Special Issue "Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Rachel A. Grant

Department of Animal and Land Sciences, Hartpury College, Gloucs GL19 3 BE, UK
E-Mail
Interests: animal behaviour; animal welfare particularly in non-mammalian species and species that have complex needs in captivity, such as psittacines, amphibians and reptiles.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to bring together a body of work on ethology and the welfare of animals. The Special Issue invites submissions covering animal behavior and welfare generally, but particularly relating to the management of captive or domestic species. Submissions in all areas of pure and applied ethology and the welfare of animals will be considered and, in particular, we invite submissions in the following areas:

  • Animal health (from a welfare angle)
  • Anthrozoology
  • Livestock production and welfare
  • Enrichment of captive animal environments and the promotion of natural behaviour
  • The welfare of under-represented groups, such as fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and birds
  • Behavior and welfare of groups that may be at particular risk of impaired welfare due to complex needs in captivity, such as primates, psittacines, and marine mammals.
  • Equine behaviour and welfare

Dr. Rachel A. Grant
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessCommunication ExNOTic: Should We Be Keeping Exotic Pets?
Animals 2017, 7(6), 47; doi:10.3390/ani7060047
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 19 June 2017
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Abstract
There has been a recent trend towards keeping non-traditional companion animals, also known as exotic pets. These pets include parrots, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits, as well as small species of rodent such as degus and guinea pigs. Many of these exotic pet species
[...] Read more.
There has been a recent trend towards keeping non-traditional companion animals, also known as exotic pets. These pets include parrots, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits, as well as small species of rodent such as degus and guinea pigs. Many of these exotic pet species are not domesticated, and often have special requirements in captivity, which many owners do not have the facilities or knowledge to provide. Keeping animals in settings to which they are poorly adapted is a threat to their welfare. Additionally, owner satisfaction with the animal may be poor due to a misalignment of expectations, which further impacts on welfare, as it may lead to repeated rehoming or neglect. We investigate a range of commonly kept exotic species in terms of their suitability as companion animals from the point of view of animal welfare and owner satisfaction, and make recommendations on the suitability of various species as pets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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
Received: 13 October 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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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
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 19 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Which Influence Owners When Deciding to Use Chemotherapy in Terminally Ill Pets
Animals 2017, 7(3), 18; doi:10.3390/ani7030018
Received: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
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Abstract
Chemotherapy is a commonly integrated treatment option within human and animal oncology regimes. Limited research has investigated pet owners’ treatment decision-making in animals diagnosed with malignant neoplasia. Dog and cat owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire to elucidate factors which are
[...] Read more.
Chemotherapy is a commonly integrated treatment option within human and animal oncology regimes. Limited research has investigated pet owners’ treatment decision-making in animals diagnosed with malignant neoplasia. Dog and cat owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire to elucidate factors which are key to the decision making process. Seventy-eight respondents completed the questionnaire in full. Fifty-eight percent of pet owners would not elect to treat pets with chemotherapy due to the negative impact of the associated side effects. Seventytwo percent of respondents over estimated pet survival time post chemotherapy, indicating a general perception that it would lead to remission or a cure. Vomiting was considered an acceptable side effect but inappetence, weight loss and depression were considered unacceptable. Owners did expect animals’ to be less active, sleep more and play less, but common side effects were not rated as acceptable despite the potential benefits of chemotherapy. Based on the results, veterinary teams involved with oncology consultations should establish if clients have prior experience of cancer treatments and their expectations of survival time. Quality of life assessments should also be implemented during initial oncology consultations and conducted regularly during chemotherapy courses to inform client decision making and to safe guard animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Dairy Cows Produce Less Milk and Modify Their Behaviour during the Transition between Tie-Stall to Free-Stall
Animals 2017, 7(3), 16; doi:10.3390/ani7030016
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
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Abstract
Transfer of cattle to an unknown barn may result in a reduction in its welfare. Housing and management practices can result in signs of stress that include a long-term suppression of milk efficiency. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence
[...] Read more.
