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Animals, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2015) – 23 articles

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Article
Finding the Balance: Fertility Control for the Management of Fragmented Populations of a Threatened Rock-Wallaby Species
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1329-1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040414 - 16 Dec 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2184
Abstract
Populations of Australian marsupials can become overabundant, resulting in detrimental impacts on the environment. For example, the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby ( Petrogale lateralis lateralis ) has previously been perceived as overabundant and thus ‘unwanted’ when they graze crops and cause habitat degradation. Hormonally-induced [...] Read more.
Populations of Australian marsupials can become overabundant, resulting in detrimental impacts on the environment. For example, the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby ( Petrogale lateralis lateralis ) has previously been perceived as overabundant and thus ‘unwanted’ when they graze crops and cause habitat degradation. Hormonally-induced fertility control has been increasingly used to manage population size in other marsupials where alternative management options are not viable. We tested whether deslorelin, a superagonist of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), would suppress reproduction in free-living adult female rock-wallabies without adversely impacting body condition. We trapped, synchronised reproduction and allocated female rock-wallabies to a placebo implant (control, n = 22), one (n = 22) or two (n = 20) subcutaneous implants of deslorelin. Females were then recaptured over the following 36 months to monitor reproduction, including Luteinising Hormone levels, and body condition. Following treatment, diapaused blastocysts reactivated in five females and the resulting young were carried through to weaning. No wallabies treated with deslorelin, conceivede a new young for at least 27 months. We did not observe adverse effects on body condition on treated females. We conclude that deslorelin implants are effective for the medium-term suppression of reproduction in female black-flanked rock-wallabies and for managing overabundant populations of some marsupials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Article
Risk Factors for Dog Relinquishment to a Los Angeles Municipal Animal Shelter
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1311-1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040413 - 10 Dec 2015
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 3237
Abstract
Dog relinquishment is a large component of shelter intake in the United States. Research has shown traits of the dog are associated with relinquishment as well as general characteristics of those relinquishing. Low income is often cited as a risk factor for relinquishment. [...] Read more.
Dog relinquishment is a large component of shelter intake in the United States. Research has shown traits of the dog are associated with relinquishment as well as general characteristics of those relinquishing. Low income is often cited as a risk factor for relinquishment. The majority of people with lower incomes, however, do not relinquish. A group of people accessing a shelter in a low socioeconomic region of Los Angeles to relinquish their dogs was surveyed. This study examined risk factors for relinquishment, controlling for household income, compared to a group utilizing low cost spay/neuter services. A total of 76.9% of those relinquishing noted cost as a reason for relinquishment. Of participants in the relinquishment group, 80.7% reported not being aware of any services available to them. Most notable in the findings was that the odds of relinquishment were generally higher as the amount of perceived stress in the home in the past three months increased. The majority of people in both groups reported being emotionally attached to the dog. In this sample from a South Los Angeles community, the majority of reasons for relinquishment were likely solvable with assistance. These findings highlight an opportunity to assess community needs and provide community specific alternatives to relinquishment. Full article
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Article
Health Problems and Risk Factors Associated with Long Haul Transport of Horses in Australia
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1296-1310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040412 - 10 Dec 2015
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 4323
Abstract
Equine transportation is associated with a variety of serious health disorders causing economic losses. However; statistics on horse transport are limited and epidemiological data on transport related diseases are available only for horses transported to abattoirs for slaughter. This study analysed reports of [...] Read more.
Equine transportation is associated with a variety of serious health disorders causing economic losses. However; statistics on horse transport are limited and epidemiological data on transport related diseases are available only for horses transported to abattoirs for slaughter. This study analysed reports of transport related health problems identified by drivers and horse owners for 180 journeys of an Australian horse transport company transporting horses between Perth and Sydney (~4000 km) in 2013–2015. Records showed that 97.2% (1604/1650) of the horses arrived at their destination with no clinical signs of disease or injury. Based on the veterinary reports of the affected horses; the most common issues were respiratory problems (27%); gastrointestinal problems (27%); pyrexia (19%); traumatic injuries (15%); and death (12%). Journey duration and season had a significant effect on the distribution of transport related issues ( p < 0.05); with a marked increase of the proportion of the most severe problems ( i.e. , gastrointestinal; respiratory problems and death) in spring and after 20 h in transit. Although not statistically significant; elevated disease rate predictions were seen for stallions/colts; horses aged over 10 years; and Thoroughbreds. Overall; the data demonstrate that long haul transportation is a risk for horse health and welfare and requires appropriate management to minimize transport stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Article
Models and Methods to Investigate Acute Stress Responses in Cattle
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1268-1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040411 - 03 Dec 2015
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 4917
Abstract
There is a growing appreciation within the livestock industry and throughout society that animal stress is an important issue that must be addressed. With implications for animal health, well-being, and productivity, minimizing animal stress through improved animal management procedures and/or selective breeding is [...] Read more.
