Animals2014, 4(4), 693-711; doi:10.3390/ani4040693 - published 30 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Most laboratory animals used in research are vendor-bred and transferred to research facilities. Transfer procedures might have considerable and unintended effects on research results. In the present study we compared physiological and behavioral parameters before and after external and internal transfer, as well as between transferred and non-transferred Wistar rats. The impact of both external and internal transfer on body weight, plasma corticosterone levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and locomotor activity was studied in both male and female Wistar rats, taking into account the sex differences in stress responsivity. External transfer was found to decrease body weight, increase plasma corticosterone, increase activity, increase heart rate in female rats, but decrease heart rate in male rats. Parameters showed differences between the sexes and light phases. This study shows that acclimatization after transfer is sex-specific and researchers should take the sex into consideration when determining the acclimatization period. It is recommended to allow for acclimatization of at least 8 days in males and two weeks in females after external transfer and timely (2 days before starting experiments) transfer the animals internally to the testing room.
Animals2014, 4(4), 670-692; doi:10.3390/ani4040670 - published 29 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A study was conducted in 2009 at two locations in Manitoba (Killarney and Souris), Canada to determine the impact of off-stream waterers (OSW) with or without natural barriers on (i) amount of time cattle spent in the 10 m buffer created within the riparian area, referred to as the riparian polygon (RP), (ii) watering location (OSW or stream), and (iii) animal performance measured as weight gain. This study was divided into three 28-day periods over the grazing season. At each location, the pasture—which ranged from 21.0 ha to 39.2 ha in size—was divided into three treatments: no OSW nor barriers (1CONT), OSW with barriers along the stream bank to deter cattle from watering at the stream (2BARR), and OSW without barriers (3NOBARR). Cattle in 2BARR spent less time in the RP in Periods 1 (p = 0.0002), 2 (p = 0.1116), and 3 (p < 0.0001) at the Killarney site compared to cattle in 3NOBARR at the same site. Cattle in 2BARR at the Souris site spent more time in the RP in Period 1 (p < 0.0001) and less time in Period 2 (p = 0.0002) compared to cattle in 3NOBARR. Cattle did use the OSW, but not exclusively, as watering at the stream was still observed. The observed inconsistency in the effectiveness of the natural barriers on deterring cattle from the riparian area between periods and locations may be partly attributable to the environmental conditions present during this field trial as well as difference in pasture size and the ability of the established barriers to deter cattle from using the stream as a water source. Treatment had no significant effect (p > 0.05) on cow and calf weights averaged over the summer period. These results indicate that the presence of an OSW does not create significant differences in animal performance when used in extensive pasture scenarios such as those studied within the present study. Whereas the barriers did not consistently discourage watering at the stream, the results provide some indication of the efficacy of the OSW as well as the natural barriers on deterring cattle from the riparian area.
Animals2014, 4(4), 657-669; doi:10.3390/ani4040657 - published 27 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transport of pigs to separate production facilities at the time of weaning is a common practice, primarily performed to reduce vertical transfer of disease and enhance production and overall farm efficiency. During transport, pigs are exposed to numerous stressors in conjunction with the stress experienced as a result of weaning. In this review, the behavioral and physiological response of pigs experiencing weaning and transport simultaneously will be described, including the effects of space allowance, season and transport duration. Based on the scientific literature, the gaps in the knowledge regarding potential welfare issues are discussed. Changes in behavior and physiology suggest that weaned pigs may experience stress due to transport. Space allowance, season and duration are aspects of transport that can have a marked impact on these responses. To date, the literature regarding the effects of transport on weaned pigs has primarily focused on the short term stress response and little is known about the effects of concurrent weaning and transport on other aspects of pig welfare including morbidity and mortality rates. Greater understanding of the short and long term consequences of transport on weaned pig welfare particularly in relation to factors such as trip duration, provision of feed and water, and best handling practices would benefit the swine industry. Furthermore, the development of guidelines and recommendations to enhance the short and long term welfare of weaned pigs in relation to transport are needed.
