Animals2014, 4(4), 779-780; doi:10.3390/ani4040779 - published 9 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This book, which is a volume in an OIE series, describes much that is relevant to animal welfare, the chapters being in English with summaries or full text in French and Spanish. As with many reviews of our state of knowledge, many contributions to this volume draw on previous publications. For example, David Fraser’s excellent discussion of the globalization of farm animal welfare is explained at greater length in his 2008 paper  and book . However, chapters on drivers of animal welfare policy in Africa, the Americas, the Far East and Australasia and the Middle East are amongst those that are novel. The description by Aidaros of Islamic teachings in relation to animal welfare is particularly welcome.[...]
Animals2014, 4(4), 767-778; doi:10.3390/ani4040767 - published 9 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The specific objectives of this experiment were to investigate the effects of adding 10% or 30% corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to the dairy cow diet and the effects of bedding type (wood shavings, straw or peat moss) in dairy slurry on fugitive CH4 emissions. The addition of DDGS10 to the dairy cow diet significantly increased (29%) the daily amount of fat excreted in slurry compared to the control diet. The inclusion of DDGS30 in the diet increased the daily amounts of excreted DM, volatile solids (VS), fat, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF) and hemicellulose by 18%, 18%, 70%, 30%, 15% and 53%, respectively, compared to the control diet. During the storage experiment, daily fugitive CH4 emissions showed a significant increase of 15% (p < 0.05) for the slurry resulting from the corn DDGS30 diet. The addition of wood shavings and straw did not have a significant effect on daily fugitive CH4 emissions relative to the control diet, whereas the addition of peat moss caused a significant increase of 27% (p < 0.05) in fugitive CH4 emissions.
Animals2014, 4(4), 755-766; doi:10.3390/ani4040755 - published 5 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There are prospects for using novel feeds from various sources to provide ruminants with alternative sources of protein and energy such as by-products, and animal wastes. Rabbit feces are a concentrated source of fiber and could have commercial potential both as input biomass in anaerobic processes for biogas production, as well as a fibrous source for ruminal degradation. The aims of this work were to assess the potential as ruminant feeding and as biogas production of rabbit feces, in comparison with 12 crops. The chemical composition and the potential and experimental in vitro true digestibility (IVTD) and neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD) of 148 feces samples were determined by using chemical methods, Daisy system digestibility and/or NIRS predictions. The average biomethane potential (BMP) was 286 ± 10 lCH4/kg SV with −4% vs. the crops average. Milk forage unit (milk FU), IVTD and NDFD of feces were 0.54 ± 0.06 milk FU/kg DM, 74% ± 3% and 50% ± 5%, respectively, with comparisons of −19%, −11% and −24% vs. the crops average. Reconstruction of the potential values based on the chemical constituents but using the crop partial least square model well agreed with the NIRS calibrations and cross-validation. In a global NIRS calibration of the feces and crops the relative predicted deviation for IVTD, NDFD and milk FU were 3.1, 2.9 and 2.6, respectively, and only 1.5 for BMP. Running the Daisy system for rabbit feces in rumen fluid gave some inconsistencies, weakened the functional relationships, and appeared not to be correlated with the potential values of IVTD and NDFD. Nevertheless, the energetic potential of feces appears to be similar to some conventional crops at different degrees of maturity. Thus we conclude that rabbit feces has potential value as a ruminant feed and for biogas production.
Animals2014, 4(4), 742-754; doi:10.3390/ani4040742 - published 3 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The use of non-slip surfaces during loading and unloading of weaned pigs plays an important role in animal welfare and economics of the pork industry. Currently, the guidelines available only suggest the use of ramps below 20° to load and unload pigs. Three ramp angles (0°, 10° or 20°), five bedding materials (nothing, sand, feed, wood shavings or wheat straw hay), two moistures (dry or wet bedding; >50% moisture) over two seasons (>23.9 °C summer, <23.9 °C winter) were assessed for slips/falls/vocalizations (n = 6,000 pig observations). "Score" was calculated by the sum of slips, falls, and vocalizations. With the exception of using feed as a bedding, all beddings provided some protection against elevated slips, falls, and vocalizations (P < 0.01). Providing bedding reduced (P < 0.05) scores regardless of whether the bedding was dry or wet. Scores increased as the slope increased (P < 0.01). Provision of bedding, other than feed, at slopes greater than zero, decreased slips, falls and vocalizations. The total time it took to load and unload pigs was affected by bedding type, ramp angle, and season (P < 0.05). Minimizing slips, falls, and vocalizations when loading and unloading pigs improved animal welfare.
Animals2014, 4(4), 729-741; doi:10.3390/ani4040729 - published 3 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ethical principles governing the conduct of experiments with animals are reviewed, especially those relating to the choice of species. Legislation requires that the potential harm to animals arising from any procedure should be assessed in advance and justified in terms of its possible benefit to society. Potential harms may arise both from the procedures and the quality of the animals’ lifetime experience. The conventional approach to species selection is to use animals with the “lowest degree of neurophysiological sensitivity”. However; this concept should be applied with extreme caution in the light of new knowledge. The capacity to experience pain may be similar in mammals, birds and fish. The capacity to suffer from fear is governed more by sentience than cognitive ability, so it cannot be assumed that rodents or farm animals suffer less than dogs or primates. I suggest that it is unethical to base the choice of species for animal experimentation simply on the basis that it will cause less distress within society. A set of responsibilities is outlined for each category of moral agent. These include regulators, operators directly concerned with the conduct of scientific experiments and toxicology trials, veterinarians and animal care staff; and society at large.
Animals2014, 4(4), 712-728; doi:10.3390/ani4040712 - published 3 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transfer from the breeding facility to a research facility is a stressful event for laboratory animals. Heat stress has been reported to constitute one of the major concerns during transport of animals. This study measured ambient and body temperature, corticosterone and glucose levels, body weight, behavior and water and food intake before, during and after transfer in Wistar rats. Decreased body weight, water and food intake were observed on the day of transfer in rats. Environmental temperature strongly affected body temperature of rats and needs to be controlled. Male rats need to habituate for at least one week, females for two weeks after transfer.