There is a growing appreciation within the livestock industry and throughout society that animal stress is an important issue that must be addressed. With implications for animal health, well-being, and productivity, minimizing animal stress through improved animal management procedures and/or selective breeding is becoming a priority. Effective management of stress, however, depends on the ability to identify and quantify the effects of various stressors and determine if individual or combined stressors have distinct biological effects. Furthermore, it is critical to determine the duration of stress-induced biological effects if we are to understand how stress alters animal production and disease susceptibility. Common stress models used to evaluate both psychological and physical stressors in cattle are reviewed. We identify some of the major gaps in our knowledge regarding responses to specific stressors and propose more integrated methodologies and approaches to measuring these responses. These approaches are based on an increased knowledge of both the metabolic and immune effects of stress. Finally, we speculate on how these findings may impact animal agriculture, as well as the potential application of large animal models to understanding human stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Pain Assessment)
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Article
Preliminary Validation and Reliability Testing of the Montreal Instrument for Cat Arthritis Testing, for Use by Veterinarians, in a Colony of Laboratory Cats
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1252-1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040410 - 02 Dec 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2283
Abstract
Subtle signs and conflicting physical and radiographic findings make feline osteoarthritis (OA) challenging to diagnose. A physical examination-based assessment was developed, consisting of eight items: Interaction, Exploration, Posture, Gait, Body Condition, Coat and Claws, (joint) Palpation–Findings, and Palpation–Cat Reaction. Content (experts) and face [...] Read more.
Subtle signs and conflicting physical and radiographic findings make feline osteoarthritis (OA) challenging to diagnose. A physical examination-based assessment was developed, consisting of eight items: Interaction, Exploration, Posture, Gait, Body Condition, Coat and Claws, (joint) Palpation–Findings, and Palpation–Cat Reaction. Content (experts) and face (veterinary students) validity were excellent. Construct validity, internal consistency, and intra- and inter-rater reliability were assessed via a pilot and main study, using laboratory-housed cats with and without OA. Gait distinguished OA status in the pilot ( p = 0.05) study. In the main study, no scale item achieved statistically significant OA detection. Forelimb peak vertical ground reaction force (PVF) correlated inversely with Gait (Rho s = −0.38 ( p = 0.03) to −0.41 ( p = 0.02)). Body Posture correlated with Gait, and inversely with forelimb PVF at two of three time points (Rho s = −0.38 ( p = 0.03) to −0.43 ( p = 0.01)). Palpation (Findings, Cat Reaction) did not distinguish OA from non-OA cats. Palpation—Cat Reaction (Forelimbs) correlated inversely with forelimb PVF at two time points (Rho s = −0.41 ( p = 0.02) to −0.41 ( p = 0.01)), but scores were highly variable, and poorly reliable. Gait and Posture require improved sensitivity, and Palpation should be interpreted cautiously, in diagnosing feline OA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Pain Assessment)
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Review
How Farm Animals React and Perceive Stressful Situations Such As Handling, Restraint, and Transport
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1233-1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040409 - 01 Dec 2015
Cited by 76 | Viewed by 4800
Abstract
An animal that has been carefully acclimated to handling may willingly re-enter a restrainer. Another animal may have an intense agitated behavioral reaction or refuse to re-enter the handling facility. Physiological measures of stress such as cortisol may be very low in the [...] Read more.
