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Animals, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2015) – 26 articles

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Article
Effects of Prepartum Dietary Energy Level and Nicotinic Acid Supplementation on Immunological, Hematological and Biochemical Parameters of Periparturient Dairy Cows Differing in Parity
Animals 2015, 5(3), 910-933; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030391 - 08 Sep 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2389
Abstract
The periparturient period is critical according to health, productivity and profitability. As this period is fundamental for the success of the lactation period, the interest in improving periparturient health by dietary supplements increased in recent years. The present study investigated the effects of [...] Read more.
The periparturient period is critical according to health, productivity and profitability. As this period is fundamental for the success of the lactation period, the interest in improving periparturient health by dietary supplements increased in recent years. The present study investigated the effects of feeding nicotinic acid (NA) combined with varying dietary energy densities on immunological, hematological and biochemical parameters of periparturient cows differing in parity. Thirty-six multiparous and 20 primiparous dairy cows were enrolled in the study 42 days before expected parturition date until 100 days postpartum with the half of the cows being supplemented with 24 g of NA/d. After parturition a diet with 30% concentrate was fed to all cows which was followed by different concentrate escalation strategies. Dietary NA supplementation was ceased on day 24 postpartum. Dietary NA increased (P = 0.010) serum nicotinamide concentrations (mean of 3.35 ± 1.65 µg/mL), whereas NA could not be detected. Present data emphasize that periparturient cows are faced with major physiological challenges and that both parity-groups have different prerequisites to adapt to those changes irrespective of NA supplementation. The overfeeding of energy to cows which were similar in body condition score had only minor effects on periparturient immune system function and the metabolism of those cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Metabolic Health of Dairy Cow)
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Article
Workplace Injuries in Thoroughbred Racing: An Analysis of Insurance Payments and Injuries amongst Jockeys in Australia from 2002 to 2010
Animals 2015, 5(3), 897-909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030390 - 08 Sep 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3131
Abstract
Background: There is no comprehensive study of the costs of horse-related workplace injuries to Australian Thoroughbred racing jockeys. Objectives: To analyse the characteristics of insurance payments and horse-related workplace injuries to Australian jockeys during Thoroughbred racing or training. Methods: Insurance [...] Read more.
Background: There is no comprehensive study of the costs of horse-related workplace injuries to Australian Thoroughbred racing jockeys. Objectives: To analyse the characteristics of insurance payments and horse-related workplace injuries to Australian jockeys during Thoroughbred racing or training. Methods: Insurance payments to Australian jockeys and apprentice jockeys as a result of claims for injury were reviewed. The cause and nature of injuries, and the breakdown of payments associated with claims were described. Results: The incidence of claims was 2.1/1000 race rides, with an average cost of AUD 9 million/year. Race-day incidents were associated with 39% of claims, but 52% of the total cost. The mean cost of race-day incidents (AUD 33,756) was higher than non-race day incidents (AUD 20,338). Weekly benefits and medical expenses made up the majority of costs of claims. Fractures were the most common injury (29.5%), but head injuries resulting from a fall from a horse had the highest mean cost/claim (AUD 127,127). Conclusions: Costs of workplace injuries to the Australian Thoroughbred racing industry have been greatly underestimated because the focus has historically been on incidents that occur on race-days. These findings add to the evidence base for developing strategies to reduce injuries and their associated costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Review
Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems may have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part II—Ammonia
Animals 2015, 5(3), 886-896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030389 - 03 Sep 2015
Cited by 65 | Viewed by 3368
Abstract
The EU ban on conventional barren cages for laying hens from 2012 has improved many aspects of laying hen welfare. The new housing systems allow for the expression of highly-motivated behaviors. However, the systems available for intensive large-scale egg production (e.g., aviaries, floor [...] Read more.
The EU ban on conventional barren cages for laying hens from 2012 has improved many aspects of laying hen welfare. The new housing systems allow for the expression of highly-motivated behaviors. However, the systems available for intensive large-scale egg production (e.g., aviaries, floor housing systems, furnished cages) may cause other welfare challenges. We have reviewed the literature regarding the health, behavior, production characteristics, and welfare of laying hens when exposed to ammonia in their housing environment. Concentrations of ammonia gas are commonly high in aviaries and floor housing systems in which manure is not regularly removed, whereas they are usually lower in furnished cages. High levels are found during the cold season when ventilation flow is often reduced. Ammonia is a pungent gas, and behavioral studies indicate chickens are averse to the gas. High concentrations of gaseous ammonia can have adverse health effects and, when very high, even influence production performance. The most profound effects seen are the occurrence of lesions in the respiratory tract and keratoconjunctivitis. There is also evidence that high ammonia concentrations predispose poultry to respiratory disease and secondary infections. We conclude that there are animal welfare challenges related to high ammonia levels, and that immediate actions are needed. Development of improved systems and management routines for manure removal and ventilation will be important for the reduction of ammonia levels and hence will contribute to safeguarding hen welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
Review
Lameness Detection in Dairy Cows: Part 2. Use of Sensors to Automatically Register Changes in Locomotion or Behavior
Animals 2015, 5(3), 861-885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030388 - 28 Aug 2015
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 3321
Abstract
Despite the research on opportunities to automatically measure lameness in cattle, lameness detection systems are not widely available commercially and are only used on a few dairy farms. However, farmers need to be aware of the lame cows in their herds in order [...] Read more.
