Open AccessOpinion
Mutilating Procedures, Management Practices, and Housing Conditions That May Affect the Welfare of Farm Animals: Implications for Welfare Research
Animals 2017, 7(2), 12; doi:10.3390/ani7020012 -
Abstract
A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as injuries from horns or feather pecking. These procedures
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A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as injuries from horns or feather pecking. These procedures and other practices, such as early maternal separation, overcrowding, and barren housing conditions, raise concerns about animal welfare. Efforts to ensure or improve animal welfare involve adapting the animal to its environment, i.e., by selective breeding (e.g., by selecting “robust” animals) adapting the environment to the animal (e.g., by developing social housing systems in which aggressive encounters are reduced to a minimum), or both. We propose adapting the environment to the animals by improving management practices and housing conditions, and by abandoning mutilating procedures. This approach requires the active involvement of all stakeholders: veterinarians and animal scientists, the industrial farming sector, the food processing and supply chain, and consumers of animal-derived products. Although scientific evidence about the welfare effects of current practices in farming such as mutilating procedures, management practices, and housing conditions is steadily growing, the gain in knowledge needs a boost through more scientific research. Considering the huge number of animals whose welfare is affected, all possible effort must be made to improve their welfare as quickly as possible in order to ban welfare-compromising procedures and practices as soon as possible. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Religion and Animal Welfare—An Islamic Perspective
Animals 2017, 7(2), 11; doi:10.3390/ani7020011 -
Abstract
Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding the lives of its followers through sets of rules governing the personal, social, and public aspects through the verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths, the compilation of the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), the two main
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Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding the lives of its followers through sets of rules governing the personal, social, and public aspects through the verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths, the compilation of the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), the two main documents that serve as guidelines. Islam is explicit with regard to using animals for human purposes and there is a rich tradition of the Prophet Mohammad’s (pbuh) concern for animals to be found in the Hadith and Sunna. Islam has also laid down rules for humane slaughter. In many countries animals are killed without pre-stunning. Regardless of pre-stunning, such meat should not be treated as halāl or at least be considered as Makrooh (detestable or abominable), because the animals have been beaten or treated without compassion during production, handling, transport, and slaughter. Many Muslims and Islamic religious leaders are not aware of the cruelty that is routinely inflicted on animals during transport, pre-slaughter, and slaughter in many Islamic countries. There is an urgent need to sensitize all Muslims to the teachings of animal welfare in the Qur’an and the Hadiths. A campaign is needed to apprise religious leaders of the current cruelty that occurs during transport and slaughter. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Deck Level, Body Surface Temperature and Carcass Damages in Italian Heavy Pigs after Short Journeys at Different Unloading Environmental Conditions
Animals 2017, 7(2), 10; doi:10.3390/ani7020010 -
Abstract
In order to evaluate the relationships between deck level, body surface temperature and carcass damages after a short journey (30 min), 10 deliveries of Italian heavy pigs, including a total of 1400 animals from one farm, were examined. Within 5 min after the
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In order to evaluate the relationships between deck level, body surface temperature and carcass damages after a short journey (30 min), 10 deliveries of Italian heavy pigs, including a total of 1400 animals from one farm, were examined. Within 5 min after the arrival at the abattoir, the vehicles were unloaded. Environmental temperature and relative humidity were recorded and a Temperature Humidity Index (THI) was calculated. After unloading, maximum temperatures of dorsal and ocular regions were measured by a thermal camera on groups of pigs from each of the unloaded decks. After dehairing, quarters and whole carcasses were evaluated subjectively by a trained operator for skin damage using a four-point scale. On the basis of THI at unloading, deliveries were grouped into three classes. Data of body surface temperature and skin damage score were analysed in a model including THI class, deck level and their interaction. Regardless of pig location in the truck, the maximum temperature of the dorsal and ocular regions increased with increasing THI class. Within each THI class, the highest and lowest body surface temperatures were found in pigs located on the middle and upper decks, respectively. Only THI class was found to affect the skin damage score (p < 0.05), which increased on quarters and whole carcasses with increasing THI class. The results of this study on short-distance transport of Italian heavy pigs highlighted the need to control and ameliorate the environmental conditions in the trucks, even at relatively low temperature and THI, in order to improve welfare and reduce loss of carcass value. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Congenital Malformations in River Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Animals 2017, 7(2), 9; doi:10.3390/ani7020009 -
Abstract
The world buffalo population is about 168 million, and it is still growing, in India, China, Brazil, and Italy. In these countries, buffalo genetic breeding programs have been performed for many decades. The occurrence of congenital malformations has caused a slowing of the