An animal that has been carefully acclimated to handling may willingly re-enter a restrainer. Another animal may have an intense agitated behavioral reaction or refuse to re-enter the handling facility. Physiological measures of stress such as cortisol may be very low in the animal that re-enters willingly and higher in animals that actively resist restraint. Carefully acclimating young animals to handling and restraint can help improve both productivity and welfare by reducing fear stress. Some of the topics covered in this review are: How an animal perceives handling and restraint, the detrimental effects of a sudden novel event, descriptions of temperament and aversion tests and the importance of good stockmanship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Pain Assessment)
Article
Artificially Increased Yolk Hormone Levels and Neophobia in Domestic Chicks
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1220-1232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040408 - 30 Nov 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
In birds there is compelling evidence that the development and expression of behavior is affected by maternal factors, particularly via variation in yolk hormone concentrations of maternal origin. In the present study we tested whether variation in yolk hormone levels lead to variation [...] Read more.
In birds there is compelling evidence that the development and expression of behavior is affected by maternal factors, particularly via variation in yolk hormone concentrations of maternal origin. In the present study we tested whether variation in yolk hormone levels lead to variation in the expression of neophobia in young domestic chicks. Understanding how the prenatal environment could predispose chicks to express fear-related behaviors is essential in order to propose preventive actions and improve animal welfare. We simulated the consequences of a maternal stress by experimentally enhancing yolk progesterone, testosterone and estradiol concentrations in hen eggs prior to incubation. The chicks from these hormone-treated eggs (H) and from sham embryos (C) that received the vehicle-only were exposed to novel food, novel object and novel environment tests. H chicks approached a novel object significantly faster and were significantly more active in a novel environment than controls, suggesting less fearfulness. Conversely, no effect of the treatment was found in food neophobia tests. Our study highlights a developmental influence of yolk hormones on a specific aspect of neophobia. The results suggest that increased yolk hormone levels modulate specifically the probability of exploring novel environments or novel objects in the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Review
A Review of Different Stunning Methods for Poultry—Animal Welfare Aspects (Stunning Methods for Poultry)
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1207-1219; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040407 - 30 Nov 2015
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4070
Abstract
Electrical water bath stunning is the most commonly used method for poultry stunning prior to slaughter, but has been questioned on animal welfare and product quality grounds. Controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) methods, involving a variety of gas mixtures, have become increasingly common, at [...] Read more.
Electrical water bath stunning is the most commonly used method for poultry stunning prior to slaughter, but has been questioned on animal welfare and product quality grounds. Controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) methods, involving a variety of gas mixtures, have become increasingly common, at least in Europe. CAS methods have been perceived as an improvement from an animal welfare perspective, partly because birds can be stunned without prior shackling, and are generally considered to result in improved product quality compared to water bath stunning. However, there would still be an interest in alternative stunning methods especially for small to medium size poultry slaughterhouses. This review presents an overview of the modes of action and the technical aspects of poultry stunning methods, including novel and emerging stunning technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Humane Killing of Animals)
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Article
Early Onset of Laying and Bumblefoot Favor Keel Bone Fractures
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1192-1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040406 - 27 Nov 2015
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 2449
Abstract
Numerous studies have demonstrated influences of hybrid, feed, and housing on prevalence of keel bone fractures, but influences of behavior and production on an individual level are less known. In this longitudinal study, 80 white and brown laying hens were regularly checked for [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have demonstrated influences of hybrid, feed, and housing on prevalence of keel bone fractures, but influences of behavior and production on an individual level are less known. In this longitudinal study, 80 white and brown laying hens were regularly checked for keel bone deviations and fractures while egg production was individually monitored using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) from production until depopulation at 65 weeks of age. These focal birds were kept in eight pens with 20 hens per pen in total. About 62% of the hens had broken keel bones at depopulation. The occurrence of new fractures was temporally linked to egg laying: more new fractures occurred during the time when laying rates were highest. Hens with fractured keel bones at depopulation had laid their first egg earlier than hens with intact keel bones. However, the total number of eggs was neither correlated with the onset of egg laying nor with keel bone fractures. All birds with bumblefoot on both feet had a fracture at depopulation. Hens stayed in the nest for a longer time during egg laying during the ten days after the fracture than during the ten days before the fracture. In conclusion, a relationship between laying rates and keel bone fractures seems likely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Article
Dietary Lecithin Supplementation Can Improve the Quality of the M. Longissimus thoracis
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1180-1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040405 - 25 Nov 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2078
Abstract
Forty crossbred (Large White × Landrace × Duroc) female pigs (16.4 kg ± 0.94 kg) were used to investigate the effect of dietary lecithin supplementation on growth performance and pork quality. Pigs were randomly allocated to a commercial diet containing either 0, 3, [...] Read more.
