Abstract: The objective was to describe the incidence of failure to finish a race in flat-racing Thoroughbreds in New Zealand as these are summary indicators of falls, injuries and poor performance. Retrospective data on six complete flat racing seasons (n = 188,615 race starts) of all Thoroughbred flat race starts from 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2011 were obtained. The incidence of failure to finish events and binomial exact 95% confidence intervals were calculated per 1000 horse starts. The association between horse-, rider- and race-level variables with the outcomes failure to finish, pulled-up/fell and lost rider were examined with a mixed effects Poisson regression model. A total of 544 horses failed to finish in 188,615 race starts with an overall incidence of 2.88 per 1000 horse starts (95% CI 2.64–3.12). The incidence of failure to finish horses across each race year showed little variability. In the univariable analysis race distance, larger field size, season, and ratings bands showed association with failing to finish a race. The overall failure to finish outcome was associated with season, race distance and ratings bands (horse experience and success ranking criteria). In the multivariable analysis, race distance and ratings bands were associated with horses that pulled-up/fell; season, apprentice allowances and ratings bands were associated with the outcome lost rider. The failure to finish rate was lower than international figures for race day catastrophic injury. Racing and environmental variables were associated with failure to finish a race highlighting the multifactorial nature of race-day events. Further investigation of risk factors for failure to finish is required to better understand the reasons for a low failure to finish rate in Thoroughbred flat races in New Zealand.
Abstract: This opinion paper considers the relative validity and utility of three concepts: the Five Freedoms (FF), Five Domains (FD) and Quality of Life (QoL) as tools for the analysis of animal welfare. The aims of FF and FD are different but complementary. FD seeks to assess the impact of the physical and social environment on the mental (affective) state of a sentient animal, FF is an outcome-based approach to identify and evaluate the efficacy of specific actions necessary to promote well-being. Both have utility. The concept of QoL is presented mainly as a motivational framework. The FD approach provides an effective foundation for research and evidence-based conclusions as to the impact of the things we do on the mental state of the animals in our care. Moreover, it is one that can evolve with time. The FF are much simpler. They do not attempt to achieve an overall picture of mental state and welfare status, but the principles upon which they are based are timeless. Their aim is to be no more than a memorable set of signposts to right action. Since, so far as the animals are concerned, it is not what we think but what we do that counts, I suggest that they are likely to have a more general impact.
Abstract: Dogs are relinquished to shelters due to behavioral problems, such as leash pulling and jumping up. Interomones are chemical cues produced by one species that elicit a response in a different species. We reported earlier that androstenone, a swine sex pheromone, acts as an interomone to reduce barking in dogs. Here we report two models using 10 dogs/study: a dog jumping and a dog walking model. For the leash-pulling model, each time the dog pulled on the leash the walker either did nothing (NOT), or sprayed the dog with water (H2O), androstenone + water (ANH), androstenone 0.1 µg/mL (AND1), or androstenone 1.0 µg/mL (AND2). The number of pulls during each walk was counted. For the jumping up model, each time the dog jumped the researcher did nothing (NOT), or sprayed the dog with H2O, ANH, AND1, or AND2. The number of jumps and the time between jumps were recorded. In Study 1, ANH, AND1, and AND2 each reduced leash pulling more than NOT and H2O (p< 0.01). In Study 2, all treatments were effective in reducing jumping up behavior. Androstenone reduced jumping up, but not beyond that elicited by a spray of water alone. We conclude that androstenone in multiple delivery vehicles reduced leash pulling. The burst of air intended as a disruptive stimulus in the correction sprays may be too harsh for more sensitive dogs, and as such use of these sprays is cautioned in these animals. For other dogs, this interomone can be used to stop some behavior immediately or as a part of a training program to reduce undesirable behavior.
Abstract: It has been suggested that one in five riders will be injured due to a fall from a horse, resulting in severe head or torso injuries. Attempts to reduce injury have primarily focussed on low level risk controls, such as helmets. In comparison, risk mitigation in high risk workplaces and sports is directed at more effective and preventative controls like training, consultation, safe work procedures, fit for purpose equipment and regular Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) monitoring. However, there has been no systematic consideration of the risk-reduction benefits of applying a WHS framework to reducing horse-related risks in workplaces, let alone competition or leisure contexts. In this article, we discuss the different dimensions of risk during human–horse interaction: the risk itself, animal, human and environmental factors and their combinations thereof. We consider the potential of the WHS framework as a tool for reducing (a) situation-specific hazards, and (b) the risks inherent in and arising from human–horse interactions. Whilst most—if not all—horses are unpredictable, the majority of horse-related injuries should be treated as preventable. The article concludes with a practical application of WHS to prevent horse-related injury by discussing effective evidence-based guidelines and regulatory monitoring for equestrian sectors. It suggests that the WHS framework has significant potential not only to reduce the occurrence and likelihood of horse-related human accident and injury, but to enable systematic accident analysis and investigation of horse-related adverse events.
Abstract: Transportation at weaning is a complex stressor made up of many factors, including withdrawal from feed and water, which can potentially negatively affect the health and welfare of pigs, especially those already experiencing weaning stress. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of weaning and extended transport durations (up to 32 h), with and without the provision of feed and/or water, on pig welfare. Treatment groups included: pigs neither weaned nor transported, control (CON); weaned pigs transported and provided with feed and water (T+); weaned pigs transported without feed and water (T−); weaned pigs transported with only feed (T+F); and weaned pigs transported with only water provided (TRAN+W). The effect of transport (with and without feed and/or water) on weaned pigs was assessed using behavior, performance, and physiology. After a 32-h transport period, pigs transported without water lost markedly more weight than those transported with water ( p < 0.01). Furthermore, the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio was markedly higher in male pigs transported without water ( p < 0.05). Overall, transportation had a negative effect on pig well-being, especially when water was not provided.
Abstract: Changing social values and new technologies have contributed to increasing media attention and debate about the acceptable use of animals in sport. This paper focuses on the use of the whip in thoroughbred horse racing. Those who defend its use argue it is a necessary tool needed for safety, correction and encouragement, and that it does not cause the horse any pain. For those who oppose its use, it is an instrument of cruelty. Media framing is employed to unpack the discourses played out in print and social media in the UK (2011) and Australia (2009) during key periods of the whip debate following the introduction of new whip rules. Media coverage for the period August 2014–August 2015 for both countries is also considered. This paper seeks to identify the perceptions of advocates and opponents of the whip as portrayed in conventional and social media in Australia and the UK, to consider if these perceptions have changed over time, and whose voices are heard in these platforms. This paper contributes to discussions on the impacts that media sites have either in reinforcing existing perspectives or creating new perspectives; and importantly how this impacts on equine welfare.