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The world buffalo population is about 168 million, and it is still growing, in India, China, Brazil, and Italy. In these countries, buffalo genetic breeding programs have been performed for many decades. The occurrence of congenital malformations has caused a slowing of the genetic progress and economic loss for the breeders, due to the death of animals, or damage to their reproductive ability or failing of milk production. Moreover, they cause animal welfare reduction because they can imply foetal dystocia and because the affected animals have a reduced fitness with little chances of survival. This review depicts, in the river buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) world population, the present status of the congenital malformations, due to genetic causes, to identify their frequency and distribution in order to develop genetic breeding plans able to improve the productive and reproductive performance, and avoid the spreading of detrimental gene variants. Congenital malformations most frequently reported in literature or signaled by breeders to the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production of the University Federico II (Naples, Italy) in river buffalo are: musculoskeletal defects (transverse hemimelia, arthrogryposis, umbilical hernia) and disorders of sexual development. In conclusion this review put in evidence that river buffalo have a great variety of malformations due to genetic causes, and TH and omphalocele are the most frequent and that several cases are still not reported, leading to an underestimation of the real weight of genetic diseases in this species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Season, Transport Duration and Trailer Compartment Effects on Blood Stress Indicators in Pigs: Relationship to Environmental, Behavioral and Other Physiological Factors, and Pork Quality Traits
Animals 2017, 7(2), 8; doi:10.3390/ani7020008 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the season, travel duration and trailer compartment location on blood creatine-kinase (CK), lactate and cortisol concentrations in 384 pigs and assess their relationships with trailer temperature, heart rate and gastrointestinal tract temperature
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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the season, travel duration and trailer compartment location on blood creatine-kinase (CK), lactate and cortisol concentrations in 384 pigs and assess their relationships with trailer temperature, heart rate and gastrointestinal tract temperature (GTT), behavior, carcass damage scores and meat quality. Blood CK was greater in pigs transported in summer (p = 0.02), after 18 h transportation (p < 0.001) and in pigs located in C4, C5 and C10 (p = 0.002). In winter, the concentration of blood lactate was higher (p = 0.04) in pigs transported for 6 h in C5. Pigs located in C10 showed higher (p = 0.01) concentration of cortisol than those transported for 18h in C4 in summer. The highest correlations were between blood cortisol and GTT (r = 0.53; p < 0.001), and between blood CK and GTT (r = 0.41; p < 0.001), truck temperature (r = 0.42; p < 0.001), and pHu in the longissimus muscle (r = 0.41; p < 0.001). In conclusion, although increased blood cortisol and CK levels appear to indicate a physical stress condition in transported pigs, the weak to moderate correlations with environmental and other animal welfare indicators suggest that blood stress parameters can only be used as a complementary measurement in the assessment of the pigs’ response to transport stress. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Current Perspectives on Therapy Dog Welfare in Animal-Assisted Interventions
Animals 2017, 7(2), 7; doi:10.3390/ani7020007 -
Abstract
Research into the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) has primarily addressed human health outcomes. In contrast, only few publications deal with the therapy dog experience of AAIs. This paper provides an overview on potential welfare threats that therapy dogs may encounter and presents
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Research into the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) has primarily addressed human health outcomes. In contrast, only few publications deal with the therapy dog experience of AAIs. This paper provides an overview on potential welfare threats that therapy dogs may encounter and presents the results of a review of available studies on welfare indicators for therapy dogs during AAIs. Previous investigations used physiological and behavioral welfare indicators and dog handler surveys to identify work-related stress. Research outcomes are discussed in the light of strengths and weaknesses of the methods used. Study results suggest that frequency and duration of AAI sessions, novelty of the environment, controllability, age and familiarity of recipients modulate animal welfare indicators. However, this review reveals that currently, clear conclusions on how the well-being of dogs is influenced by the performance in AAIs are lacking due to the heterogeneity of programs, recipient and session characteristics, small dog sample sizes and methodological limitations. This paper further aimed to identify unresolved difficulties in previous research to pave the way for future investigations supporting the applicability of scientific findings in practice. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Stakeholders’ Roles within the Livestock Industry on Their Attitudes to Livestock Welfare in Southeast and East Asia
Animals 2017, 7(2), 6; doi:10.3390/ani7020006 -
Abstract
Stakeholders in the livestock industry are in a position to make critical choices that directly impact on animal welfare during slaughter and transport. Understanding the attitudes of stakeholders in livestock-importing countries, including factors that motivate the stakeholders to improve animal welfare, can lead
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Stakeholders in the livestock industry are in a position to make critical choices that directly impact on animal welfare during slaughter and transport. Understanding the attitudes of stakeholders in livestock-importing countries, including factors that motivate the stakeholders to improve animal welfare, can lead to improved trade relations with exporting developed countries and improved animal welfare initiatives in the importing countries. Improving stakeholder attitudes to livestock welfare may help to facilitate the better welfare that is increasingly demanded by the public for livestock. Knowledge of the existing attitudes towards the welfare of livestock during transport and slaughter provides a starting point that may help to target efforts. This study aimed to investigate the animal welfare attitudes of livestock stakeholders (farmers, team leaders, veterinarians, business owners, business managers, and those working directly with animals) in selected countries in E and SE Asia (China, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Malaysia). The factors that motivated them to improve animal welfare (in particular their religion, knowledge levels, monetary gain, the availability of tools and resources, more pressing community issues, and the approval of their supervisor and peers) were assessed for their relationships to stakeholder role and ranked according to their importance. Stakeholder roles influenced attitudes to animal welfare