Forty crossbred (Large White × Landrace × Duroc) female pigs (16.4 kg ± 0.94 kg) were used to investigate the effect of dietary lecithin supplementation on growth performance and pork quality. Pigs were randomly allocated to a commercial diet containing either 0, 3, 15 or 75 g lecithin/kg of feed during the grower and finisher growth phase. Pork from pigs consuming the diets containing 15 g and 75 g lecithin/kg had lower hardness ( P < 0.001) and chewiness ( P < 0.01) values compared to the controls. Dietary lecithin supplementation at 75 g/kg significantly increased ( P < 0.05) the linoleic acid and reduced ( P < 0.05) the myristic acid levels of pork compared to the control and the 3 g/kg and 15 g/kg lecithin supplemented treatments. Pigs fed the 75 g/kg lecithin supplemented diet had lower plasma cholesterol ( P < 0.05) at slaughter compared to pigs fed the control diet and the 3 g/kg and 15 g/kg lecithin supplemented treatments. These data indicate that dietary lecithin supplementation has the potential to improve the quality attributes of pork from female pigs. Full article
Article
Social Licking in Pregnant Dairy Heifers
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1169-1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040404 - 24 Nov 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2674
Abstract
Housing affects social behaviors, such as competition, but little work has addressed affiliative behaviors. This study compared social licking (SL) in pregnant heifers housed indoors (in a free-stall barn) versus outdoors (on pasture), and relationships with competition, feeding and physical proximity to others. [...] Read more.
Housing affects social behaviors, such as competition, but little work has addressed affiliative behaviors. This study compared social licking (SL) in pregnant heifers housed indoors (in a free-stall barn) versus outdoors (on pasture), and relationships with competition, feeding and physical proximity to others. Six heifer groups were observed during two six-hour-periods in both treatments. The total number of social events (SL and agonistic interactions) was four times higher when heifers were housed indoors compared to pasture (546 ± 43 vs. 128 ± 7 events/group; P < 0.05). SL as a ratio of the total number of social events was similar in the two treatments (12% vs . 8% of interactions, free-stall and pasture, respectively; P > 0.05). Housing did not affect how the SL bout was initiated and terminated, the duration, the body part licked and behavior preceding licking ( P > 0.05). Animals in close proximity showed higher rates of SL ( P < 0.0001) but not agonistic interactions ( P > 0.05). A previous agonistic event did not predict occurrence or the role of heifers in the following licking event. The higher stocking density indoors likely resulted in increased social interactions. Full article
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Article
A Comparison of Diets Supplemented with a Feed Additive Containing Organic Acids, Cinnamaldehyde and a Permeabilizing Complex, or Zinc Oxide, on Post-Weaning Diarrhoea, Selected Bacterial Populations, Blood Measures and Performance in Weaned Pigs Experimentally Infected with Enterotoxigenic E. coli
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1147-1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040403 - 23 Nov 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3285
Abstract
The effects of feeding a diet supplemented with zinc oxide (ZnO) or a blend of organic acids, cinnamaldehyde and a permeabilizing complex (OACP) on post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD) and performance in pigs infected with enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) were examined. Additionally, changes in selected [...] Read more.
