Open AccessCommunication
A Decade of Progress toward Ending the Intensive Confinement of Farm Animals in the United States
Animals 2017, 7(5), 40; doi:10.3390/ani7050040 -
Abstract
In this paper, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) farm animal protection work over the preceding decade is described from the perspective of the organization. Prior to 2002, there were few legal protections for animals on the farm, and in 2005,
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In this paper, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) farm animal protection work over the preceding decade is described from the perspective of the organization. Prior to 2002, there were few legal protections for animals on the farm, and in 2005, a new campaign at the HSUS began to advance state ballot initiatives throughout the country, with a decisive advancement in California (Proposition 2) that paved the way for further progress. Combining legislative work with undercover farm and slaughterhouse investigations, litigation and corporate engagement, the HSUS and fellow animal protection organizations have made substantial progress in transitioning the veal, pork and egg industries away from intensive confinement systems that keep the animals in cages and crates. Investigations have become an important tool for demonstrating widespread inhumane practices, building public support and convincing the retail sector to publish meaningful animal welfare policies. While federal legislation protecting animals on the farm stalled, there has been steady state-by-state progress, and this is complemented by major brands such as McDonald’s and Walmart pledging to purchase only from suppliers using cage-free and crate-free animal housing systems. The evolution of societal expectations regarding animals has helped propel the recent wave of progress and may also be driven, in part, by the work of animal protection organizations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Behavioural Profiles of Brown and Sloth Bears in Captivity
Animals 2017, 7(5), 39; doi:10.3390/ani7050039 -
Abstract
Three brown bear (Ursusarctosarctos) individuals and two sloth bear (Melursusursinusinornatus) individuals were observed in captivity to produce behavioural profiles for each individual. Data collected through behavioural observations were used to produce activity budgets, and to
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Three brown bear (Ursusarctosarctos) individuals and two sloth bear (Melursusursinusinornatus) individuals were observed in captivity to produce behavioural profiles for each individual. Data collected through behavioural observations were used to produce activity budgets, and to identify space usage and certain aspects of social behavior. Behaviour monitoring allowed the researchers to evaluate the welfare of the animals by identifying the occurrence of stereotypic behaviours, which are sometimes associated with stress. Behavioural profiles were created using data obtained through behavioural observations (coding) and keeper questionnaires (rating). The behavioural observations indicated a number of stereotypic behaviours in sloth bears but not in brown bears. The uniformity of zone usage was calculated to investigate if the enclosure size and features were adequate for use, and a social aspect of otherwise solitary animals was also identified. The behavioural profiles generated through coding and rating were compared to determine the reliability between these two methods in Ursids. Profiles were not compared between individuals since this study is not a comparison between different personality types but rather an effort (one of the few ones existing in literature) to select a valid and reproducible methodology capable of assessing personality in bears. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intake Procedures in Colorado Animal Shelters
Animals 2017, 7(5), 38; doi:10.3390/ani7050038 -
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to describe intake procedures in Colorado animal shelters, compare infectious disease screening protocols in shelters taking in animals from out-of-state to shelters only accepting animals from Colorado, and analyze perceived risk of diseases in Colorado by responding
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The purpose of this study was to describe intake procedures in Colorado animal shelters, compare infectious disease screening protocols in shelters taking in animals from out-of-state to shelters only accepting animals from Colorado, and analyze perceived risk of diseases in Colorado by responding shelter personnel. A questionnaire was designed and administered to shelter personnel across the state of Colorado via the survey tool SurveyMonkey© (http://www.surveymonkey.com) or a mailed hard copy. Information collected concerned general shelter characteristics and intake procedures performed in various circumstances as reported by responding shelter personnel. Only 12.5% (5/40) of respondents reported providing core vaccines to all animals upon intake at their shelter, with young age (65.0%; 26/40), pregnancy (55.0%; 22/40), and mild existing illness (40.0%; 16/40) being cited as the top reasons for not administering core vaccines. A significantly larger proportion of shelters taking animals in from around the U.S. screened for Dirofilaria immitis than shelters taking in animals only from within the state of Colorado (p = 0.001), though a majority of respondents considered cats and dogs to be at risk of heartworm and endoparasitic infection in the state of Colorado. Based on the results of this questionnaire, relatively few shelters test dogs and cats for infectious diseases and some of those utilize tests for diagnostic purposes rather than routine screening. Additionally, vaccination protocols in several shelters are not consistent with The Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. This study provides important information on intake procedures in Colorado animal shelters and highlights the importance of educating shelter staff on varying risk of infection based on the history and origin of the animal being taken in. