Next Article in Journal
Broiler Chicks’ Motivation for Different Wood Beddings and Amounts of Soiling
Previous Article in Journal
Analysis of lncRNAs Expression Profiles in Hair Follicle of Hu Sheep Lambskin
Open AccessArticle

A Pilot Study of Methods for Evaluating the Effects of Arousal and Emotional Valence on Performance of Racing Greyhounds

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(6), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061037
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 4 June 2020 / Accepted: 8 June 2020 / Published: 15 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Racing greyhounds in Australia may have their racing careers ended early if they do not reliably chase the lure. It is not known why greyhounds bred specifically to chase may fail to do so, but possible reasons may be they are overly distressed by the race meet environment, or they get frustrated that they are not able to capture the lure. The current study sought ways to investigate these possibilities by exploring potential indicators of arousal and frustration in greyhounds at race meets across three different racetracks in New South Wales (NSW). Eye temperature offers a non-invasive, objective way to assess arousal. Behaviour thought to indicate arousal was also recorded. Finally, behaviour was recorded at the end of races to seek indications of frustration. Greyhounds that were older and had higher eye temperatures after the race performed worse in their races. Eye temperature before races was affected by the racetrack at which the race meet was held as well as the race number, suggesting some tracks may be more stressful for greyhounds than others, and that kennelling is probably a source of ongoing distress at race meets. Frustration-related behaviours were common at two of the tracks but less common at the third, where toys were available in the catch pen.
The racing greyhound industry in Australia has come under scrutiny in recent years due to animal welfare concerns, including wastage where physically sound greyhounds fail to enter or are removed from the racing industry because of poor performance. The reasons why some greyhounds perform poorly in racing are not well understood, but may include insufficient reinforcement for racing or negative affective states in response to the race meet environment. The current study investigated ways to measure affective states of greyhounds (n = 525) at race meets across three racetracks and the factors influencing performance by collecting behavioural and demographic data, and infrared thermographic images of greyhounds’ eyes at race meets. Increasing Eye Temp After had a negative association with performance (n = 290, Effect = −0.173, s.e. = 0.074, p-value = 0.027), as did increasing age (n = 290, Effect = −0.395, s.e. = 0.136, p-value = 0.004). The start box number also had a significant association, with boxes 4, 5 and 7 having an inverse relationship with performance. There was a significant effect of racetrack on mean eye temperatures before and after the race (n = 442, Effect = 1.910, s.e. = 0.274, p-value < 0.001; Effect = 1.595, s.e. = 0.1221, p-value < 0.001 for Gosford and Wentworth respectively), suggesting that some tracks may be inherently more stressful for greyhounds than others. Mean eye temperature before the race increased as the race meet progressed (n = 442, Effect = 0.103, s.e. = 0.002, p-value < 0.001). Behaviours that may indicate frustration in the catching pen were extremely common at two of the tracks but much less common at the third, where toys attached to bungees were used to draw greyhounds into the catching pen. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog; eye temperature; infrared thermography dog; eye temperature; infrared thermography
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Starling, M.; Spurrett, A.; McGreevy, P. A Pilot Study of Methods for Evaluating the Effects of Arousal and Emotional Valence on Performance of Racing Greyhounds. Animals 2020, 10, 1037. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061037

AMA Style

Starling M, Spurrett A, McGreevy P. A Pilot Study of Methods for Evaluating the Effects of Arousal and Emotional Valence on Performance of Racing Greyhounds. Animals. 2020; 10(6):1037. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061037

Chicago/Turabian Style

Starling, Melissa; Spurrett, Anthony; McGreevy, Paul. 2020. "A Pilot Study of Methods for Evaluating the Effects of Arousal and Emotional Valence on Performance of Racing Greyhounds" Animals 10, no. 6: 1037. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061037

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop