Animals2014, 4(3), 524-534; doi:10.3390/ani4030524 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pre-slaughter handling is related to defects in fresh hams that result in exclusion from the DPO Parma chain, including hematomas, lacerations, microhaemorrhages and veining. To determine the effects of transport conditions on hams, we collected data on defects in 901,990 trimmed fresh hams from heavy pigs provided by 3,650 batches from slaughterhouse during 2012 and 2013. For all batches, transport distance (1–276 km) season and year of delivery were considered. A decrease of all defect occurrences was observed for increasing distance up to 170 km (P < 0.05). Above 170 km, however, all defects frequencies increased (P < 0.05). Season showed an effect on the incidence of defects, with an increasing of hematomas and lacerations in winter and autumn respectively (P < 0.05) and the highest percentage of veining and hemorrhages in spring (P < 0.05). Summer had the lowest incidence of defects on fresh hams. We concluded that the incidence of the examined defects and the subsequent rejection for DPO Parma ham production is lower in fresh hams transported 38–170 km during the summer.
Animals2014, 4(3), 515-523; doi:10.3390/ani4030515 - published 19 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Specifically, this study aimed to establish the effects on mortality and morbidity of boarding levels (amount of side-wall trailer ventilation) for finishing pigs in mild weather (8.80 ± 0.30 °C, 71.70% ± 1.12% humidity). Pigs from commercial finishing sites were transported in 302 pot-bellied trailers to commercial processing plants. Measures collected at the processing plant were rates of dead on arrival (DOA), non-ambulatory, non-injured (NANI), non-ambulatory, injured (NAI), and total dead and down (D&D). Boarding levels (% that side walls were closed off with inserted boards) were divided into 3 bins: low, medium, and high, and outside temperature was divided into 4 bins <5 °C, 5.10–10 °C, and 10.10–15 °C and >15 °C. Average rates of DOA, NANI, NAI, and D&D were approximately 0.30%, 0.12%, 0.04%, and 0.46%, respectively. The D&D was highest when boarding level was low with temperatures <5 °C (p < 0.05). However, variations in boarding level (medium and high boarding) in the temperature range of 5.10 °C to 23.30 °C did not affect pig losses.
Animals2014, 4(3), 494-514; doi:10.3390/ani4030494 - published 4 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To explore the challenges and opportunities for pain management for animals used in research an interview study with 9 veterinarians, 3 veterinarian-scientists and 9 scientists, all engaged in animal-based studies in Canada, was carried out. Our broader aim was to contribute to further discussion of how pain can be minimized for animals used in science. Diverse views were identified regarding the ease of recognizing when animals are in pain and whether animals hide pain. Evidence of inconsistencies in pain management across laboratories, institutions and species were also identified. Clarification of the interactions between scientific objectives and pain management are needed, as well as a stronger evidence base for pain management approaches. Detailed examination of pain management for individual invasive animal models may be useful, and may support the development of model-specific pain management protocols.
Animals2014, 4(3), 476-493; doi:10.3390/ani4030476 - published 25 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: During warm weather, incorrect bedding levels on a trailer transporting market weight pigs may result in heat stress, fatigue, and death. Two experiments were conducted in June and July of 2011; Experiment 1 used 80 loads (n = 13,887 pigs) to determine the effects of two bedding levels (3 (68.1 kg) or 6 bags (136.2 kg) of wood shavings/trailer [each bag contained 22.7 kg, 0.2 m3]) on pig measures (surface temperature, vocalizations, slips and falls, and stress signs). Experiment 2 used 131 loads (n = 22,917 pigs) to determine the effects of bedding (3 vs. 6 bags) on transport losses (dead, sum of dead- and euthanized- on arrival; non-ambulatory, sum of fatigued and injured; total transport losses sum of dead and non-ambulatory). Bedding did not affect surface temperature, vocalizations, or slips and falls (p = 0.58, p = 0.50, and p = 0.28, respectively). However, pigs transported on 6 bags/trailer had 1.5% more stress signs than pigs transported on 3 bags/trailer (p < 0.01). No differences were observed between bedding levels for non-ambulatory, dead, or total transport losses (p = 0.10, p = 0.67, and p = 0.34, respectively). Within the context of these experiments, bedding level did not result in deleterious effects on pig measures or transport losses. However, using more bedding may result in higher costs to the industry. Therefore, 3 bags of bedding/trailer may be used when transporting market weight pigs during warm weather in the Midwestern U.S.
Animals2014, 4(3), 463-475; doi:10.3390/ani4030463 - published 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 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.