Despite the research on opportunities to automatically measure lameness in cattle, lameness detection systems are not widely available commercially and are only used on a few dairy farms. However, farmers need to be aware of the lame cows in their herds in order treat them properly and in a timely fashion. Many papers have focused on the automated measurement of gait or behavioral cow characteristics related to lameness. In order for such automated measurements to be used in a detection system, algorithms to distinguish between non-lame and mildly or severely lame cows need to be developed and validated. Few studies have reached this latter stage of the development process. Also, comparison between the different approaches is impeded by the wide range of practical settings used to measure the gait or behavioral characteristic (e.g., measurements during normal farming routine or during experiments; cows guided or walking at their own speed) and by the different definitions of lame cows. In the majority of the publications, mildly lame cows are included in the non-lame cow group, which limits the possibility of also detecting early lameness cases. In this review, studies that used sensor technology to measure changes in gait or behavior of cows related to lameness are discussed together with practical considerations when conducting lameness research. In addition, other prerequisites for any lameness detection system on farms (e.g., need for early detection, real-time measurements) are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Review
Lameness Detection in Dairy Cows: Part 1. How to Distinguish between Non-Lame and Lame Cows Based on Differences in Locomotion or Behavior
Animals 2015, 5(3), 838-860; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030387 - 28 Aug 2015
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 3468
Abstract
Due to its detrimental effect on cow welfare, health and production, lameness in dairy cows has received quite a lot of attention in the last few decades—not only in terms of prevention and treatment of lameness but also in terms of detection, as [...] Read more.
Due to its detrimental effect on cow welfare, health and production, lameness in dairy cows has received quite a lot of attention in the last few decades—not only in terms of prevention and treatment of lameness but also in terms of detection, as early treatment might decrease the number of severely lame cows in the herds as well as decrease the direct and indirect costs associated with lameness cases. Generally, lame cows are detected by the herdsman, hoof trimmer or veterinarian based on abnormal locomotion, abnormal behavior or the presence of hoof lesions during routine trimming. In the scientific literature, several guidelines are proposed to detect lame cows based on visual interpretation of the locomotion of individual cows (i.e., locomotion scoring systems). Researchers and the industry have focused on automating such observations to support the farmer in finding the lame cows in their herds, but until now, such automated systems have rarely been used in commercial herds. This review starts with the description of normal locomotion of cows in order to define ‘abnormal’ locomotion caused by lameness. Cow locomotion (gait and posture) and behavioral features that change when a cow becomes lame are described and linked to the existing visual scoring systems. In addition, the lack of information of normal cow gait and a clear description of ‘abnormal’ gait are discussed. Finally, the different set-ups used during locomotion scoring and their influence on the resulting locomotion scores are evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Article
“Chickens Are a Lot Smarter than I Originally Thought”: Changes in Student Attitudes to Chickens Following a Chicken Training Class
Animals 2015, 5(3), 821-837; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030386 - 21 Aug 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 9100
Abstract
A practical class using clicker training of chickens to apply knowledge of how animals learn and practice skills in animal training was added to an undergraduate course. Since attitudes to animals are related to their perceived intelligence, surveys of student attitudes were completed [...] Read more.
A practical class using clicker training of chickens to apply knowledge of how animals learn and practice skills in animal training was added to an undergraduate course. Since attitudes to animals are related to their perceived intelligence, surveys of student attitudes were completed pre- and post- the practical class, to determine if (1) the practical class changed students’ attitudes to chickens and their ability to experience affective states, and (2) any changes were related to previous contact with chickens, training experience or gender. In the post- versus pre-surveys, students agreed more that chickens are easy to teach tricks to, are intelligent, and have individual personalities and disagreed more that they are difficult to train and are slow learners. Following the class, they were more likely to believe chickens experience boredom, frustration and happiness. Females rated the intelligence and ability to experience affective states in chickens more highly than males, although there were shifts in attitude in both genders. This study demonstrated shifts in attitudes following a practical class teaching clicker training in chickens. Similar practical classes may provide an effective method of teaching animal training skills and promoting more positive attitudes to animals. Full article
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Article
Evidence for a Role of Prolactin in Mediating Effects of Photoperiod during the Dry Period
Animals 2015, 5(3), 803-820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030385 - 19 Aug 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2417
Abstract
Photoperiod manipulation during the lactation cycle alters milk yield, with long days (LDPP) increasing yield in lactation and short days (SDPP) in the dry period improving subsequent yield. Circulating prolactin (PRL) is directly related to day length, with LDPP increasing and SDPP decreasing [...] Read more.