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Practices for Alleviating Heat Stress of Dairy Cows in Humid Continental Climates: A Literature Review
Animals 2017, 7(5), 37; doi:10.3390/ani7050037 -
Abstract
Heat stress negatively affects the health and performance of dairy cows, resulting in considerable economic losses for the industry. In future years, climate change will exacerbate these losses by making the climate warmer. Physical modification of the environment is considered to be the
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Heat stress negatively affects the health and performance of dairy cows, resulting in considerable economic losses for the industry. In future years, climate change will exacerbate these losses by making the climate warmer. Physical modification of the environment is considered to be the primary means of reducing adverse effects of hot weather conditions. At present, to reduce stressful heat exposure and to cool cows, dairy farms rely on shade screens and various forms of forced convection and evaporative cooling that may include fans and misters, feed-line sprinklers, and tunnel- or cross-ventilated buildings. However, these systems have been mainly tested in subtropical areas and thus their efficiency in humid continental climates, such as in the province of Québec, Canada, is unclear. Therefore, this study reviewed the available cooling applications and assessed their potential for northern regions. Thermal stress indices such as the temperature-humidity index (THI) were used to evaluate the different cooling strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exploration Feeding and Higher Space Allocation Improve Welfare of Growing-Finishing Pigs
Animals 2017, 7(5), 36; doi:10.3390/ani7050036 -
Abstract
Lack of environmental enrichment and high stocking densities in growing-finishing pigs can lead to adverse social behaviors directed to pen mates, resulting in skin lesions, lameness, and tail biting. The objective of the study was to improve animal welfare and prevent biting behavior
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Lack of environmental enrichment and high stocking densities in growing-finishing pigs can lead to adverse social behaviors directed to pen mates, resulting in skin lesions, lameness, and tail biting. The objective of the study was to improve animal welfare and prevent biting behavior in an experiment with a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design on exploration feeding, stocking density, and sex. We kept 550 pigs in 69 pens from 63 days to 171 days of life. Pigs were supplemented with or without exploration feeding, kept in groups of seven (1.0 m2/pig) or nine animals (0.8 m2/pig) and separated per sex. Exploration feeding provided small amounts of feed periodically on the solid floor. Skin lesion scores were significantly lower in pens with exploration feeding (p = 0.028, p < 0.001, p < 0.001 for front, middle, and hind body), in pens with high compared to low space allowance (p = 0.005, p = 0.006, p < 0.001 for front, middle and hind body), and in pens with females compared to males (p < 0.001, p = 0.005, p < 0.001 for front, middle and hind body). Males with exploration feeding had fewer front skin lesions than females with exploration feeding (p = 0.022). Pigs with 1.0 m2 compared to 0.8 m2 per pig had a higher daily gain of 27 g per pig per day (p = 0.04) and males compared to females had a higher daily gain of 39 g per pig per day (p = 0.01). These results indicate that exploration feeding might contribute to the development of a more welfare-friendly pig husbandry with intact tails in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Family Dog-Assisted Adapted Physical Activity: A Case Study
Animals 2017, 7(5), 35; doi:10.3390/ani7050035 -
Abstract
Purpose: The aim of this case study was to examine the individual effects of an adapted physical activity, animal-assisted intervention (APA-AAI) with the family dog on motor skills, physical activity, and quality of life of a child with cerebral palsy (CP). Method:
