Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Lupinus albus and Calcium Chloride on Growth Performance, Body Composition, Plasma Biochemistry and Meat Quality of Male Pigs Immunized Against Gonadotrophin Releasing Factor
Animals 2016, 6(12), 78; doi:10.3390/ani6120078 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Two hundred and ninety-four pigs were used to assess the effect of two ingredients (Lupinus albus (albus lupins) or a combination of calcium chloride and sodium tri-polyphosphate (mineral salts)) on growth performance, body composition and objective meat quality of pigs immunized against
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Two hundred and ninety-four pigs were used to assess the effect of two ingredients (Lupinus albus (albus lupins) or a combination of calcium chloride and sodium tri-polyphosphate (mineral salts)) on growth performance, body composition and objective meat quality of pigs immunized against gonadotrophin releasing factor (immunocastrates) and entire male pigs in the late finishing phase. Pigs fed mineral salts ate less feed than those fed the control diet with no effect on growth rate (p > 0.05), backfat (p > 0.05) or fat deposition (p > 0.05). Pigs fed albus lupins had a reduced feed intake (p < 0.001 for all time periods), lower growth rate (p < 0.001 for all time periods), lower backfat (p < 0.005) and decreased fat deposition (p < 0.001 for all time periods) compared to those fed the control diet or mineral salts. From day (d) 0–28 pigs fed mineral salts had a better feed conversion ratio (p = 0.001) than those fed albus lupins who in turn had an improved feed conversion compared to the control diet. Immunocastrates had thicker backfat than entire males at the end of the experiment (p < 0.001), however, feeding albus lupins to immunocastrated males reduced backfat thickness to similar to entire males fed the control diet (p = 0.01). With the exception of the increased muscle pH at 45 minutes post-exsanguination in mineral salts and albus lupins compared with the control diet (p = 0.03) there was no effect of diet on objective pork quality. Pork from IC males had a higher ultimate pH (p < 0.001), was lighter (L*; p = 0.003), more yellow (p = 0.008) and had a higher drip loss (p < 0.001) compared to entire males. Albus lupins show potential in reducing the increase in feed intake and backfat associated with immunocastration. Mineral salts may be useful in situations where a reduction in feed intake and an improvement in feed conversion is desired and reducing fat deposition is not the objective. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary
Transport Fitness of Cull Sows and Boars: A Comparison of Different Guidelines on Fitness for Transport
Animals 2016, 6(12), 77; doi:10.3390/ani6120077 -
Open AccessBook Review
The Welfare of Performing Animals. A Historical Perspective. By David A. H. Wilson. Springer: Berlin, Germany, 2015; 278 pp; $189.00; ISBN 978-3-662-50931-9
Animals 2016, 6(11), 76; doi:10.3390/ani6110076 -
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
What We Know about the Public’s Level of Concern for Farm Animal Welfare in Food Production in Developed Countries
Animals 2016, 6(11), 74; doi:10.3390/ani6110074 -
Abstract
Population growth and rising consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish are forcing the world to face the intersecting challenges of how to sustainably feed a population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, while also controlling the impact of food production on
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Population growth and rising consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and fish are forcing the world to face the intersecting challenges of how to sustainably feed a population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, while also controlling the impact of food production on the planet, on people and on animals. This review acknowledges the absence of a globally accepted definition of animal welfare and then explores the literature regarding different levels of concern for animal welfare in food production by such stakeholders as veterinarians, farmers, and the general public. It focuses on the evidence that the general public’s level of concern for animal welfare is linked to various demographic and personal characteristics, such as age, gender, religion, location, meat eating, and knowledge of animal welfare. Certain animals have characteristics that influence concern for their welfare, with those species that are considered more intelligent being afforded more concern. There is compelling evidence that the general public’s understanding of animal welfare in food production is poor. Acknowledging that public concern can be a driving force to change current production methods, the authors suggest widespread consciousness raising to redefine socially acceptable methods of food production from animals and to ensure that it remains in step with societal concerns. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Selection of Breeding Stock among Australian Purebred Dog Breeders, with Particular Emphasis on the Dam
Animals 2016, 6(11), 75; doi:10.3390/ani6110075 -
Abstract
Every year, thousands of purebred domestic dogs are bred by registered dog breeders. Yet, little is known about the rearing environment of these dogs, or the attitudes and priorities surrounding breeding practices of these dog breeders. The objective of this study was to