Photoperiod manipulation during the lactation cycle alters milk yield, with long days (LDPP) increasing yield in lactation and short days (SDPP) in the dry period improving subsequent yield. Circulating prolactin (PRL) is directly related to day length, with LDPP increasing and SDPP decreasing PRL, respectively. Two blocks of 24 multiparous Holstein cows were used during two consecutive years to test the hypothesis that the mammary response to SDPP is the result of decreased concentrations of PRL in the circulation relative to LDPP. Cows were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups during the dry period: SDPP, LDPP, or SDPP+PRL. Cows were returned to ambient photoperiod at calving and milk yield and DMI recorded for 120 d and 42 d, respectively. Mammary biopsies were obtained to determine rates of [3H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA in vitro. Treatment of SDPP cows with PRL caused a rapid increase in systemic PRL that reached concentrations similar to cows under LDPP. The periparturient PRL surge was similar for LDPP and SDPP+PRL cows, but those groups had greater surge concentrations versus SDPP. Cows exposed to SDPP produced more milk than LDPP cows, and there was a trend for SDPP+PRL cows to produce more milk than LDPP cows. Milk production was inversely related to the periparturient PRL surge. There was a trend for a treatment effect on mammary cell proliferation with greater proliferation in mammary tissue of SDPP cows relative to LDPP or SDPP+PRL on day −20 relative to parturition. Replacement of PRL to cows on SDPP when dry resulted in milk yield intermediate to cows on SDPP or LDPP, supporting the concept of a link between dry period PRL and yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Metabolic Health of Dairy Cow)
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Review
The Role of TCA Cycle Anaplerosis in Ketosis and Fatty Liver in Periparturient Dairy Cows
Animals 2015, 5(3), 793-802; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030384 - 18 Aug 2015
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 5424
Abstract
The transition to lactation period in dairy cattle is characterized by metabolic challenges, negative energy balance, and adipose tissue mobilization. Metabolism of mobilized adipose tissue is part of the adaptive response to negative energy balance in dairy cattle; however, the capacity of the [...] Read more.
The transition to lactation period in dairy cattle is characterized by metabolic challenges, negative energy balance, and adipose tissue mobilization. Metabolism of mobilized adipose tissue is part of the adaptive response to negative energy balance in dairy cattle; however, the capacity of the liver to completely oxidize nonesterified fatty acids may be limited and is reflective of oxaloacetate pool, the carbon carrier of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Alternative metabolic fates of acetyl-CoA from nonesterified fatty acids include esterification to triacylglycerides and ketogenesis, and when excessive, these pathways lead to fatty liver and ketosis. Examination of the anaplerotic and cataplerotic pull of oxaloacetate by the tricarboxylic acid cycle and gluconeogenesis may provide insight into the balance of oxidation and esterification of acetyl-CoA within the liver of periparturient dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Metabolic Health of Dairy Cow)
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Article
RandAgiamo™, a Pilot Project Increasing Adoptability of Shelter Dogs in the Umbria Region (Italy)
Animals 2015, 5(3), 774-792; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030383 - 14 Aug 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3252
Abstract
Current Italian legislation does not permit euthanasia of dogs, unless they are ill or dangerous. Despite good intentions and ethical benefits, this ‘no-kill policy’ has caused a progressive overpopulation of dogs in shelters, due to abandonment rates being higher than adoption rates. Shelter [...] Read more.
Current Italian legislation does not permit euthanasia of dogs, unless they are ill or dangerous. Despite good intentions and ethical benefits, this ‘no-kill policy’ has caused a progressive overpopulation of dogs in shelters, due to abandonment rates being higher than adoption rates. Shelter overcrowding has negative implications for dog welfare and increases public costs. The aim of this paper is to describe the pilot project “RandAgiamo” implemented in a rescue shelter in the Umbria Region and to evaluate its effectiveness on the rate of dog adoption using official data. RandAgiamo aimed to increase adult shelter dogs’ adoptability by a standard training and socialization programme. It also promoted dogs’ visibility by publicizing them through social media and participation in events. We analysed the official data of the Umbria regional health authorities regarding dog shelters of the Perugia province of the year 2014. In the RandAgiamo shelter, the dog adoption rate was 27.5% higher than that of dogs housed in other shelters located in the same geographical area (P < 0.001). The RandAgiamo project could be beneficial for the dogs’ welfare, owner satisfaction, shelter management, and public perception of shelter dogs. However, staff were required to provide dog training and related activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Welfare of Shelter Animals)
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Article
Relationships between Circulating Urea Concentrations and Endometrial Function in Postpartum Dairy Cows
Animals 2015, 5(3), 748-773; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030382 - 14 Aug 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2607
Abstract
Both high and low circulating urea concentrations, a product of protein metabolism, are associated with decreased fertility in dairy cows through poorly defined mechanisms. The rate of involution and the endometrial ability to mount an adequate innate immune response after calving are both [...] Read more.
