Animals2014, 4(3), 463-475; doi:10.3390/ani4030463 - published online 17 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pasture-based dairy production has been a major source of income for most family farms in the south of Brazil. Increasing milk prices have spurred an increase in grain supplementation, which has been poorly implemented, resulting in low levels of efficiency. To evaluate the consequences of supplementation on milk production and composition, grazing behavior and economic return, the widely used grain management system (CC-commercial concentrate, containing 21% CP, offered at 1 kg per 3.7 L of milk) was compared with an energy supplement (GC-ground corn, with 9.5% CP, offered at 0.4% of live weight). Ten Holstein cows were paired into two groups, and subjected to the two treatments in a crossover design. The cows remained in the same grazing group, and the grain supplement was offered individually at milking time and consumed completely. Each experimental period lasted 14 days, with 10 days for diet adaptation and four days for data collection; individual milk production and samples were collected to determine levels of fat, protein, lactose, carotenoids, vitamin A and N-urea. Grazing behavior was observed (scans every 5 min) in the first 4 h after the morning milking, and chemical composition of hand plucked samples of forage were measured. The cost of the supplement and profitability per treatment were calculated. Cows supplemented with GC consumed herbage with higher crude protein (CP: 16.23 vs. 14.62%; p < 0.05), had higher biting rate (44.21 vs. 39.54 bites/min; p < 0.03) and grazing time (22.20 vs. 20.55 scans; p < 0.05) than when receiving CC. There were no differences in milk composition between treatments (p > 0.05). However, higher concentrations of β-carotene and total carotenoids were detected in the milk of cows at 70–164 days of lactation, compared to <70 days of lactation (p < 0.05). Milk production was higher (13.19 vs. 11.59 kg/day; p < 0.05) when cows consumed CC, but resulted in lower profitability compared to GC (US$ 4.39 vs. US$ 4.83/cow per day). Our results show that higher productivity does not necessarily improve profitability. Cows receiving supplement with lower levels of protein were able to adjust their grazing behavior to meet their protein needs and this level of diet modification did not alter milk composition.
Animals2014, 4(3), 446-462; doi:10.3390/ani4030446 - published online 15 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Schemes for the assessment of farm animal welfare and assurance of welfare standards have proliferated in recent years. An acknowledged short-coming has been the lack of impact of these schemes on the welfare standards achieved on farm due in part to sociological factors concerning their implementation. Here we propose the concept of welfare performance based on a broad set of performance attributes of an enterprise and describe a tool based on risk assessment and benchmarking methods for measuring and managing welfare performance. The tool termed the Unified Field Index is presented in a general form comprising three modules addressing animal, resource, and management factors. Domains within these modules accommodate the principle conceptual perspectives for welfare assessment: biological functioning; emotional states; and naturalness. Pan-enterprise analysis in any livestock sector could be used to benchmark welfare performance of individual enterprises and also provide statistics of welfare performance for the livestock sector. An advantage of this concept of welfare performance is its use of continuous scales of measurement rather than traditional pass/fail measures. Through the feedback provided via benchmarking, the tool should help farmers better engage in on-going improvement of farm practices that affect animal welfare.
Animals2014, 4(3), 434-445; doi:10.3390/ani4030434 - published online 15 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Since the middle of the 20th century, pets are more frequently considered as “family members” within households. However, cats and dogs still can be a source of human infection by various zoonotic pathogens. Among emerging or re-emerging zoonoses, viral diseases, such as rabies (mainly from dog pet trade or travel abroad), but also feline cowpox and newly recognized noroviruses or rotaviruses or influenza viruses can sicken our pets and be transmitted to humans. Bacterial zoonoses include bacteria transmitted by bites or scratches, such as pasteurellosis or cat scratch disease, leading to severe clinical manifestations in people because of their age or immune status and also because of our closeness, not to say intimacy, with our pets. Cutaneous contamination with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Leptospira spp., and/or aerosolization of bacteria causing tuberculosis or kennel cough are also emerging/re-emerging pathogens that can be transmitted by our pets, as well as gastro-intestinal pathogens such as Salmonella or Campylobacter. Parasitic and fungal pathogens, such as echinococcosis, leishmaniasis, onchocercosis, or sporotrichosis, are also re-emerging or emerging pet related zoonoses. Common sense and good personal and pet hygiene are the key elements to prevent such a risk of zoonotic infection.
Animals2014, 4(3), 409-433; doi:10.3390/ani4030409 - published online 8 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While the overall trend in euthanasia has been decreasing nationally, large dogs are at a higher risk of euthanasia than other sized dogs in most animal shelters in the United States. We hypothesized one way to increase the lives saved with respect to these large dogs is to keep them home when possible. In order to develop solutions to decrease relinquishment, a survey was developed to learn more about the reasons owners relinquish large dogs. The survey was administered to owners relinquishing their dogs at two large municipal facilities, one in New York City and one in Washington, D.C. There were 157 responses between the two facilities. We found both significant similarities and differences between respondents and their dogs from the two cities. We identified opportunities to potentially support future relinquishers and found that targets for interventions are likely different in each community.
Animals2014, 4(3), 391-408; doi:10.3390/ani4030391 - published online 30 June 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The exploration of public attitudes toward animal research is important given recent developments in animal research (e.g., increasing creation and use of genetically modified animals, and plans for progress in areas such as personalized medicine), and the shifting relationship between science and society (i.e., a move toward the democratization of science). As such, public engagement on issues related to animal research, including exploration of public attitudes, provides a means of achieving socially acceptable scientific practice and oversight through an understanding of societal values and concerns. Numerous studies have been conducted to explore public attitudes toward animal use, and more specifically the use of animals in research. This paper reviews relevant literature using three categories of influential factors: personal and cultural characteristics, animal characteristics, and research characteristics. A critique is given of survey style methods used to collect data on public attitudes, and recommendations are given on how best to address current gaps in public attitudes literature.