The effects of feeding a diet supplemented with zinc oxide (ZnO) or a blend of organic acids, cinnamaldehyde and a permeabilizing complex (OACP) on post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD) and performance in pigs infected with enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) were examined. Additionally, changes in selected bacterial populations and blood measures were assessed. A total of 72 pigs weaned at 22 d of age and weighing 7.2 ± 1.02 kg (mean ± SEM) was used. Treatments were: base diet (no antimicrobial compounds); base diet + 3 g ZnO/kg; base diet + 1.5 g OACP/kg. Dietary treatments started on the day of weaning and were fed ad libitum for 3 weeks. All pigs were infected with an F4 ETEC on d 4, 5 and 6 after weaning. The incidence of PWD was lower in pigs fed ZnO ( p = 0.026). Overall, pigs fed ZnO grew faster ( p = 0.013) and ate more ( p = 0.004) than the base diet-fed pigs, with OACP-fed pigs performing the same ( p > 0.05) as both the ZnO- and base diet-fed pigs. Feed conversion ratio was similar for all diets ( p > 0.05). The percentage of E. coli with F4 fimbriae was affected a day by treatment interaction ( p = 0.037), with more E. coli with F4 fimbriae found in pigs fed ZnO on d 11 ( p = 0.011) compared to base diet-fed pigs. Only significant time effects ( p < 0.05) occurred for blood measures. Under the conditions of this study, inclusion of OACP gave statistically similar production responses to pigs fed ZnO, however pigs fed ZnO had less PWD compared to OACP- and the base diet-fed pigs. Full article
Article
Development of a Safety Management Web Tool for Horse Stables
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1136-1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040402 - 12 Nov 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3158
Abstract
Managing a horse stable involves risks, which can have serious consequences for the stable, employees, clients, visitors and horses. Existing industrial or farm production risk management tools are not directly applicable to horse stables and they need to be adapted for use by [...] Read more.
Managing a horse stable involves risks, which can have serious consequences for the stable, employees, clients, visitors and horses. Existing industrial or farm production risk management tools are not directly applicable to horse stables and they need to be adapted for use by managers of different types of stables. As a part of the InnoEquine project, an innovative web tool, InnoHorse, was developed to support horse stable managers in business, safety, pasture and manure management. A literature review, empirical horse stable case studies, expert panel workshops and stakeholder interviews were carried out to support the design. The InnoHorse web tool includes a safety section containing a horse stable safety map, stable safety checklists, and examples of good practices in stable safety, horse handling and rescue planning. This new horse stable safety management tool can also help in organizing work processes in horse stables in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Review
Digital Dermatitis in Cattle: Current Bacterial and Immunological Findings
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1114-1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040400 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 3321
Abstract
Globally; digital dermatitis is a leading form of lameness observed in production dairy cattle. While the precise etiology remains to be determined; the disease is clearly associated with infection by numerous species of treponemes; in addition to other anaerobic bacteria. The goal of [...] Read more.
Globally; digital dermatitis is a leading form of lameness observed in production dairy cattle. While the precise etiology remains to be determined; the disease is clearly associated with infection by numerous species of treponemes; in addition to other anaerobic bacteria. The goal of this review article is to provide an overview of the current literature; focusing on discussion of the polybacterial nature of the digital dermatitis disease complex and host immune response. Several phylotypes of treponemes have been identified; some of which correlate with location in the lesion and some with stages of lesion development. Local innate immune responses may contribute to the proliferative, inflammatory conditions that perpetuate digital dermatitis lesions. While serum antibody is produced to bacterial antigens in the lesions, little is known about cellular-based immunity. Studies are still required to delineate the pathogenic traits of treponemes associated with digital dermatitis; and other host factors that mediate pathology and protection of digital dermatitis lesions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
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Review
Wildlife in U.S. Cities: Managing Unwanted Animals
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1092-1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040401 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4327
Abstract
Conflicts between people and wild animals in cities are undoubtedly as old as urban living itself. In the United States it is only of late, however, that many of the species now found in cities have come to live there. The increasing kind [...] Read more.
Conflicts between people and wild animals in cities are undoubtedly as old as urban living itself. In the United States it is only of late, however, that many of the species now found in cities have come to live there. The increasing kind and number of human-wildlife conflicts in urbanizing environments makes it a priority that effective and humane means of conflict resolution be found. The urban public wants conflicts with wildlife resolved humanely, but needs to know what the alternative management approaches are, and what ethical standards should guide their use. This paper examines contemporary urban wildlife control in the United States with a focus on the moral concerns this raises. Much of the future for urban wildlife will depend on reform in governance, but much as well will depend on cultural changes that promote greater respect and understanding for wild animals and the biotic communities of which they and we are both a part. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
Article
Jump Horse Safety: Reconciling Public Debate and Australian Thoroughbred Jump Racing Data, 2012–2014
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1072-1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040399 - 22 Oct 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3486
Abstract
Thoroughbred jump racing sits in the spotlight of contemporary welfare and ethical debates about horse racing. In Australia, jump racing comprises hurdle and steeplechase races and has ceased in all but two states, Victoria and South Australia. This paper documents the size, geography, [...] Read more.