Both high and low circulating urea concentrations, a product of protein metabolism, are associated with decreased fertility in dairy cows through poorly defined mechanisms. The rate of involution and the endometrial ability to mount an adequate innate immune response after calving are both critical for subsequent fertility. Study 1 used microarray analysis to identify genes whose endometrial expression 2 weeks postpartum correlated significantly with the mean plasma urea per cow, ranging from 3.2 to 6.6 mmol/L. The biological functions of 781 mapped genes were analysed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. These were predominantly associated with tissue turnover (e.g., BRINP1, FOXG1), immune function (e.g., IL17RB, CRISPLD2), inflammation (e.g., C3, SERPINF1, SERPINF2) and lipid metabolism (e.g., SCAP, ACBD5, SLC10A). Study 2 investigated the relationship between urea concentration and expression of 6 candidate genes (S100A8, HSP5A, IGF1R, IL17RB, BRINP1, CRISPLD2) in bovine endometrial cell culture. These were treated with 0, 2.5, 5.0 or 7.5 mmol/L urea, equivalent to low, medium and high circulating values with or without challenge by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS increased S100A8 expression as expected but urea treatment had no effect on expression of any tested gene. Examination of the genes/pathways involved suggests that plasma urea levels may reflect variations in lipid metabolism. Our results suggest that it is the effects of lipid metabolism rather than the urea concentration which probably alter the rate of involution and innate immune response, in turn influencing subsequent fertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Metabolic Health of Dairy Cow)
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Article
Alterations of Innate Immunity Reactants in Transition Dairy Cows before Clinical Signs of Lameness
Animals 2015, 5(3), 717-747; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030381 - 14 Aug 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3088
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to evaluate metabolic and innate immunity alterations in the blood of transition dairy cows before, during, and after diagnosis of lameness during periparturient period. Blood samples were collected from the coccygeal vain once per week before morning [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to evaluate metabolic and innate immunity alterations in the blood of transition dairy cows before, during, and after diagnosis of lameness during periparturient period. Blood samples were collected from the coccygeal vain once per week before morning feeding from 100 multiparous Holstein dairy cows during −8, −4, disease diagnosis, and +4 weeks (wks) relative to parturition. Six healthy cows (CON) and six cows that showed clinical signs of lameness were selected for intensive serum analyses. Concentrations of interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), haptoglobin (Hp), serum amyloid A (SAA), lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), lactate, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) were measured in serum by ELISA or colorimetric methods. Health status, DMI, rectal temperature, milk yield, and milk composition also were monitored for each cow during the whole experimental period. Results showed that cows affected by lameness had greater concentrations of lactate, IL-6, and SAA in the serum vs. CON cows. Concentrations of TNF tended to be greater in cows with lameness compared with CON. In addition, there was a health status (Hs) by time (week) interaction for IL-1, TNF, and Hp in lameness cows vs. CON ones. Enhanced serum concentrations of lactate, IL-6, and SAA at −8 and −4 wks before parturition were different in cows with lameness as compared with those of the CON group. The disease was also associated with lowered overall milk production and DMI as well as milk fat and fat-to-protein ratio. In conclusion, cows affected postpartum by lameness had alterations in several serum variables related to innate immunity and carbohydrate metabolism that give insights into the etiopathogenesis of the disease and might serve to monitor health status of transition dairy cows in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Review
Physiologic Measures of Animal Stress during Transitional States of Consciousness
Animals 2015, 5(3), 702-716; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030380 - 07 Aug 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2546
Abstract
Determination of the humaneness of methods used to produce unconsciousness in animals, whether for anesthesia, euthanasia, humane slaughter, or depopulation, relies on our ability to assess stress, pain, and consciousness within the contexts of method and application. Determining the subjective experience of animals [...] Read more.
Determination of the humaneness of methods used to produce unconsciousness in animals, whether for anesthesia, euthanasia, humane slaughter, or depopulation, relies on our ability to assess stress, pain, and consciousness within the contexts of method and application. Determining the subjective experience of animals during transitional states of consciousness, however, can be quite difficult; further, loss of consciousness with different agents or methods may occur at substantially different rates. Stress and distress may manifest behaviorally (e.g., overt escape behaviors, approach-avoidance preferences [aversion]) or physiologically (e.g., movement, vocalization, changes in electroencephalographic activity, heart rate, sympathetic nervous system [SNS] activity, hypothalamic-pituitary axis [HPA] activity), such that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be easily applied to evaluate methods or determine specific species applications. The purpose of this review is to discuss methods of evaluating stress in animals using physiologic methods, with emphasis on the transition between the conscious and unconscious states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Pain Assessment)
Article
Measuring Claw Conformation in Cattle: Assessing the Agreement between Manual and Digital Measurement
Animals 2015, 5(3), 687-701; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030379 - 06 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2396
Abstract
Five measurements of claw conformation (toe angle, claw height, claw width, toe length and abaxial groove length) taken directly from the hoof were compared with the measurements taken from digital images of the same claws. Concordance correlation coefficients and limits-of-agreement analysis showed that, [...] Read more.