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Purpose: The aim of this case study was to examine the individual effects of an adapted physical activity, animal-assisted intervention (APA-AAI) with the family dog on motor skills, physical activity, and quality of life of a child with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: This study used an A-B-A single-subject design. The assessment phase (phase A) occurred pre- and post-intervention. This consisted of standardized assessments of motor skills, quality of life questionnaires, physical activity (measured using the GT3X+ accelerometer) and the human-animal bond. The intervention (phase B) lasted 8 weeks and consisted of adapted physical activities performed with the family dog once a week for 60 min in a lab setting. In addition, the participant had at-home daily activities to complete with the family dog. Results: Visual analysis was used to analyze the data. Motor skill performance, physical activity, quality of life and human animal interaction gains were observed in each case. Conclusions: These preliminary results provided initial evidence that the family-dog can play a role in healthy lifestyles through APA-AAI in children with CP. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Pregnant Sheep in a Farm Environment Did Not Develop Anaemia
Animals 2017, 7(5), 34; doi:10.3390/ani7050034 -
Abstract
The aim of this study was to document the haematological profile of pregnant ewes throughout gestation. Sheep were divided into three groups (n = 8 per group): non-pregnant, singleton, or twin pregnancy. Blood samples were collected every 14 days from day 55
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The aim of this study was to document the haematological profile of pregnant ewes throughout gestation. Sheep were divided into three groups (n = 8 per group): non-pregnant, singleton, or twin pregnancy. Blood samples were collected every 14 days from day 55 of gestation for haemoglobin concentration; packed cell volume; total protein; and albumin concentration. On days 55 and 125 of gestation blood was collected for trace element estimation: soluble copper and zinc; glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx); and methylmalonic acid (MMA). Pooled faecal samples were collected on days 55, 97, and 139 of gestation. Pasture cuts were collected on days 97 and 153 of gestation. The haematology and protein concentrations were not different between groups throughout the study. Copper concentration increased in all animals during the study (p < 0.0001). Zinc concentration was lowest in the singleton and twin pregnant sheep on day 55 of gestation (p = 0.04). GSHPx was not different between groups during the study. MMA decreased in all animals during the study (p < 0.0001), but was not different between groups. Faecal samples were consistently negative for strongyle and nematode eggs, and coccidian oocysts. The pasture was good quality. Pregnant sheep in a farm environment with normal trace element status, no parasites, and an adequate diet, did not develop anaemia (PCV < 0.27). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Are Service Dogs for Adults with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Integrated with Rehabilitation in Denmark? A Case Study
Animals 2017, 7(5), 33; doi:10.3390/ani7050033 -
Abstract
A severe mental illness like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is known to have psychosocial consequences that can lead to a decreased quality of life. Research in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) has revealed that the presence of a dog can have a positive effect
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A severe mental illness like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is known to have psychosocial consequences that can lead to a decreased quality of life. Research in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) has revealed that the presence of a dog can have a positive effect on health, e.g., increase quality of life and lessen depression and anxiety. However, canine companionship is not a catch-all solution. Previous research has revealed methodological limitations that prohibit any clear conclusions, as well as a sparsity of critical reflection in anecdotal reports and case studies, which means that more research is needed to contextualize the findings. There has been an increasing interest in animal-assisted intervention in Denmark in recent years. Previously, authorities could only grant service dogs to adults with physical disabilities, but now this has been extended to adults with mental illnesses. Therefore, it has become important to explore how these service dogs are incorporated into rehabilitation practices in mental health, and how rehabilitation professionals react to the use of service dogs. This paper is a case study of a person who suffers from PTSD. This study examines how the person describes the significance of having a dog during her rehabilitation process, and how this is integrated with existing rehabilitation. The case study has been developed based on a semi-structured interview. A Thematic Content analysis was used to reveal dominant patterns and categories. This study revealed a lack of communication and collaboration between public administration (social service), service dog providers, health rehabilitation services, and providers of psychological treatment. It also revealed limited access for the dog to public services, limited success in incorporating the dog into goal-directed treatment and rehabilitation procedures, a strongly felt emotional support from the dog, and a perceived stigma by having the dog wearing a vest with he words “mentally ill” printed on it. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Prepartum Lying Behavior of Holstein Dairy Cows Housed on Pasture through Parturition
Animals 2017, 7(4), 32; doi:10.3390/ani7040032 -
Abstract
Utilizing pasture-based systems may increase cow comfort during late gestation and calving as it lacks the constraints of confinement housing. The objective of this study was to quantify lying behavior and activity of Holstein dairy cows housed on pasture during the 6 d