Thoroughbred jump racing sits in the spotlight of contemporary welfare and ethical debates about horse racing. In Australia, jump racing comprises hurdle and steeplechase races and has ceased in all but two states, Victoria and South Australia. This paper documents the size, geography, composition, and dynamics of Australian jump racing for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons with a focus on debate about risks to horses. We found that the majority of Australian jump racing is regional, based in Victoria, and involves a small group of experienced trainers and jockeys. Australian jump horses are on average 6.4 years of age. The jump career of the majority of horses involves participating in three or less hurdle races and over one season. Almost one quarter of Australian jump horses race only once. There were ten horse fatalities in races over the study period, with an overall fatality rate of 5.1 fatalities per 1000 horses starting in a jump race (0.51%). There was significant disparity between the fatality rate for hurdles, 0.75 fatalities per 1000 starts (0.075%) and steeplechases, 14 fatalities per 1000 starts (1.4%). Safety initiatives introduced by regulators in 2010 appear to have significantly decreased risks to horses in hurdles but have had little or no effect in steeplechases. Our discussion considers these Animals 2015, 5 1073 data in light of public controversy, political debate, and industry regulation related to jump horse safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Review
Is Wildlife Fertility Control Always Humane?
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1047-1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040398 - 21 Oct 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3589
Abstract
Investigation of fertility control techniques to reduce reproductive rates in wildlife populations has been the source of much research. Techniques targeting wildlife fertility have been diverse. Most research into fertility control methods has focused upon efficacy, with few studies rigorously assessing animal welfare [...] Read more.
Investigation of fertility control techniques to reduce reproductive rates in wildlife populations has been the source of much research. Techniques targeting wildlife fertility have been diverse. Most research into fertility control methods has focused upon efficacy, with few studies rigorously assessing animal welfare beyond opportunistic anecdote. However, fertility control techniques represent several very different mechanisms of action (modalities), each with their own different animal welfare risks. We provide a review of the mechanisms of action for fertility control methods, and consider the role of manipulation of reproductive hormones (“endocrine suppression”) for the long-term ability of animals to behave normally. We consider the potential welfare costs of animal manipulation techniques that are required to administer fertility treatments, including capture, restraint, surgery and drug delivery, and the requirement for repeated administration within the lifetime of an animal. We challenge the assumption that fertility control modalities generate similar and desirable animal welfare outcomes, and we argue that knowledge of reproductive physiology and behaviour should be more adeptly applied to wild animal management decisions. We encourage wildlife managers to carefully assess long-term behavioural risks, associated animal handling techniques, and the importance of positive welfare states when selecting fertility control methods as a means of population control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Case Report
Predator Bounties in Western Canada Cause Animal Suffering and Compromise Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1034-1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040397 - 19 Oct 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3872
Abstract
Although predation bounty programs (rewards offered for capturing or killing an animal) ended more than 40 years ago in Canada, they were reintroduced in Alberta in 2007 by hunting, trapping, and farming organizations, municipalities and counties, and in 2009 in Saskatchewan, by municipal [...] Read more.
Although predation bounty programs (rewards offered for capturing or killing an animal) ended more than 40 years ago in Canada, they were reintroduced in Alberta in 2007 by hunting, trapping, and farming organizations, municipalities and counties, and in 2009 in Saskatchewan, by municipal and provincial governments and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. Bounty hunters use inhumane and non-selective killing methods such as shooting animals in non-vital regions, and killing neck snares and strychnine poisoning, which cause suffering and delayed deaths. They are unselective, and kill many non-target species, some of them at risk. Predator bounty programs have been found to be ineffective by wildlife professionals, and they use killing methods that cause needless suffering and jeopardize wildlife conservation programs. Our analysis therefore indicates that government agencies should not permit the implementation of bounty programs. Accordingly, they must develop conservation programs that will minimize wildlife-human conflicts, prevent the unnecessary and inhumane killing of animals, and ensure the persistence of all wildlife species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
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Article
Metabolic Profile and Inflammatory Responses in Dairy Cows with Left Displaced Abomasum Kept under Small-Scaled Farm Conditions
Animals 2015, 5(4), 1021-1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040396 - 13 Oct 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2870
Abstract
Left displaced abomasum (LDA) is a severe metabolic disease of cattle with a strong negative impact on production efficiency of dairy farms. Metabolic and inflammatory alterations associated with this disease have been reported in earlier studies, conducted mostly in large dairy farms. This [...] Read more.