Animals2014, 4(4), 643-656; doi:10.3390/ani4040643 - published 10 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Although reflecting a long tradition of moral reflection that the use of animals is acceptable as long as it is humane, the tension between causing harm to animals in research and the benefits to humans can nevertheless be troubling. Utilitarian arguments that appeal to the value of those practices in sustaining and enhancing human lives, and rights-based arguments which seek to constrain them, can be inadequate. Reflecting a more engaging, inclusive and sophisticated understanding of human activity, justification for animal use could be expanded to reflect the fullness and richness of ethical thinking. This might see more explicit inclusion of perspectives borne of virtues, caring, experiences, and respect for the essence of the animal, and different ways of understanding and knowing animals, values drawn from the middle ground of commonly acceptable human-animal relationships. Such values, already clearly evident in research, could be more widely integrated into arguments justifying animal use. A more expansive approach would not only reflect reality and acknowledge that costs and benefits are shared more widely, but it might result in more equitable, effective and humane science. It might also serve to reduce some of the tension long evident in the relationship between humans and animals.
Animals2014, 4(4), 627-642; doi:10.3390/ani4040627 - published 29 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of seasonal environment, transport conditions, and time in lairage on pork quality and serum cortisol concentrations. Market hogs were slaughtered during winter (n = 535), spring (n = 645), summer (n = 644), and fall (n = 488). Within season, hogs were randomly assigned to treatments in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, with 2 deck locations (top vs. bottom) and 2 transport and lairage durations (3 h vs. 6 h). Blood samples were collected at exsanguination for analysis of cortisol concentration. Loins were collected at 24 h postmortem for pork quality assessment. Season and deck did not have a main effect on cortisol concentrations or pork quality. Hogs transported 6 h had increased cortisol concentrations (103.0 vs. 95.5 ng/mL; P < 0.001) and decreased L* (52.49 vs. 52.69; P = 0.09), b* (6.28 vs. 6.36; P = 0.03), and hue angle (20.70 vs. 20.95; P = 0.03) compared to hogs transported 3 h. Hogs subjected to 6 h of lairage had increased 24-h pH (5.69 vs. 5.66; P = 0.005), a* (16.64 vs. 16.48; P < 0.0001), b* (6.42 vs. 6.22; P < 0.0001), saturation (17.85 vs. 17.64; P < 0.0001), and hue angle (21.01 vs. 20.65; P = 0.002) and decreased L* (52.49 vs. 52.69; P = 0.07) when compared to hogs subjected to 3 h of lairage.
Animals2014, 4(4), 612-626; doi:10.3390/ani4040612 - published 29 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Leptospirosis is an emerging zoonotic disease of worldwide distribution. A cross-sectional study was conducted in urban and rural environments in southern Chile (1) to detect domestic cats with serologic evidence of exposure to Leptospira spp.;(2) to determine the prevalence of anti-Leptospira antibodies; (3) to describe seroprevalences according to different characteristics of the animals, and (4) to identify risk factors associated with the seropositivity in the Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT). Blood samples were taken from 124 owned cats. A frequentist and Bayesian approach were applied for prevalence estimation. The overall apparent prevalence of anti-Leptospira antibodies was 8.1% (95% Confident Interval = 3.9–4.3). With the Bayesian approach, the overall True Prevalence (TP) was 5.2% (95% Credibility Interval (CrI) = 0.6–12.4). The TP for urban cats was 1.8% (95% CrI = 0.1–7.2) and the TP for rural felines was 25.2% (95% CrI = 9.3–46.6). Cats that live in a place where agricultural activities are performed with water that flows in streams or backwater and cats that live in places near flooded areas had a higher risk of seropositivity in MAT. The exposure to Leptospira spp. in domestic cats of urban and rural origin in Southern Chile is a public health concern that requires an increased awareness and the implementation of preventive measures.