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Utilizing pasture-based systems may increase cow comfort during late gestation and calving as it lacks the constraints of confinement housing. The objective of this study was to quantify lying behavior and activity of Holstein dairy cows housed on pasture during the 6 d before calving. Sixteen Holstein dairy cows were moved to pasture 3 weeks before their projected calving date. Data loggers were attached 14 d prior to projected calving date. Behavior was evaluated 6 d before calving for all cows (n = 16) and 6 h prior to calving for a subset of cows (n = 6) with known calving times. Data loggers recorded at 1-min intervals to determine lying time (h/d and %/h), lying bouts (n/d and n/h), lying bout duration (min/bout), and steps (n/d and n/h). A repeated measures analysis of variance with contrasts was performed to determine if lying behaviors and activity differed between baseline and day or hour of interest. Lying time was greater 6 d prior to calving compared to the day of and before calving. Cows had longer lying bouts 6 d prior to calving compared to day of calving. Cows spent less time lying in the hour before calving compared to 6 h prior to parturition. The lack of change in behavior and activity during the 7 d prior to calving may indicate that pasture provided an adequate environment for cows during the prepartum period but did not impact cow welfare in the hours leading up to calving. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Green Care: A Review of the Benefits and Potential of Animal-Assisted Care Farming Globally and in Rural America
Animals 2017, 7(4), 31; doi:10.3390/ani7040031 -
Abstract
The term Green Care includes therapeutic, social or educational interventions involving farming; farm animals; gardening or general contact with nature. Although Green Care can occur in any setting in which there is interaction with plants or animals, this review focuses on therapeutic practices
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The term Green Care includes therapeutic, social or educational interventions involving farming; farm animals; gardening or general contact with nature. Although Green Care can occur in any setting in which there is interaction with plants or animals, this review focuses on therapeutic practices occurring on farms. The efficacy of care farming is discussed and the broad utilization of care farming and farm care communities in Europe is reviewed. Though evidence from care farms in the United States is included in this review, the empirical evidence which could determine its efficacy is lacking. For example, the empirical evidence supporting or refuting the efficacy of therapeutic horseback riding in adults is minimal, while there is little non-equine care farming literature with children. The health care systems in Europe are also much different than those in the United States. In order for insurance companies to cover Green Care techniques in the United States, extensive research is necessary. This paper proposes community-based ways that Green Care methods can be utilized without insurance in the United States. Though Green Care can certainly be provided in urban areas, this paper focuses on ways rural areas can utilize existing farms to benefit the mental and physical health of their communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Was Jack the Ripper a Slaughterman? Human-Animal Violence and the World’s Most Infamous Serial Killer
Animals 2017, 7(4), 30; doi:10.3390/ani7040030 -
Abstract
Hundreds of theories exist concerning the identity of “Jack the Ripper”. His propensity for anatomical dissection with a knife—and in particular the rapid location and removal of specific organs—led some to speculate that he must have been surgically trained. However, re-examination of a
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Hundreds of theories exist concerning the identity of “Jack the Ripper”. His propensity for anatomical dissection with a knife—and in particular the rapid location and removal of specific organs—led some to speculate that he must have been surgically trained. However, re-examination of a mortuary sketch of one of his victims has revealed several aspects of incisional technique highly inconsistent with professional surgical training. Related discrepancies are also apparent in the language used within the only letter from Jack considered to be probably authentic. The techniques he used to dispatch his victims and retrieve their organs were, however, highly consistent with techniques used within the slaughterhouses of the day. East London in the 1880s had a large number of small-scale slaughterhouses, within which conditions for both animals and workers were exceedingly harsh. Modern sociological research has highlighted the clear links between the infliction of violence on animals and that inflicted on humans, as well as increased risks of violent crimes in communities surrounding slaughterhouses. Conditions within modern slaughterhouses are more humane in some ways but more desensitising in others. The implications for modern animal slaughtering, and our social reliance on slaughterhouses, are explored. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does a 4–6 Week Shoeing Interval Promote Optimal Foot Balance in the Working Equine?