Five measurements of claw conformation (toe angle, claw height, claw width, toe length and abaxial groove length) taken directly from the hoof were compared with the measurements taken from digital images of the same claws. Concordance correlation coefficients and limits-of-agreement analysis showed that, for four of the five measures (claw height, claw width, toe length and abaxial groove length), agreement was too poor for digital and manual measures to be used interchangeably. For all four of these measures, Liao’s modified concordance correlation coefficient (mCCC) was ≤0.4, indicating poor concordance despite Pearson’s correlation being >0.6 in all cases. The worst concordance was seen for toe length (mCCC = 0.13). Limits-of-agreement analysis showed that, for all four measures, there was a large variation in the difference between the manual and digital methods, even when the effect of mean on difference was accounted for, with the 95% limits-of-agreement for the four measures being further away from the mean difference than 10% of the mean in all four cases. The only one of the five measures with an acceptable concordance between digital and manual measurement was toe angle (mCCC = 0.81). Nevertheless, the limits-of-agreement analysis showed that there was a systematic bias with, on average, the manual measure of toe angle, being 2.1° smaller than the digital. The 95% limits-of-agreement for toe angle were ±3.4°, probably at the upper limit of what is acceptable. However, the lack of data on the variability of individual measurements of claw conformation means that it is unclear how this variability compares to measurement of toe angle in the same animal using the same or a different manual technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Article
Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health
Animals 2015, 5(3), 662-686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030378 - 06 Aug 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2846
Abstract
Claw health, an important dairy cow welfare parameter, may be affected by early-life foot/leg stresses. To investigate this, groups of pregnant heifers were allocated to deep straw bedding (Soft) or cubicles (Hard), both with scraped concrete feeding alleys. After the grazing season, they [...] Read more.
Claw health, an important dairy cow welfare parameter, may be affected by early-life foot/leg stresses. To investigate this, groups of pregnant heifers were allocated to deep straw bedding (Soft) or cubicles (Hard), both with scraped concrete feeding alleys. After the grazing season, they were re-housed in cubicle systems, half on slatted concrete (Hard) and half on slatted rubber (Soft) alleys. Claw measurements, contact area and pressure distribution claw/flooring, claw disorders and leg lesions were recorded at the start and end of each housing season. Locomotion and leg lesions were also scored monthly after calving. Prevalence of sole haemorrhages was higher among pregnant heifers in cubicles than in deep straw. After calving, first-calvers on Hard floors had higher odds for lameness (OR = 3.6; P < 0.01), sole haemorrhages/ulcers (OR = 2.2; P < 0.05), white-line haemorrhages (OR = 2.8; P < 0.01) and leg lesions (OR = 2.6; P < 0.02) than those on Soft floors. Lowest prevalence and severity of sole and white-line haemorrhages (non-significant) in first-calvers was found in those on Soft floors and reared on Hard floors and the highest prevalence and severity on those on Hard floors reared on Soft floors. Soft flooring after calving is of most importance for healthy feet and legs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Article
Predictions of Daily Milk and Fat Yields, Major Groups of Fatty Acids, and C18:1 cis-9 from Single Milking Data without a Milking Interval
Animals 2015, 5(3), 643-661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030377 - 31 Jul 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2427
Abstract
Reducing the frequency of milk recording would help reduce the costs of official milk recording. However, this approach could also negatively affect the accuracy of predicting daily yields. This problem has been investigated in numerous studies. In addition, published equations take into account [...] Read more.
Reducing the frequency of milk recording would help reduce the costs of official milk recording. However, this approach could also negatively affect the accuracy of predicting daily yields. This problem has been investigated in numerous studies. In addition, published equations take into account milking intervals (MI), and these are often not available and/or are unreliable in practice. The first objective of this study was to propose models in which the MI was replaced by a combination of data easily recorded by dairy farmers. The second objective was to further investigate the fatty acids (FA) present in milk. Equations to predict daily yield from AM or PM data were based on a calibration database containing 79,971 records related to 51 traits [milk yield (expected AM, expected PM, and expected daily); fat content (expected AM, expected PM, and expected daily); fat yield (expected AM, expected PM, and expected daily; g/day); levels of seven different FAs or FA groups (expected AM, expected PM, and expected daily; g/dL milk), and the corresponding FA yields for these seven FA types/groups (expected AM, expected PM, and expected daily; g/day)]. These equations were validated using two distinct external datasets. The results obtained from the proposed models were compared to previously published results for models which included a MI effect. The corresponding correlation values ranged from 96.4% to 97.6% when the daily yields were estimated from the AM milkings and ranged from 96.9% to 98.3% when the daily yields were estimated from the PM milkings. The simplicity of these proposed models should facilitate their use by breeding and milk recording organizations. Full article
Article
An Insufferable Business: Ethics, Nonhuman Animals and Biomedical Experiments
Animals 2015, 5(3), 624-642; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030376 - 22 Jul 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4160
Abstract
Each year millions of nonhuman animals suffer in biomedical experiments for human health benefits. Clinical ethics demand that nonhuman animals are used in the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Nonhuman animals are also used for fundamental biomedical research. Biomedical research that uses nonhuman [...] Read more.