Transfer of cattle to an unknown barn may result in a reduction in its welfare. Housing and management practices can result in signs of stress that include a long-term suppression of milk efficiency. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of moving cows from the stanchion-stall housing to free-stall housing on their behaviour and production. The Holstein cows were moved into the new facility with free-stall housing from the old barn with stanchion-stall housing. Cows lay down up to ten hours (596.3 ± 282.7 min) after removing. The cows in their second lactation and open cows tended to lie sooner after removing than cows in their first lactation and pregnant cows. The times of total lying and rumination were increasing from the first day to the tenth day after removing (23.76 ± 7.20 kg vs. 30.97 ± 7.26 kg, p < 0.001). Cows produced 23.3% less milk at the first day following the transfer than at the last day prior to moving (p < 0.001). Loss of milk was gradually reduced and maximum production was achieved on the 14th day. The difference was found in milk losses due to the shift between cows on the first and second lactation (p < 0.01). The results of this study suggest that removing from the tie-stall barn with a pipeline milking system into the barn with free-stall housing and a milking parlour caused a decline in the cows’ milk production. However, when the cows are moved to a better environment, they rapidly adapt to the change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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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
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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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
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 7 October 2016 / Accepted: 17 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
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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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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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
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 22 September 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 8 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2871 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Intramuscular or Subcutaneous Injections vs. Castration in Pigs—Impacts on Behavior and Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(9), 52; doi:10.3390/ani6090052
Received: 3 May 2016 / Revised: 12 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
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Abstract
Physical castration (PC) is painful and stressful for nursing piglets. One alternative to PC is immunological castration (IC), but the pain and stress of handling associated with injections have not been assessed. The objectives of this study were to measure the pain and
[...] Read more.
Physical castration (PC) is painful and stressful for nursing piglets. One alternative to PC is immunological castration (IC), but the pain and stress of handling associated with injections have not been assessed. The objectives of this study were to measure the pain and distress of subcutaneous (SQ) and intramuscular (IM) injections compared to PC in piglets, and to compare SQ or IM injections in finishing pigs. After farrowing, 3 to 5 d old male piglets were randomly assigned to (control) no handling treatment (NO), sham-handling (SHAM), IM, SQ, or PC. Finishing pigs were assigned to NO, SHAM, IM, or SQ. Behavior was monitored for 1 h prior and 1 h post treatment in each age group. Social, feeding behaviors, and signs of pain were recorded. Finishing pigs treated with SQ injections had higher feeding behaviors pre-treatment than they did post-treatment. Overall, physical castrations caused measurable pain-like behaviors and general behavioral dysregulation at a much higher level than the other treatment groups. SQ and IM injections did not cause either significant behavioral or physiological alterations in piglets. SQ injections caused a decrease in finishing pig feed behaviors post treatment ( p = 0.02) and SHAM treated finishing pigs spent significantly more time lying than the other treatment groups. In general IM and SQ injections did not cause any other significant changes in behavior or physiology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Quantity Discrimination in Domestic Rats, Rattus norvegicus
Animals 2016, 6(8), 46; doi:10.3390/ani6080046
Received: 30 April 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 1 August 2016 / Published: 3 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Quantity discrimination is a basic form of numerical competence where an animal distinguishes which of two amounts is greater in size. Whilst quantity discrimination in rats has been investigated via training paradigms, rats’ natural quantity discrimination abilities without explicit training for a desired
[...] Read more.
Quantity discrimination is a basic form of numerical competence where an animal distinguishes which of two amounts is greater in size. Whilst quantity discrimination in rats has been investigated via training paradigms, rats’ natural quantity discrimination abilities without explicit training for a desired response have not been explored. This study investigated domestic rats’ ability to perform quantity discrimination. Domestic rats ( n = 12) were examined for their ability to distinguish the larger amount under nine quantity comparisons. One-sample t -tests identified a significant preference for the larger quantity in comparisons of 1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 3, 3 vs. 5, 3 vs. 8, 4 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 8. No preference between quantities was found for comparisons of 3 vs. 4, 4 vs. 5 and 5 vs. 6. Overall, this study drew two key conclusions. Firstly, that domestic rats are capable of performing quantity discrimination without extensive training. Secondly, as subjects adhered to Weber’s law, it was concluded that the approximate number system underpins domestic rats’ ability to perform spontaneous quantity discrimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)

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