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Every year, thousands of purebred domestic dogs are bred by registered dog breeders. Yet, little is known about the rearing environment of these dogs, or the attitudes and priorities surrounding breeding practices of these dog breeders. The objective of this study was to explore some of the factors that dog breeders consider important for stock selection, with a particular emphasis on issues relating to the dam. Two-hundred and seventy-four Australian purebred dog breeders, covering 91 breeds across all Australian National Kennel Club breed groups, completed an online survey relating to breeding practices. Most breeders surveyed (76%) reported specialising in one breed of dog, the median number of dogs and bitches per breeder was two and three respectively, and most breeders bred two litters or less a year. We identified four components, relating to the dam, that were considered important to breeders. These were defined as Maternal Care, Offspring Potential, Dam Temperament, and Dam Genetics and Health. Overall, differences were observed in attitudes and beliefs across these components, showing that there is variation according to breed/breed groups. In particular, the importance of Maternal Care varied according to dog breed group. Breeders of brachycephalic breeds tended to differ the most in relation to Offspring Potential and Dam Genetics and Health. The number of breeding dogs/bitches influenced breeding priority, especially in relation to Dam Temperament, however no effect was found relating to the number of puppies bred each year. Only 24% of breeders used their own sire for breeding. The finding that some breeders did not test for diseases relevant to their breed, such as hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, provides important information on the need to educate some breeders, and also buyers of purebred puppies, that screening for significant diseases should occur. Further research into the selection of breeding dams and sires will inform future strategies to improve the health and behaviour of our best friend. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relationship Between Scarring and Dog Aggression in Pit Bull-Type Dogs Involved in Organized Dogfighting
Animals 2016, 6(11), 72; doi:10.3390/ani6110072 -
Abstract
When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed
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When pit bull-type dogs are seized in an investigation of organized dogfighting, heavily scarred dogs are often assumed to be highly dog aggressive due to a history of fighting. These dogs may be deemed dangerous and euthanized based on scarring alone. We analyzed our existing data on dogs seized from four dogfighting investigations, examining the relationship between the dogs’ scars with aggression towards other dogs. Scar and wound data were tallied in three body zones where dogfighting injuries tend to be concentrated. Dog aggression was assessed using a model dog and a friendly stimulus dog in a standardized behavior evaluation. Scarring and dog aggression were significantly related, more strongly among male (Fisher’s Exact p < 0.001) than female dogs (Fisher’s Exact p = 0.05). Ten or more scars in the three body zones was a reasonable threshold with which to classify a dog as high risk for dog aggression: 82% of males and 60% of females with such scarring displayed dog aggression. However, because many unscarred dogs were dog aggressive while some highly scarred dogs were not, we recommend collecting behavioral information to supplement scar counts when making disposition decisions about dogs seized in dogfighting investigations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus)
Animals 2016, 6(11), 73; doi:10.3390/ani6110073 -
Abstract
Recent studies have highlighted a high prevalence of dental disease in domestic guinea pigs, yet the aetiology of this multi-factorial disease is still unclear. Factors that have been associated with dental disease include feeding a diet that is high in energy but low
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Recent studies have highlighted a high prevalence of dental disease in domestic guinea pigs, yet the aetiology of this multi-factorial disease is still unclear. Factors that have been associated with dental disease include feeding a diet that is high in energy but low in fibre, feeding an insufficiently abrasive diet, a lack of dietary calcium, and genetics. As many of these factors relate to the husbandry requirements of guinea pigs, owner awareness of dietary requirements is of the utmost importance. An online questionnaire was created based on previous research into the husbandry and feeding of rabbits. Guinea pig owners were asked to answer questions on the clinical history of their animals and their diet and management. In total, 150 surveys were completed for 344 guinea pigs, where owners of multiple animals could complete the survey for individuals. According to the owners, 6.7% of guinea pigs had been clinically diagnosed with dental disease, but 16.6% had signs consistent with dental disease. The specific clinical signs of having difficulty eating (Exp(B) = 33.927, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.301, p < 0.05) and producing fewer or smaller faecal droppings (Exp(B) = 13.733, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.149, p < 0.05) were predictive for the presence of dental disease. Having access to an outside environment, including the use of runs on both concrete and grass, was significantly related to not displaying clinical signs of dental disease (Exp(B) = 1.894, Nagelkerke R 2 = 0.021, p < 0.05). There was no significant relationship between owner knowledge, guinea pig diet, and dental disease in the study population. This study highlights the importance of access to the outdoors for the health and welfare of guinea pigs in addition to the need for owners to be alert to key clinical signs. A relationship between diet and dental disease was not identified in this study; however, the underlying aetiological causes of this condition require further investigation. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Challenges of Using Horses for Practical Teaching Purposes in Veterinary Programmes