Each year millions of nonhuman animals suffer in biomedical experiments for human health benefits. Clinical ethics demand that nonhuman animals are used in the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Nonhuman animals are also used for fundamental biomedical research. Biomedical research that uses nonhuman animals is big business but the financial gains are generally occluded. This paper explores how such research generates profits and gains for those associated with the industry. Research establishments, scientists, laboratories, companies that sell nonhuman animal subjects, that supply equipment for the research, and corporations that market the resulting products are among those that benefit financially. Given the complex articulation of ethical codes, enormous corporate profits that are secured and personal returns that are made, the accepted moral legitimacy of such experiments is compromised. In order to address this, within the confines of the moral orthodoxy, more could to be done to ensure transparency and to extricate the vested financial interests from the human health benefits. But such a determination would not address the fundamental issues that should be at the heart of human actions in respect of the nonhuman animals who are used in experiments. The paper concludes with such an address by calling for an end to the denigration of nonhuman animals as experimental subjects who can be used as commodities for profit-maximisation and as tools in experiments for human health benefits, and the implementation of a more inclusive ethic that is informed by universal concern about the suffering of and compassion for all oppressed beings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
Article
Inclusion of Oat in Feeding Can Increase the Potential Probiotic Bifidobacteria in Sow Milk
Animals 2015, 5(3), 610-623; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030375 - 22 Jul 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2761
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to (i) investigate the impact of feeding oat on the population of bifidobacteria and (ii) evaluate their probiotic potential. In this study, we investigated the effects of supplementing sows’ gestation and lactation feed with 15% oat (prebiotic [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to (i) investigate the impact of feeding oat on the population of bifidobacteria and (ii) evaluate their probiotic potential. In this study, we investigated the effects of supplementing sows’ gestation and lactation feed with 15% oat (prebiotic source) on the levels of probiotic population in milk. We found that dietary inclusion of oat during lactation and gestation resulted in increased levels of bifidobacteria compared to lactobacilli in sow milk. Furthermore bifidobacteria within the sow milk samples were further evaluated for probiotic potential based on aggregating properties, and acid- and bile-tolerance after exposure to hydrochloric acid (pH 2.5) and bile salts (0%, 0.25%, 0.50%, 1.0% and 2.0%). All isolates survived under the condition of low pH and bile 2.0%. Autoaggregation ability ranged from 17.5% to 73%. These isolates also showed antimicrobial activity against E. coli O157:H7.Together our results suggest that inclusion of oat in feeding systems could have the potential to improve the intestinal health of piglets by increasing the population of bifidobacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Article
Inroads into Equestrian Safety: Rider-Reported Factors Contributing to Horse-Related Accidents and Near Misses on Australian Roads
Animals 2015, 5(3), 592-609; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030374 - 22 Jul 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3734
Abstract
Horse riding and horse-related interactions are inherently dangerous. When they occur on public roads, the risk profile of equestrian activities is complicated by interactions with other road users. Research has identified speed, proximity, visibility, conspicuity and mutual misunderstanding as factors contributing to accidents [...] Read more.
Horse riding and horse-related interactions are inherently dangerous. When they occur on public roads, the risk profile of equestrian activities is complicated by interactions with other road users. Research has identified speed, proximity, visibility, conspicuity and mutual misunderstanding as factors contributing to accidents and near misses. However, little is known about their significance or incidence in Australia. To explore road safety issues amongst Australian equestrians, we conducted an online survey. More than half of all riders (52%) reported having experienced at least one accident or near miss in the 12 months prior to the survey. Whilst our findings confirm the factors identified overseas, we also identified issues around rider misunderstanding of road rules and driver misunderstanding of rider hand signals. Of particular concern, we also found reports of potentially dangerous rider-directed road rage. We identify several areas for potential safety intervention including (1) identifying equestrians as vulnerable road users and horses as sentient decision-making vehicles (2) harmonising laws regarding passing horses, (3) mandating personal protective equipment, (4) improving road signage, (5) comprehensive data collection, (6) developing mutual understanding amongst road-users, (7) safer road design and alternative riding spaces; and (8) increasing investment in horse-related safety initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Article
Helmet Use Amongst Equestrians: Harnessing Social and Attitudinal Factors Revealed in Online Forums
Animals 2015, 5(3), 576-591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030373 - 17 Jul 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3624
Abstract
Equestrian activities pose significant head injury risks to participants. Yet, helmet use is not mandatory in Australia outside of selected competitions. Awareness of technical countermeasures and the dangers of equestrian activities has not resulted in widespread adoption of simple precautionary behaviors like helmet [...] Read more.
Equestrian activities pose significant head injury risks to participants. Yet, helmet use is not mandatory in Australia outside of selected competitions. Awareness of technical countermeasures and the dangers of equestrian activities has not resulted in widespread adoption of simple precautionary behaviors like helmet use. Until the use of helmets whilst riding horses is legislated in Australia, there is an urgent need to improve voluntary use. To design effective injury prevention interventions, the factors affecting helmet use must first be understood. To add to current understandings of these factors, we examined the ways horse riders discussed helmet use by analyzing 103 posts on two helmet use related threads from two different Australian equestrian forums. We found evidence of social influence on helmet use behaviors as well as three attitudes that contributed towards stated helmet use that we termed: “I Can Control Risk”, “It Does Not Feel Right” and “Accidents Happen”. Whilst we confirm barriers identified in previous literature, we also identify their ability to support helmet use. This suggests challenging but potentially useful complexity in the relationship between risk perception, protective knowledge, attitudes, decision-making and behavior. Whilst this complexity is largely due to the involvement of interspecies relationships through which safety, risk and trust are distributed; our findings about harnessing the potential of barriers could be extended to other high risk activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Article
A Critical Review of Horse-Related Risk: A Research Agenda for Safer Mounts, Riders and Equestrian Cultures
Animals 2015, 5(3), 561-575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030372 - 17 Jul 2015
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 3698
Abstract
While the importance of improving horse-related safety seems self-evident, no comprehensive study into understanding or reducing horse-related risk has been undertaken. In this paper, we discuss four dimensions of horse-related risk: the risk itself, the horse, the rider and the culture in which [...] Read more.