Animals 2017, 7(4), 29; doi:10.3390/ani7040029 -
Abstract
Variation in equine hoof conformation between farriery interventions lacks research, despite associations with distal limb injuries. This study aimed to determine linear and angular hoof variations pre- and post-farriery within a four to six week shoeing/trimming interval. Seventeen hoof and distal limb measurements
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Variation in equine hoof conformation between farriery interventions lacks research, despite associations with distal limb injuries. This study aimed to determine linear and angular hoof variations pre- and post-farriery within a four to six week shoeing/trimming interval. Seventeen hoof and distal limb measurements were drawn from lateral and anterior digital photographs from 26 horses pre- and post-farriery. Most lateral view variables changed significantly. Reductions of the dorsal wall, and weight bearing and coronary band lengths resulted in an increased vertical orientation of the hoof. The increased dorsal hoof wall angle, heel angle, and heel height illustrated this further, improving dorsopalmar alignment. Mediolateral measurements of coronary band and weight bearing lengths reduced, whilst medial and lateral wall lengths from the 2D images increased, indicating an increased vertical hoof alignment. Additionally, dorsopalmar balance improved. However, the results demonstrated that a four to six week interval is sufficient for a palmer shift in the centre of pressure, increasing the loading on acutely inclined heels, altering DIP angulation, and increasing the load on susceptible structures (e.g., DDFT). Mediolateral variable asymmetries suit the lateral hoof landing and unrollment pattern of the foot during landing. The results support regular (four to six week) farriery intervals for the optimal prevention of excess loading of palmar limb structures, reducing long-term injury risks through cumulative, excessive loading. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Enrichment in Kennelled Pit Bull Terriers (Canis lupus familiaris)
Animals 2017, 7(4), 27; doi:10.3390/ani7040027 -
Abstract
Although social enrichment can be considered beneficial in helping dogs cope with the kennel environment, when taking individual needs into account, it places a large demand on the carers and may not be appropriate in under-resourced kennels. Some kennels are also designed in
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Although social enrichment can be considered beneficial in helping dogs cope with the kennel environment, when taking individual needs into account, it places a large demand on the carers and may not be appropriate in under-resourced kennels. Some kennels are also designed in such a way that there is too much social interaction, in that individuals cannot choose to distance themselves from conspecifics. This study therefore aimed to assess the effects of easily accessible enrichment on the behaviour of kennelled Pit Bull Terrier type dogs rescued from a dog-fighting ring in the Philippines. Thirty-six dogs were allocated to one of three treatment groups following a matched-subject design: (i) cardboard bed provision; (ii) coconut provision; and (iii) visual contact with dogs housed in adjacent cages obstructed with cardboard partitions. Behavioural diversity and the duration and frequency of individual behaviours were analysed using linear mixed-effect models. Yawning frequencies and time spent lying down and sitting decreased during treatment. No particular treatment was more influential in these behavioural changes. In conclusion, enrichment, regardless of type, affected the dogs’ behaviour, with some effects depending on the sex of the dogs. Therefore, it is possible to cheaply and sustainably enrich the lives of dogs living in highly constrained environments, however, further research is required to refine the methods used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Perceptions of Welfare Issues and Indicators for Extensively Managed Sheep in Australia
Animals 2017, 7(4), 28; doi:10.3390/ani7040028 -
Abstract
An online survey was designed to form the basis of a framework for the welfare assessment of extensively managed sheep in Australia. The survey focused on welfare compromise and useful welfare indicators. A total of 952 people completed the survey in its entirety,
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An online survey was designed to form the basis of a framework for the welfare assessment of extensively managed sheep in Australia. The survey focused on welfare compromise and useful welfare indicators. A total of 952 people completed the survey in its entirety, representing four stakeholder groups: Public (53.6%), Producer (27.4%), Scientist (9.9%), and Service provider (9.1%). Animal welfare was considered to be important by all participating groups in this survey (average score of 3.78/4). Respondents felt the welfare of grazing sheep was generally adequate but improvement was desired (2.98/5), with female members of the public rating sheep welfare significantly worse than other respondents (p < 0.05). Environmental issues were considered to pose the greatest risk to welfare (3.87/5), followed by heat stress (3.79), lameness (3.57) and husbandry practices (3.37). Key indicators recognised by all respondents were those associated with pain and fear (3.98/5), nutrition (4.23), mortality/management (4.27), food on offer (4.41) and number of illness/injures in a flock (4.33). There were gender and stakeholder differences in the perceived importance of both welfare issues and indicators with women and the public consistently rating issues (all p < 0.01) and indicators (all p < 0.05) to be of greater significance than other respondents. These results highlight the importance of including all stakeholders and an even balance of genders when developing a welfare framework that can address both practical and societal concerns. Full article