Animals 2016, 6(11), 69; doi:10.3390/ani6110069 -
Abstract
Students enrolled in veterinary degrees often come from an urban background with little previous experience in handling horses and other large animals. Many veterinary degree programmes place importance on the teaching of appropriate equine handling skills, yet within the literature it is commonly
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Students enrolled in veterinary degrees often come from an urban background with little previous experience in handling horses and other large animals. Many veterinary degree programmes place importance on the teaching of appropriate equine handling skills, yet within the literature it is commonly reported that time allocated for practical classes often suffers due to time constraint pressure from other elements of the curriculum. The effect of this pressure on animal handling teaching time is reflected in the self-reported low level of animal handling competency, particularly equine, in students with limited prior experience with horses. This is a concern as a naive student is potentially at higher risk of injury to themselves when interacting with horses. Additionally, a naive student with limited understanding of equine behaviour may, through inconsistent or improper handling, increase the anxiety and compromise the welfare of these horses. There is a lack of literature investigating the welfare of horses in university teaching facilities, appropriate handling procedures, and student safety. This article focuses on the importance for students to be able to interpret equine behaviour and the potential consequences of poor handling skills to equine and student welfare. Lastly, the authors suggest a conceptual model to optimise equine welfare, and subsequently student safety, during practical equine handling classes. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities: The Three Ss of Carol Newton
Animals 2016, 6(11), 70; doi:10.3390/ani6110070 -
Abstract
The Three Rs principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement developed by William M. S. Russell and Rex L. Burch in the 1950s has achieved worldwide recognition as a means of reducing the impact of science on animals and improving their welfare. However, application
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The Three Rs principle of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement developed by William M. S. Russell and Rex L. Burch in the 1950s has achieved worldwide recognition as a means of reducing the impact of science on animals and improving their welfare. However, application of the Three Rs is still far from universal, and evidence-based methods to implement the Three Rs are still lacking in many areas of laboratory animal science. The purpose of this paper is to create interest in a less well-known but equally useful principle that complements the Three Rs, which was proposed by the American biomathematician Carol M. Newton in the 1970s: the Three Ss—Good Science, Good Sense and Good Sensibilities. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Research Tools for the Measurement of Pain and Nociception
Animals 2016, 6(11), 71; doi:10.3390/ani6110071 -
Abstract
There are many ways in which pain in animals can be measured and these are based on a variety of phenomena that are related to either the perception of pain or alterations in physical or behavioural features of the animal that are caused
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There are many ways in which pain in animals can be measured and these are based on a variety of phenomena that are related to either the perception of pain or alterations in physical or behavioural features of the animal that are caused by that pain. The features of pain that are most useful for assessment in clinical environments are not always the best to use in a research environment. This is because the aims and objectives of the two settings are different and so whilst particular techniques will have the same advantages and disadvantages in clinical and research environments, these considerations may become more or less of a drawback when moving from one environment to the other. For example, a simple descriptive pain scale has a number of advantages and disadvantages. In a clinical setting the advantages are very useful and the disadvantages are less relevant, but in a research environment the advantages are less important and the disadvantages can become more problematic. This paper will focus on pain in the research environment and after a brief revision of the pathophysiological systems involved will attempt to outline the major advantages and disadvantages of the more commonly used measurement techniques that have been used for studies in the area of pain perception and analgesia. This paper is expanded from a conference proceedings paper presented at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Conference in San Diego, USA. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Owners’ Perceptions of Their Animal’s Behavioural Response to the Loss of an Animal Companion