While the importance of improving horse-related safety seems self-evident, no comprehensive study into understanding or reducing horse-related risk has been undertaken. In this paper, we discuss four dimensions of horse-related risk: the risk itself, the horse, the rider and the culture in which equestrian activities takes place. We identify how the ways in which risk is constructed in each dimension affects the applicability of four basic risk management options of avoidance, transference, mitigation and acceptance. We find the acceptance and avoidance of horse-related risk is generally high, most likely due to a common construction of horses as irrevocably unpredictable, fearful and dangerous. The transference of risk management is also high, especially in the use of protective technologies such as helmets. Of concern, the strategy least utilised is risk mitigation. We highlight the potential benefit in developing mitigation strategies directed at: (a) improving the predictability of horses (to and by humans), and (b) improving riders’ competence in the physical skills that make them more resilient to injury and falls. We conclude with the presentation of a multidisciplinary agenda for research that could reduce accident, injury and death to horse-riders around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
Article
Effects of Oxytocin Administration on the Response of Piglets to Weaning
Animals 2015, 5(3), 545-560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030371 - 16 Jul 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2584
Abstract
Weaning is often an abrupt and stressful process. We studied the effects of administering oxytocin, subcutaneously or intranasally, on the ability of pigs to cope with weaning. On a commercial farm 144, 30 day-old pigs from 24 litters were used. On the day [...] Read more.
Weaning is often an abrupt and stressful process. We studied the effects of administering oxytocin, subcutaneously or intranasally, on the ability of pigs to cope with weaning. On a commercial farm 144, 30 day-old pigs from 24 litters were used. On the day of weaning, one male and one female in each litter were administered one of three treatments: intranasal oxytocin (24 International Unit), subcutaneous oxytocin (10 International Unit per kg of body weight), or handled as a control. The pigs were placed in one of eight weaner pens, split by sex and with an equal representation of treatments. Data included body weight and growth, physiology (neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio, plasma cortisol, C-reactive protein and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α concentrations), and behavior (feeding, drinking, social behavior). Both oxytocin treatments tended to result in higher levels of mild aggression within groups (p = 0.08), specifically between oxytocin-administered and control pigs (subcutaneous to control p = 0.03; intranasal to control p = 0.10). Subcutaneously-administered pigs tended to frequent the feeder more often than intranasally-administered pigs (p < 0.10), with the latter having slightly lower body weight 38 days post-weaning (p = 0.03). However, acute oxytocin administration did not result in any noticeable physiological changes 4 or 28 h post-weaning. Hence, the use of a single administration of oxytocin prior to weaning in pigs is not recommended, at least not in the conditions studied here. Full article
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Article
A High Percentage of Beef Bull Pictures in Semen Catalogues Have Feet and Lower Legs that Are Not Visible
Animals 2015, 5(3), 536-544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030370 - 14 Jul 2015
Viewed by 2596
Abstract
A total of 1379 beef bull pictures were surveyed to determine visibility of feet and legs from four American semen company websites. Five different breeds were represented: Angus, Red Angus, Hereford (polled and horned), Simmental, and Charolais. In addition to visibility, data on [...] Read more.
A total of 1379 beef bull pictures were surveyed to determine visibility of feet and legs from four American semen company websites. Five different breeds were represented: Angus, Red Angus, Hereford (polled and horned), Simmental, and Charolais. In addition to visibility, data on other variables were collected to establish frequencies and correlations. These included breed, color, material that obscured visibility, such as grass, picture taken at livestock show or outside, semen company, photographer, video, and age of bull. A foot and leg visibility score was given to each bull picture. Only 19.4% of the pictures had fully visible feet and legs. Both the hooves and dewclaws were hidden on 32.5% of the pictures. Correlation between bull’s birthdate and the first four visibility scores was statistically significant (P < 0.0001). As age increased the feet and legs were more likely to be visible in the bull’s picture. This may possibly be due to greater availability of both photo editing software and digital photography. One positive finding was that 6% of the bulls had a video of the bull walking which completely showed his feet and legs. Full article
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Review
Digital Dermatitis in Dairy Cows: A Review of Risk Factors and Potential Sources of Between-Animal Variation in Susceptibility
Animals 2015, 5(3), 512-535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030369 - 13 Jul 2015
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3879
Abstract
Digital dermatitis (DD) is a bacterial disease that primarily affects the skin on the heels of cattle. It is a major cause of lameness in dairy cows and a significant problem for the dairy industry in many countries, causing reduced animal welfare and [...] Read more.