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Open AccessOpinion
A Review of Sustainability Enhancements in the Beef Value Chain: State-of-the-Art and Recommendations for Future Improvements
Animals 2017, 7(3), 26; doi:10.3390/ani7030026 -
Abstract
The beef sector is working towards continually improving its sustainability in order to achieve environmentally, socially and economically desirable outcomes, all of which are of increasing concern to consumers. In this context, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) provides guidance to advance
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The beef sector is working towards continually improving its sustainability in order to achieve environmentally, socially and economically desirable outcomes, all of which are of increasing concern to consumers. In this context, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) provides guidance to advance the sustainability of the beef industry, through increased stakeholder engagement and the formation of national roundtables. Recently, the 2nd Global Conference on Sustainable Beef took place in Banff, Alberta, Canada, hosted by the GRSB and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Conference attendees discussed the various initiatives that are being developed to address aspects of beef sustainability. This paper reviews the main discussions that occurred during this event, along with the key lessons learned, messages, and strategies that were proposed to improve the sustainability of the global beef industry. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Land Use for Edible Protein of Animal Origin—A Review
Animals 2017, 7(3), 25; doi:10.3390/ani7030025 -
Abstract
The present period is characterized by a growing world population and a higher demand for more and better quality food, as well as other products for an improved standard of living. In the future, there will be increasingly strong competition for arable land
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The present period is characterized by a growing world population and a higher demand for more and better quality food, as well as other products for an improved standard of living. In the future, there will be increasingly strong competition for arable land and non-renewable resources such as fossil carbon-sources, water, and some minerals, as well as between food, feed, fuel, fiber, flowers, and fun (6 F’s). Proteins of animal origin like milk, meat, fish, eggs and, probably, insects are very valuable sources of essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins, but their production consumes some non-renewable resources including arable land and causes considerable emissions. Therefore, this study´s objective was to calculate some examples of the land use (arable land and grassland) for production of edible animal protein taking into consideration important animal species/categories, levels of plant and animal yields, the latter estimated with and without co-products from agriculture, and the food/biofuel industry in animal feeding. There are large differences between animal species/categories and their potential to produce edible protein depending on many influencing variables. The highest amounts per kilogram body weight are produced by growing broiler chicken followed by laying hens and dairy cows; the lowest yields in edible protein and the highest land need were observed for beef cattle. This review clearly indicates that the production of food of animal origin is a very complex process, and selective considerations, i.e., focusing on single factors, do not provide an assessment that reflects the complexity of the subject. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Conscientious Objection to Animal Experimentation in Italian Universities
Animals 2017, 7(3), 24; doi:10.3390/ani7030024 -
Abstract
In Italy, Law 413/1993 states that public and private Italian Institutions, including academic faculties, are obliged to fully inform workers and students about their right to conscientious objection to scientific or educational activities involving animals, hereafter written as “animal CO”. However, little monitoring
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In Italy, Law 413/1993 states that public and private Italian Institutions, including academic faculties, are obliged to fully inform workers and students about their right to conscientious objection to scientific or educational activities involving animals, hereafter written as “animal CO”. However, little monitoring on the faculties’ compliance with this law has been performed either by the government or other institutional bodies. Based on this premise, the authors have critically reviewed the existing data and compared them with those emerging from their own investigation to discuss limitations and inconsistencies. The results of this investigation revealed that less than half of Italian academic faculties comply with their duty to inform on animal CO. Non-compliance may substantially affect the right of students to make ethical choices in the field of animal ethics and undermines the fundamental right to express their own freedom of thought. The Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, ethics committees and animal welfare bodies should cooperate to make faculties respect this law. Further research is needed to better understand the reasons for the current trend, as well as to promote the enforcement of Law 413/1993 with particular regard to information on animal CO. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Need for Formal Evidence Synthesis in Food Policy: A Case Study of Willingness-to-Pay