Animals 2016, 6(11), 68; doi:10.3390/ani6110068 -
Abstract
The loss of a companion animal is recognised as being associated with experiences of grief by the owner, but it is unclear how other animals in the household may be affected by such a loss. Our aim was to investigate companion animals’ behavioural
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The loss of a companion animal is recognised as being associated with experiences of grief by the owner, but it is unclear how other animals in the household may be affected by such a loss. Our aim was to investigate companion animals’ behavioural responses to the loss of a companion through owner-report. A questionnaire was distributed via, and advertised within, publications produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) across Australia and New Zealand, and through a selection of veterinary clinics within New Zealand. A total of 279 viable surveys were returned pertaining to 159 dogs and 152 cats. The two most common classes of behavioural changes reported for both dogs and cats were affectionate behaviours (74% of dogs and 78% of cats) and territorial behaviours (60% of dogs and 63% of cats). Both dogs and cats were reported to demand more attention from their owners and/or display affiliative behaviour, as well as spend time seeking out the deceased’s favourite spot. Dogs were reported to reduce the volume (35%) and speed (31%) of food consumption and increase the amount of time spent sleeping (34%). Cats were reported to increase the frequency (43%) and volume (32%) of vocalisations following the death of a companion. The median duration of reported behavioural changes in both species was less than 6 months. There was consensus that the behaviour of companion animals changed in response to the loss of an animal companion. These behavioural changes suggest the loss had an impact on the remaining animal. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Online Chats to Assess Stakeholder Perceptions of Meat Chicken Intensification and Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(11), 67; doi:10.3390/ani6110067 -
Abstract
Evidence suggests that there is variation in support for specific chicken farming practices amongst stakeholder groups, and this should be explored in more detail to understand the nature of these differences and work towards convergence. Online focus groups were used to assess attitudes
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Evidence suggests that there is variation in support for specific chicken farming practices amongst stakeholder groups, and this should be explored in more detail to understand the nature of these differences and work towards convergence. Online focus groups were used to assess attitudes to animal welfare in meat chicken farming in this pilot study. Across six online chats, 25 participants (general public, n = 8; animal advocacy group, n = 11, meat chicken industry, n = 3; research or veterinary practice who had experience with poultry but no declared industry affiliation, n = 3) discussed meat chicken intensification and welfare. Of those, 21 participants completed pre- and post-chat surveys gauging perceptions and objective knowledge about meat chicken management. Main reasons for intensification support were perceptions of improved bird health, and perceptions that it is a cost-effective, sustainable farming system. Reasons for opposition included perceptions that a large number of birds kept are in close proximity and have limited ability to perform natural behaviours. Misunderstandings about current practices were clarified in chats which contained industry representation. Participants agreed on the need for enforceable standards and industry transparency. Industry-affiliated members rated welfare of meat chickens higher, and gave lower ratings for the importance of natural living, than other stakeholder groups (both p = 0.001). On average, while objective knowledge of intensification increased after chat participation (p = 0.03), general welfare ratings and support for intensification did not change over time, counter to assertions that lack of knowledge results in lack of support for some practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Horse Injury during Non-Commercial Transport: Findings from Researcher-Assisted Intercept Surveys at Southeastern Australian Equestrian Events
Animals 2016, 6(11), 65; doi:10.3390/ani6110065 -
Abstract
Equine transportation research has largely focused on the commercial land movement of horses. Data on the incidence and factors associated with horse injuries during non-commercial transportation (privately owned horse trucks and trailers) is scant. This study surveyed 223 drivers transporting horses to 12
