Animals2014, 4(2), 184-199; doi:10.3390/ani4020184 - published online 11 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transport of young (‘bobby’) calves for slaughter is a contentious welfare issue for some sectors of the Australian community. Factors of age, stocking density and flooring need further research to develop appropriate welfare standards for transport of bobby calves. The objective of this study was to identify the space allowance requirements for transport of bobby calves and to understand factors such as age and flooring that minimise risks to calf welfare during transport. Animals aged 3-, 5- and 10-day old were transported for 12 h in a custom-made cattle truck fitted with 9 pens, with movable mesh divisions. Each pen contained 4 calves, with space allowances of 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5 m2 per calf and flooring of solid metal, mesh or straw bedding. A total of 432 male dairy calves were transported in 12 trips during the 2-year study. Behavioural measurements included lying during transport, and lying and drinking for 12 h after transport during recovery. Blood samples were taken prior to transport, immediately after transport and 12 h after transport. Blood samples were analysed for metabolic state (glucose, beta-hydroxy-butyrate (BOHB)), hydration (packed cell volume (PCV)) and exhaustion/bruising (creatine kinase (CK) activity). It was found that several measures were affected by age, which indicates that the physiology and in particular lying behaviour of 3-day old calves is fundamentally different from that of older calves. It is unclear how this affects their ability to cope with the stressors of transport. Space affected the posture changes and CK activity during and after transport and it is concluded that space allowance should be at least 0.3 m2 per calf for calves of average size, while CK activity suggested that providing more space to 0.5 m2 per calf may provide even greater benefits. Straw bedding is of clear benefit to calves during transport, to the extent that it may even reduce some of the negative effects of reduced space on lying behaviour.
Animals2014, 4(2), 164-183; doi:10.3390/ani4020164 - published online 11 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study was conducted July of 2012 in Iowa, in WARM (<26.7 °C) and HOT (≥26.7 °C) weather. Four sprinkling methods were compared, with one treatment being randomly assigned to each load: control- no sprinkling (not applied in HOT weather), pigs only, bedding only, or pigs and bedding. Experiment 1 used 51 loads in WARM- and 86 loads in HOT weather to determine sprinkling effects on pig measures (surface temperature, vocalizations, slips and falls, and stress signs). Experiment 2 used 82 loads in WARM- and 54 loads in HOT weather to determine the sprinkling effects on transport losses (non-ambulatory, dead, and total transport losses). Experiment 1 found that, in WARM weather, there were no differences between sprinkling treatments for surface temperature, vocalizations, or slips and falls (p ≥ 0.18). However, stress signs were 2% greater when sprinkling pigs- or bedding only- compared to control (p = 0.03). Experiment 2 found that, in WARM and HOT weather, sprinkling did not affect non-ambulatory, dead, or total transport losses (p ≥ 0.18). Although the current study did not find any observed sprinkling effects for pig measures or transport losses it is extremely important to note that the inference space of this study is relatively small, so further studies should be conducted to see if these results are applicable to other geographical regions and seasons.
Animals2014, 4(2), 146-163; doi:10.3390/ani4020146 - published online 4 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Degrading antibiotics discharged in the livestock manure in a well-controlled bioprocess contributes to a more sustainable and environment-friendly livestock breeding. Although most antibiotics remain stable during manure storage, anaerobic digestion can degrade and remove them to various extents depending on the concentration and class of antibiotic, bioreactor operating conditions, type of feedstock and inoculum sources. Generally, antibiotics are degraded during composting > anaerobic digestion > manure storage > soil. Manure matrix variation influences extraction, quantification, and degradation of antibiotics, but it has not been well investigated. Fractioning of manure-laden antibiotics into liquid and solid phases and its effects on their anaerobic degradation and the contribution of abiotic (physical and chemical) versus biotic degradation mechanisms need to be quantified for various manures, antibiotics types, reactor designs and temperature of operations. More research is required to determine the kinetics of antibiotics’ metabolites degradation during anaerobic digestion. Further investigations are required to assess the degradation of antibiotics during psychrophilic anaerobic digestion.
Animals2014, 4(2), 131-145; doi:10.3390/ani4020131 - published online 3 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Unusual animal behaviors (UABs) have been observed before large earthquakes (EQs), however, their mechanisms are unclear. While information on UABs has been gathered after many EQs, few studies have focused on the ratio of emerged UABs or specific behaviors prior to EQs. On 11 March 2011, an EQ (Mw 9.0) occurred in Japan, which took about twenty thousand lives together with missing and killed persons. We surveyed UABs of pets preceding this EQ using a questionnaire. Additionally, we explored whether dairy cow milk yields varied before this EQ in particular locations. In the results, 236 of 1,259 dog owners and 115 of 703 cat owners observed UABs in their pets, with restless behavior being the most prominent change in both species. Most UABs occurred within one day of the EQ. The UABs showed a precursory relationship with epicentral distance. Interestingly, cow milk yields in a milking facility within 340 km of the epicenter decreased significantly about one week before the EQ. However, cows in facilities farther away showed no significant decreases. Since both the pets’ behavior and the dairy cows’ milk yields were affected prior to the EQ, with careful observation they could contribute to EQ predictions.
Animals2014, 4(1), 119-130; doi:10.3390/ani4010119 - published online 17 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Urban environments are unique, rapidly changing habitats in which almost half of the world’s human population resides. The effects of urbanisation, such as habitat (vegetation) removal, pollution and modification of natural areas, commonly cause biodiversity loss. Long-term ecological monitoring of urban environments is vital to determine the composition and long-term trends of faunal communities. This paper provides a detailed view of long-term changes in avifaunal assemblages of the Adelaide City parklands and discusses the anthropogenic and environmental factors that contributed to the changes between 1976 and 2007. The Adelaide City parklands (ACP) comprise 760 ha of land surrounding Adelaide’s central business district. Naturalist Robert Whatmough completed a 32-year survey of the ACP to determine the structure of the urban bird community residing there. Annual species richness and the abundance of birds in March and September months were analysed. Linear regression analysis was applied to species richness and abundance data of each assemblage. Resident parkland birds demonstrated significant declines in abundance. Native and introduced species also exhibited long-term declines in species richness and abundance throughout the 32-year period. Cycles of varying time periods indicated fluctuations in avian biodiversity demonstrating the need for future monitoring and statistical analyses on bird communities in the Adelaide City parklands.
Animals2014, 4(1), 93-118; doi:10.3390/ani4010093 - published online 17 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: It may become advantageous to keep human-managed animals in the social network groups to which they have adapted. Data concerning the social networks of farm animal species and their ancestors are scarce but essential to establishing the importance of a natural social network for farmed animal species. Social Network Analysis (SNA) facilitates the characterization of social networking at group, subgroup and individual levels. SNA is currently used for modeling the social behavior and management of wild animals and social welfare of zoo animals. It has been recognized for use with farm animals but has yet to be applied for management purposes. Currently, the main focus is on cattle, because in large groups (poultry), recording of individuals is expensive and the existence of social networks is uncertain due to on-farm restrictions. However, in many cases, a stable social network might be important to individual animal fitness, survival and welfare. For instance, when laying hens are not too densely housed, simple networks may be established. We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans. Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes. It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future.