Animals 2017, 7(3), 23; doi:10.3390/ani7030023 -
Abstract
Meta-analysis is increasingly utilised in the understanding of consumer behaviour, including in relation to farm animal welfare. However, the issue of publication bias has received little attention. As willingness-to-pay (WTP) is widely used in policy, it is important to explore publication bias. This
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Meta-analysis is increasingly utilised in the understanding of consumer behaviour, including in relation to farm animal welfare. However, the issue of publication bias has received little attention. As willingness-to-pay (WTP) is widely used in policy, it is important to explore publication bias. This research aimed to evaluate publication bias in WTP, specifically public WTP for farm animal welfare. A systematic review of four databases yielded 54 studies for random effects meta-analysis. Publication bias was assessed by the Egger test, rank test, contour-enhanced funnel plots, and the Vevea and Hedges weight-function model. Results consistently indicated the presence of publication bias, highlighting an overestimation of WTP for farm animal welfare. Stakeholders should be wary of WTP estimates that have not been critically evaluated for publication bias. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Individual Ranging Behaviour Patterns in Commercial Free-Range Layers as Observed through RFID Tracking
Animals 2017, 7(3), 21; doi:10.3390/ani7030021 -
Abstract
In this exploratory study, we tracked free-range laying hens on two commercial flocks with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with the aim to examine individual hen variation in range use. Three distinct outdoor zones were identified at increasing distances from the shed; the
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In this exploratory study, we tracked free-range laying hens on two commercial flocks with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with the aim to examine individual hen variation in range use. Three distinct outdoor zones were identified at increasing distances from the shed; the veranda [0–2.4 m], close range [2.4–11.4 m], and far range [>11.4 m]. Hens’ movements between these areas were tracked using radio frequency identification technology. Most of the hens in both flocks (68.6% in Flock A, and 82.2% in Flock B) accessed the range every day during the study. Of the hens that accessed the range, most hens accessed all three zones (73.7% in Flock A, and 84.5% in Flock B). Hens spent half of their time outdoors in the veranda area. Within-individual consistency of range use (daily duration and frequency) varied considerably, and hens which were more consistent in their daily range use spent more time on the range overall (p < 0.001). Understanding variation within and between individuals in ranging behaviour may help elucidate the implications of ranging for laying hens. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Public Understanding and Attitudes towards Meat Chicken Production and Relations to Consumption
Animals 2017, 7(3), 20; doi:10.3390/ani7030020 -
Abstract
Little is known about public knowledge of meat chicken production and how it influences attitudes to birds’ welfare and consumer behaviour. We interviewed 506 members of the public in SE Queensland; Australia; to determine how knowledge of meat chicken production and slaughter links
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Little is known about public knowledge of meat chicken production and how it influences attitudes to birds’ welfare and consumer behaviour. We interviewed 506 members of the public in SE Queensland; Australia; to determine how knowledge of meat chicken production and slaughter links to attitudes and consumption. Knowledge was assessed from 15 questions and low scores were supported by respondents’ self-assessed report of low knowledge levels and agreement that their knowledge was insufficient to form an opinion about which chicken products to purchase. Older respondents and single people without children were most knowledgeable. There was uncertainty about whether chicken welfare was adequate, particularly in those with little knowledge. There was also evidence that a lack of empathy towards chickens related to lack of knowledge, since those that thought it acceptable that some birds are inadequately stunned at slaughter had low knowledge scores. More knowledgeable respondents ate chicken more frequently and were less likely to buy products with accredited labelling. Approximately half of the respondents thought the welfare of the chicken was more important than the cost. It is concluded that the public’s knowledge has an important connection to their attitudes and consumption of chicken. Full article
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