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Equine transportation research has largely focused on the commercial land movement of horses. Data on the incidence and factors associated with horse injuries during non-commercial transportation (privately owned horse trucks and trailers) is scant. This study surveyed 223 drivers transporting horses to 12 equestrian events in southeastern Australia. Data collected encompassed driver demographics, travel practice, vehicle characteristics, and incidents involving horse injury. Approximately 25% (55/223) of participants reported that their horses were injured during transportation. Of these 72% were owner classified as horse associated (scrambling, slipping and horse-horse interaction), 11% due to mechanical failure, and 6% due to driver error. Horse injury was not significantly associated with driver age, gender, or experience. Participants that answer the telephone whilst driving were more likely to have previously had a horse injured ( p = 0.04). There was a trend for participants with <8 hours sleep prior to the survey to have experienced a previous transportation-related injury ( p = 0.056). Increased trailer age was associated with a greater number of injury reports (r² = 0.20; p < 0.04). The diversity in trailer models prevented identification of the importance of individual design features. This study highlights the potential for horses to sustain transportation injuries in privately owned vehicles and warrants further study to address this risk to their welfare. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
The Effect of Pet Remedy on the Behaviour of the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)
Animals 2016, 6(11), 64; doi:10.3390/ani6110064 -
Abstract
Stress-affected behaviour in companion animals can have an adverse effect on animal health and welfare and their relationships with humans. This stress can be addressed using chemical treatments, often in conjunction with behavioural therapies. Here, we investigated the efficacy of one commercial pharmacological
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Stress-affected behaviour in companion animals can have an adverse effect on animal health and welfare and their relationships with humans. This stress can be addressed using chemical treatments, often in conjunction with behavioural therapies. Here, we investigated the efficacy of one commercial pharmacological intervention, Pet Remedy, advertised as a natural stress relief product for mammals. We aimed to see whether the product lowered stress-affected behaviour in dogs placed in a non-familiar environment. Behavioural responses of 28 dogs were video recorded using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and counterbalanced repeated measures design. Dogs were exposed to both a placebo and Pet Remedy plug-in diffuser for 30 min with an intervening period of approximately 7 days between conditions. Multivariate regression analysis identified no significant differences in behaviour in either the Pet Remedy or placebo condition. In conclusion, in the current study, Pet Remedy did not reduce behavioural indicators indicative of a stress response. To determine the effects of Pet Remedy, future research using a larger sample size and controlling for breed would be beneficial. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intermittent Suckling in Combination with an Older Weaning Age Improves Growth, Feed Intake and Aspects of Gastrointestinal Tract Carbohydrate Absorption in Pigs after Weaning
Animals 2016, 6(11), 66; doi:10.3390/ani6110066 -
Abstract
This study tested the hypothesis that intermittent suckling (IS) with or without an older weaning age would improve post-weaning gastrointestinal tract (GIT) carbohydrate absorptive capacity in pigs while reducing post-weaning stress and aspects of the inflammatory response. Three weaning regimes using primiparous sows
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This study tested the hypothesis that intermittent suckling (IS) with or without an older weaning age would improve post-weaning gastrointestinal tract (GIT) carbohydrate absorptive capacity in pigs while reducing post-weaning stress and aspects of the inflammatory response. Three weaning regimes using primiparous sows were compared: (1) conventional weaning (CW28) ( n = 22), where piglets were weaned conventionally at day 28; (2) IS28 ( n = 21), where IS started at day 21 until weaning at day 28; and (3) IS35 ( n = 21), where IS started at day 28 until weaning at day 35. Sugar absorption tests (10% mannitol or 10% galactose) were used to measure GIT absorptive capacity. All measured parameters were compared in relation to weaning across treatments (i.e., different physiological ages were compared). The IS35 pigs grew fastest in the 12 days after weaning ( p < 0.01) and had the highest solid feed intake before and after weaning ( p < 0.05). Irrespective of treatment, pre-weaning mannitol levels were higher than post-weaning levels ( p < 0.01), whereas post-weaning galactose levels were highest in IS35 pigs ( p < 0.01). Cytokine data did not show any treatment effects. In conclusion, these data suggest that IS in combination with an older weaning age (day 35) improved post-weaning adaptation as evidenced by improvements in performance measures and galactose absorption. However, IS28 did not improve post-weaning performance. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Evidence for the Association of a Deleted Variant in the 5′-Flanking Region of the Chicken serotonin transporter (5-HTT) Gene with a Temporary Increase in Feed Intake and Growth Rate
Animals 2016, 6(10), 63; doi:10.3390/ani6100063 -
Abstract
The serotonergic system has been shown to be implicated in the regulation of mood and feeding behavior. Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the 5′-flanking region of the serotonin transporter ( 5 - HTT ) gene of Lohmann Brown (LB) laying hens.