Digital dermatitis (DD) is a bacterial disease that primarily affects the skin on the heels of cattle. It is a major cause of lameness in dairy cows and a significant problem for the dairy industry in many countries, causing reduced animal welfare and economic loss. A wide range of infection levels has been found on infected farms, prompting investigations into both farm level and animal level risk factors for DD occurrence. There also appears to be individual variation between animals in susceptibility to the disease. The identification of factors affecting individual variation in susceptibility to DD might allow changes in breeding policies or herd management which could be used to reduce DD prevalence. Factors mentioned in the literature as possibly influencing individual variation in susceptibility to DD include physical factors such as hoof conformation and properties of the skin, physiological factors such as the efficacy of the immune response, and behavioural factors such as standing half in cubicles. Further work is required to determine the influence of these factors, identify the genetic basis of variation, clarify the level of heritability of DD susceptibility and to determine how this is correlated with production and health traits currently used in breeding programmes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
Review
Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems May Have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part I—Dust
Animals 2015, 5(3), 495-511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030368 - 09 Jul 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3088
Abstract
The new legislation for laying hens in the European Union put a ban on conventional cages. Production systems must now provide the hens with access to a nest, a perch, and material for dust bathing. These requirements will improve the behavioral aspects of [...] Read more.
The new legislation for laying hens in the European Union put a ban on conventional cages. Production systems must now provide the hens with access to a nest, a perch, and material for dust bathing. These requirements will improve the behavioral aspects of animal welfare. However, when hens are kept with access to litter, it is a concern that polluted air may become an increased threat to health and therefore also a welfare problem. This article reviews the literature regarding the health and welfare effects birds experience when exposed to barn dust. Dust is composed of inorganic and organic compounds, from the birds themselves as well as from feed, litter, and building materials. Dust may be a vector for microorganisms and toxins. In general, studies indicate that housing systems where laying hens have access to litter as aviaries and floor systems consistently have higher concentrations of suspended dust than caged hens with little (furnished cages) or no access to litter (conventional cages). The higher dust levels in aviaries and floor housing are also caused by increased bird activity in the non-cage systems. There are gaps in both the basic and applied knowledge of how birds react to dust and aerosol contaminants, i.e., what levels they find aversive and/or impair health. Nevertheless, high dust levels may compromise the health and welfare of both birds and their caretakers and the poor air quality often found in new poultry housing systems needs to be addressed. It is necessary to develop prophylactic measures and to refine the production systems in order to achieve the full welfare benefits of the cage ban. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
Article
Farm Management in Organic and Conventional Dairy Production Systems Based on Pasture in Southern Brazil and Its Consequences on Production and Milk Quality
Animals 2015, 5(3), 479-494; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030367 - 09 Jul 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2627
Abstract
Pasture-based dairy production is used widely on family dairy farms in Southern Brazil. This study investigates conventional high input (C-HI), conventional low input (C-LI), and organic low input (O-LI) pasture-based systems and their effects on quantity and quality of the milk produced. We [...] Read more.
Pasture-based dairy production is used widely on family dairy farms in Southern Brazil. This study investigates conventional high input (C-HI), conventional low input (C-LI), and organic low input (O-LI) pasture-based systems and their effects on quantity and quality of the milk produced. We conducted technical site visits and interviews monthly over one year on 24 family farms (n = 8 per type). C-HI farms had the greatest total area (28.9 ha), greatest percentage of area with annual pasture (38.7%), largest number of lactating animals (26.2) and greatest milk yield per cow (22.8 kg·day−1). O-LI farms had the largest perennial pasture area (52.3%), with the greatest botanical richness during all seasons. Area of perennial pasture was positively correlated with number of species consumed by the animals (R2 = 0.74). Milk from O-LI farms had higher levels of fat and total solids only during the winter. Hygienic and microbiological quality of the milk was poor for all farms and need to be improved. C-HI farms had high milk yield related to high input, C-LI had intermediate characteristics and O-LI utilized a year round perennial pasture as a strategy to diminish the use of supplements in animal diets, which is an important aspect in ensuring production sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
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Review
Consistent Individual Behavioral Variation: The Difference between Temperament, Personality and Behavioral Syndromes
Animals 2015, 5(3), 455-478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5030366 - 08 Jul 2015
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3464
Abstract
Ethologists use a variety of terminology such as “personality”, “temperament” and “behavioral syndromes” almost interchangeably to discuss the phenomenon of individuals within a population of animals consistently varying from one another in their behavioral responses to stimuli. This interchangeable usage of terminology has [...] Read more.
Ethologists use a variety of terminology such as “personality”, “temperament” and “behavioral syndromes” almost interchangeably to discuss the phenomenon of individuals within a population of animals consistently varying from one another in their behavioral responses to stimuli. This interchangeable usage of terminology has contributed to confusion within the field of animal behavior and limits the study of the phenomenon. Here we use a rapid, non-exhaustive and repeatable search strategy literature review to investigate where there were unique distinctions between these three terms and where there was an overlap in their usage. We identified three main areas of confusion in terminology: historical usage which is not updated; a lack of precision between different fields of study; and a lack of precision between different levels of variation. We propose a framework with which to understand and define the terms based on the levels of variation ethologists are interested in. Consistent individual animal behavioral variation relates to the different structures of variation of between-individual/between-population and between and across contexts. By formalizing this framework we provide clarity between the three terms which can be easily defined and understood. Full article
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