of boars with severe injuries was in a similar range in both groups (5.2% vs. 9.3%). At commercial farms, the number of scars but not that of fresh wounds increased per animal with age by 0.3 per week. Moreover, raising boars in mixed groups led to about a 1.5 times higher number of scars than in single-sex groups. In wild boars, a considerable proportion of animals (40%) revealed penile injuries, which were even severe in three animals. We therefore conclude that penis biting is a highly relevant and severe welfare problem in the male pig population, but this phenomenon is not limited to intensive production systems.