Left displaced abomasum (LDA) is a severe metabolic disease of cattle with a strong negative impact on production efficiency of dairy farms. Metabolic and inflammatory alterations associated with this disease have been reported in earlier studies, conducted mostly in large dairy farms. This research aimed to: (1) evaluate metabolic and inflammatory responses in dairy cows affected by LDA in small-scaled dairy farms; and (2) establish an Animals 2015, 5 1022 association between lactation number and milk production with the outcome of metabolic variables. The cows with LDA had lower serum calcium (Ca), but greater concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and beta-hydroxy-butyrate (BHBA), in particular when lactation number was >2. Cows with LDA showed elevated levels of aspartate aminotransferase, glutamate dehydrogenase, and serum amyloid A (SAA), regardless of lactation number. In addition, this study revealed strong associations between milk yield and the alteration of metabolic profile but not with inflammation in the sick cows. Results indicate metabolic alterations, liver damage, and inflammation in LDA cows kept under small-scale farm conditions. Furthermore, the data suggest exacerbation of metabolic profile and Ca metabolism but not of inflammation and liver health with increasing lactation number and milk yield in cows affected by LDA. Full article
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Review
Metabolic Disorders in the Transition Period Indicate that the Dairy Cows’ Ability to Adapt is Overstressed
Animals 2015, 5(4), 978-1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040395 - 09 Oct 2015
Cited by 109 | Viewed by 6072
Abstract
Metabolic disorders are a key problem in the transition period of dairy cows and often appear before the onset of further health problems. They mainly derive from difficulties the animals have in adapting to changes and disturbances occurring both outside and inside the [...] Read more.
Metabolic disorders are a key problem in the transition period of dairy cows and often appear before the onset of further health problems. They mainly derive from difficulties the animals have in adapting to changes and disturbances occurring both outside and inside the organisms and due to varying gaps between nutrient supply and demand. Adaptation is a functional and target-oriented process involving the whole organism and thus cannot be narrowed down to single factors. Most problems which challenge the organisms can be solved in a number of different ways. To understand the mechanisms of adaptation, the interconnectedness of variables and the nutrient flow within a metabolic network need to be considered. Metabolic disorders indicate an overstressed ability to balance input, partitioning and output variables. Dairy cows will more easily succeed in adapting and in avoiding dysfunctional processes in the transition period when the gap between nutrient and energy demands and their supply is restricted. Dairy farms vary widely in relation to the living conditions of the animals. The complexity of nutritional and metabolic processes Animals 2015, 5 979 and their large variations on various scales contradict any attempts to predict the outcome of animals’ adaptation in a farm specific situation. Any attempts to reduce the prevalence of metabolic disorders and associated production diseases should rely on continuous and comprehensive monitoring with appropriate indicators on the farm level. Furthermore, low levels of disorders and diseases should be seen as a further significant goal which carries weight in addition to productivity goals. In the long run, low disease levels can only be expected when farmers realize that they can gain a competitive advantage over competitors with higher levels of disease. Full article
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Article
Reducing Respiratory Health Risks to Horses and Workers: A Comparison of Two Stall Bedding Materials
Animals 2015, 5(4), 965-977; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040394 - 08 Oct 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3656
Abstract
Stable air quality and the choice of bedding material are an important health issue both in horses and people working or visiting horse stables. Risks of impaired respiratory health are those that can especially be avoided by improving air quality in the stable. [...] Read more.