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The serotonergic system has been shown to be implicated in the regulation of mood and feeding behavior. Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the 5′-flanking region of the serotonin transporter ( 5 - HTT ) gene of Lohmann Brown (LB) laying hens. The deleted variant D was found to be associated with increased body weight. The objective of this study was to address whether the increased body weight may be due to an increased feed intake. After hatching, hens were kept under ad libitum feeding conditions, and their body weight and feed intake were weekly determined. From 5 weeks of age, the body weight of hens with the D/D and W/D genotypes was significantly greater than that of W/W carrying hens. Interestingly, we found that the feed intake of D/D carrying hens, relative to body weight, was transiently increased only between 4 and 7 weeks of age ( p < 0.05), leading to a higher growth rate ( p < 0.05), compared with that of W/W carrying hens. These results suggest that the presence of variant D may be correlated with a transiently increased appetite of D/D carrying hens. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Exploring Attitudes and Beliefs towards Implementing Cattle Disease Prevention and Control Measures: A Qualitative Study with Dairy Farmers in Great Britain
Animals 2016, 6(10), 61; doi:10.3390/ani6100061 -
Abstract
Disease prevention and control practices are frequently highlighted as important to ensure the health and welfare of farmed animals, although little is known as to why not many practices are carried out. The aim of this study was to identify the motivators and
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Disease prevention and control practices are frequently highlighted as important to ensure the health and welfare of farmed animals, although little is known as to why not many practices are carried out. The aim of this study was to identify the motivators and barriers of dairy cattle farmers towards the use of biosecurity measures on dairy farms using a health psychology approach. Twenty-five farmers on 24 farms in Great Britain (GB) were interviewed using the Theory of Planned Behaviour framework. Results indicated that farmers perceived they had the ability to control what happened on their farms in terms of preventing and controlling disease, and described benefits from being proactive and vigilant. However, barriers were cited in relation to testing inaccuracies, effectiveness and time-efficiency of practices, and disease transmission route (e.g., airborne transmission). Farmers reported they were positively influenced by veterinarians and negatively influenced by the government (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)) and the general public. Decisions to implement practices were influenced by the perceived severity of the disease in question, if disease was diagnosed on the farm already, or was occurring on other farms. Farmers described undertaking a form of personal risk assessment when deciding if practices were worth doing, which did not always involve building in disease specific factors or opinions from veterinarians or other advisors. These results indicate that further guidance about the intricacies of control and prevention principles in relation to specific animal diseases may be required, with an obvious role for veterinarians. There appears to be an opportunity for farm advisors and herd health professionals to further understand farmer beliefs behind certain attitudes and target communication and advice accordingly to further enhance dairy cattle health and welfare. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Technology and Poultry Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(10), 62; doi:10.3390/ani6100062 -
Abstract
Consideration of animal welfare is essential to address the consumers’ demands and for the long term sustainability of commercial poultry. However, assessing welfare in large poultry flocks, to be able to detect potential welfare risks and to control or minimize its impact is
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Consideration of animal welfare is essential to address the consumers’ demands and for the long term sustainability of commercial poultry. However, assessing welfare in large poultry flocks, to be able to detect potential welfare risks and to control or minimize its impact is difficult. Current developments in technology and mathematical modelling open new possibilities for real-time automatic monitoring of animal welfare and health. New technological innovations potentially adaptable to commercial poultry are appearing, although their practical implementation is still being defined. In this paper, we review the latest technological developments with potential to be applied to poultry welfare, especially for broiler chickens and laying hens. Some of the examples that are presented and discussed include the following: sensors for farm environmental monitoring, movement, or physiological parameters; imaging technologies such as optical flow to detect gait problems and feather pecking; infrared technologies to evaluate birds’ thermoregulatory features and metabolism changes, that may be indicative of welfare, health and management problems. All these technologies have the potential to be implemented at the commercial level to improve birds’ welfare and to optimize flock management, therefore, improving the efficiency of the system in terms of use of resources and, thus, long term sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Predation by Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) at an Outdoor Piggery