during livestock transport and slaughter. Farmers were more motivated by their peers compared to other stakeholders. Business owners reported higher levels of motivation from monetary gain, while business managers were mainly motivated by what was prescribed by the company for which they worked. Veterinarians reported the highest levels of perceived approval for improving animal welfare, and all stakeholder groups were least likely to be encouraged to change by a ‘western’ international organization. This study demonstrates the differences in attitudes of the major livestock stakeholders towards their animals’ welfare during transport and slaughter, which advocacy organisations can use to tailor strategies more effectively to improve animal welfare. The results suggest that animal welfare initiatives are more likely to engage their target audience when tailored to specific stakeholder groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effects of the Truck Suspension System on Animal Welfare, Carcass and Meat Quality Traits in Pigs
Animals 2017, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/ani7010005 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the effects of two types of commercial suspension (leaf-spring (LS) vs. air suspension (AS)) installed on two similar double-decked trucks on blood cortisol and lactate concentration, lairage behavior, carcass skin lesions and pork quality traits
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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of two types of commercial suspension (leaf-spring (LS) vs. air suspension (AS)) installed on two similar double-decked trucks on blood cortisol and lactate concentration, lairage behavior, carcass skin lesions and pork quality traits of 120 crossbred pigs. The suspension type neither influenced pig behaviour in lairage nor blood cortisol and lactate concentrations (p > 0.10). However, when compared with the AS suspension system, the use of LS increased the number of skin lesions in the back and thigh (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, respectively) and produced thigh with lower pHu (p < 0.001) and yellower colour (higher b* value; p = 0.03), and paler back muscles (subjective colour; p < 0.05), with a tendency to lower pH (p = 0.06). Therefore, the use air suspension system can improve carcass and meat quality traits of pigs transported to slaughter. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Whip Rule Breaches in a Major Australian Racing Jurisdiction: Welfare and Regulatory Implications
Animals 2017, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/ani7010004 -
Abstract
Whip use in horseracing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, animal welfare, social sustainability, and legal grounds. Despite this, there is weak evidence for whip use and its regulation by Stewards in Australia. To help address this, we characterised whip rule breaches recorded
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Whip use in horseracing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, animal welfare, social sustainability, and legal grounds. Despite this, there is weak evidence for whip use and its regulation by Stewards in Australia. To help address this, we characterised whip rule breaches recorded by Stewards using Stewards Reports and Race Diaries from 2013 and 2016 in New SouthWales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). There were more recorded breaches at Metropolitan (M) than Country (C) or Provincial (P) locations, and by riders of horses that finished first, second, or third than by riders of horses that finished in other positions. The most commonly recorded breaches were forehand whip use on more than five occasions before the 100-metre (m) mark (44%), and whip use that raises the jockey’s arm above shoulder height (24%). It is recommended that racing compliance data be analysed annually to inform the evidence-base for policy, education, and regulatory change, and ensure the welfare of racehorses and racing integrity. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2016
Animals 2017, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/ani7010003 -
Abstract The editors of Animals would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Fencing Large Predator-Free and Competitor-Free Landscapes for the Recovery of Woodland Caribou in Western Alberta: An Ineffective Conservation Option
Animals 2017, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/ani7010002 -
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Open AccessArticle
Housing of Cull Sows in the Hours before Transport to the Abattoir—An Initial Description of Sow Behaviour While Waiting in a Transfer Vehicle
Animals 2017, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/ani7010001 -
Abstract
In modern pig production, sows are transported by road to abattoirs. For reasons of biosecurity, commercial trucks may have limited access to farms. According to Danish regulations, sows can be kept in stationary transfer vehicles away from the farm for up to two
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In modern pig production, sows are transported by road to abattoirs. For reasons of biosecurity, commercial trucks may have limited access to farms. According to Danish regulations, sows can be kept in stationary transfer vehicles away from the farm for up to two hours before being loaded onto the commercial truck. We aimed to describe the behaviour of sows in transfer vehicles. This preliminary, exploratory study included data from 11 loads from a total of six Danish sow herds. Selection of animals to be slaughtered was done by the farmers. Clinical registrations were made before collection of the sows, after which they (in groups of 7–13) were mixed and moved to the transfer vehicle (median stocking density: 1.2 sow/m2), and driven a short distance to a public road. The duration of the stays in the transfer vehicles before being loaded onto the commercial trucks ranged from 6–59 min. During this period, the median frequency of aggressive interactions per load was 18 (range: 4–65), whereas the median frequency of lying per load was 1 (range: 0–23). The duration of the stay correlated positively with the frequency of aggressive interactions (rs = 0.89; n = 11; p < 0.001) and with the frequency of lying (rs = 0.62; n = 11; p < 0.05). Frequency of aggressive interactions correlated positively with the temperature inside the transfer vehicle (rs = 0.89; n = 7; p < 0.001). These preliminary results are the first to describe the behaviour of cull sows during waiting in transfer vehicles, and may suggest that this period can be challenging for sow welfare, especially for longer stays and during hot days.Full article
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 -
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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