Stable air quality and the choice of bedding material are an important health issue both in horses and people working or visiting horse stables. Risks of impaired respiratory health are those that can especially be avoided by improving air quality in the stable. The choice of bedding material is particularly important in cold climate conditions; where horses are kept most of the day and year indoors throughout their life. This study examined the effect of two bedding materials; wood shavings and peat; on stable air quality and health of horses. Ammonia and dust levels were also measured to assess conditions in the stable. Ammonia was not detected or was at very low levels (<0.25 ppm) in the boxes in which peat was used as bedding; but its concentration was clearly higher (1.5–7.0 ppm) in stalls with wood shavings as bedding. Personal measurements of workers revealed quite high ammonia exposure (5.9 ppm8h) in the boxes in which wood shavings were used; but no exposure was Animals 2015, 5 966 observed in stalls bedded with peat. The respiratory symptoms in horses increased regardless of the bedding material at the beginning of the study. The health status of the horses in the peat bedding group returned to the initial level in the end of the trial but horses bedded with wood shavings continued to be symptomatic. The hooves of the horses with peat bedding had a better moisture content than those of the horses bedded with wood shavings. The results suggest that peat is a better bedding material for horses than wood shavings regarding the health of both horses and stable workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
Article
A Cross-Sectional Study of Horse-Related Injuries in Veterinary and Animal Science Students at an Australian University
Animals 2015, 5(4), 951-964; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040392 - 25 Sep 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3159
Abstract
Specific estimates of the risk of horse-related injury (HRI) to university students enrolled in veterinary and animal sciences have not been reported. This study aimed to determine the risk of student HRI during their university education, the nature and management of such injuries. [...] Read more.
Specific estimates of the risk of horse-related injury (HRI) to university students enrolled in veterinary and animal sciences have not been reported. This study aimed to determine the risk of student HRI during their university education, the nature and management of such injuries. A retrospective questionnaire solicited demographic information, data on students’ equine experience prior to and during their educational programs, and on HRI during their program of study. Of 260 respondents, 22 (8.5%) reported HRI (27 incidents). Including concurrent injuries the most commonly injured body parts were the foot or ankle (nine of 32 injures), the upper leg or knee (eight of 32), and hands (three of 32). Trampling and being kicked by a hind limb were each associated with 30.4% of HRI, and 13% with being bitten. Bruising (91.3% of respondents) and an open wound (17.4%) were most commonly described. No treatment occurred for 60.9% of incidents; professional medical treatment was not sought for the remainder. Most incidents (56.5%) occurred during program-related work experience placements. Although injury rates and severity were modest, a proactive approach to injury prevention and reporting is recommended for students required to handle horses as part of their education. Student accident and injury data should be monitored to ensure effective evaluation of risk-reduction initiatives. The risk and nature of university student horse-related injury (HRI) was studied. Of 260 students, 22 (8.5%) reported HRI (27 incidents). Including multiple injuries, reports described involvement of the foot or ankle (nine of 32 injures), upper leg or knee (eight of 32), and hands (three of 32). Trampling (30.4%) and being kicked (30.4%) accounted for most HRI. The injuries were usually bruising (91.3%) or an open wound (17.4%). Most (60.9%) injuries were untreated; professional medical treatment was not sought for the rest. Most incidents (56.5%) occurred during program-related off-campus work experiences. A proactive approach to injury prevention is recommended for students handling horses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
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Article
On-FarmWelfare Assessment Protocol for Adult Dairy Goats in Intensive Production Systems
Animals 2015, 5(4), 934-950; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5040393 - 25 Sep 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3268
Abstract
Within the European AWIN project, a protocol for assessing dairy goats’ welfareon the farm was developed. Starting from a literature review, a prototype includinganimal-based indicators covering four welfare principles and 12 welfare criteria was set up.The prototype was tested in 60 farms for [...] Read more.
Within the European AWIN project, a protocol for assessing dairy goats’ welfareon the farm was developed. Starting from a literature review, a prototype includinganimal-based indicators covering four welfare principles and 12 welfare criteria was set up.The prototype was tested in 60 farms for validity, reliability, and feasibility. After testing theprototype, a two-level assessment protocol was proposed in order to increase acceptabilityamong stakeholders. The first level offers a more general overview of the welfare status,based on group assessment of a few indicators (e.g., hair coat condition, latency to thefirst contact test, severe lameness, Qualitative Behavior Assessment), with no or minimalhandling of goats and short assessment time required. The second level starts if welfareAnimals 2015, 5 935problems are encountered in the first level and adds a comprehensive and detailed individualevaluation (e.g., Body Condition Score, udder asymmetry, overgrown claws), supported byan effective sampling strategy. The assessment can be carried out using the AWIN Goatapp. The app results in a clear visual output, which provides positive feedback on welfareconditions in comparison with a benchmark of a reference population. The protocol maybe a valuable tool for both veterinarians and technicians and a self-assessment instrumentfor farmers. Full article
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