Animals 2016, 6(10), 60; doi:10.3390/ani6100060 -
Abstract
Outdoor pig operations are an alternative to intensive systems of raising pigs; however for the majority of outdoor pork producers, issues of biosecurity and predation control require significant management and (or) capital investment. Identifying and quantifying predation risk in outdoor pork operations has
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Outdoor pig operations are an alternative to intensive systems of raising pigs; however for the majority of outdoor pork producers, issues of biosecurity and predation control require significant management and (or) capital investment. Identifying and quantifying predation risk in outdoor pork operations has rarely been done, but such data would be informative for these producers as part of their financial and logistical planning. We quantified potential impact of fox predation on piglets bred on an outdoor pork operation in south-western Australia. We used remote sensor cameras at select sites across the farm as well as above farrowing huts to record interactions between predators and pigs (sows and piglets). We also identified animal losses from breeding records, calculating weaning rate as a proportion of piglets born. Although only few piglets were recorded lost to fox predation (recorded by piggery staff as carcasses that are “chewed”), it is likely that foxes were contributing substantially to the 20% of piglets that were reported “missing”. Both sets of cameras recorded a high incidence of fox activity; foxes appeared on camera soon after staff left for the day, were observed tracking and taking live piglets (despite the presence of sows), and removed dead carcasses from in front of the cameras. Newly born and younger piglets appeared to be the most vulnerable, especially when they are born out in the paddock, but older piglets were also lost. A significant ( p = 0.001) effect of individual sow identification on the weaning rate, but no effect of sow age (parity), suggests that individual sow behavior towards predators influences predation risk for litters. We tracked the movement of piglet carcasses by foxes, and confirmed that foxes make use of patches of native vegetation for cover, although there was no effect of paddock, distance to vegetation, or position on the farm on weaning rate. Trials with non-toxic baits reveal high levels of non-target bait interference. Other management options are recommended, including removing hay from the paddocks to reduce the risks of sows farrowing in open paddocks, and covering or predator-proof fencing the pig carcass pit. Results of this study will have increasing relevance for the expanding outdoor/free-range pork industry, contributing to best practice guidelines for predator control. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” by Updating the “Five Provisions” and Introducing Aligned “Animal Welfare Aims”
Animals 2016, 6(10), 59; doi:10.3390/ani6100059 -
Abstract
Although the Five Freedoms paradigm has been very influential in shaping animal welfare thinking for the last two decades, it has two key disadvantages. First, the focus on “freedom” from a range of negative experiences and states has been misunderstood in a number
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Although the Five Freedoms paradigm has been very influential in shaping animal welfare thinking for the last two decades, it has two key disadvantages. First, the focus on “freedom” from a range of negative experiences and states has been misunderstood in a number of quarters to mean that complete freedom from these experiences and states is possible, when in fact the best that can be achieved is for them to be minimised. Second, the major focus of the Freedoms on negative experiences and states is now seen to be a disadvantage in view of current understanding that animal welfare management should also include the promotion of positive experiences and states. The challenge therefore was to formulate a paradigm that overcame these two main problems and yet was straightforward enough to be accessible to non-specialists, including members of the lay public who are interested in animal welfare. This was achieved by highlighting the Five Provisions, originally aligned with the Five Freedoms, but now updated to direct welfare management towards activities that both minimise negative experiences or states and promote positive experiences or states as specified by particular Animal Welfare Aims assigned to each Provision. Aspects of the four welfare principles from the European Welfare Quality assessment system (WQ ® ) and elements of all domains of the Five Domains Model for animal welfare assessment have been incorporated into the new Five Provisions/Welfare Aims paradigm. Thus, the paradigm is easily understood and provides clear guidance on beneficial objectives for animal welfare management. It is anticipated that the paradigm will have application to many species found in a wide range of circumstances. Full article