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Animals, Volume 6, Issue 1 (January 2016)

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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2015
Animals 2016, 6(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010008
Received: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
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Abstract
The editors of Animals would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ochre Bathing of the Bearded Vulture: A Bio-Mimetic Model for Early Humans towards Smell Prevention and Health
Animals 2016, 6(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010007
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 31 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 15 January 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2013 | PDF Full-text (1183 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since primordial times, vultures have been competing with man for animal carcasses. One of these vultures, the once widespread bearded vulture ( Gypaetus barbatus ), has the habit of bathing its polluted feathers and skin in red iron oxide - ochre - tainted [...] Read more.
Since primordial times, vultures have been competing with man for animal carcasses. One of these vultures, the once widespread bearded vulture ( Gypaetus barbatus ), has the habit of bathing its polluted feathers and skin in red iron oxide - ochre - tainted water puddles. Why? Primitive man may have tried to find out and may have discovered its advantages. Red ochre, which has accompanied human rituals and everyday life for more than 100,000 years, is not just a simple red paint for decoration or a symbol for blood. As modern experiments demonstrate, it is active in sunlight producing aggressive chemical species. They can kill viruses and bacteria and convert smelly organic substances into volatile neutral carbon dioxide gas. In this way, ochre can in sunlight sterilize and clean the skin to provide health and comfort and make it scentless, a definitive advantage for nomadic meat hunters. This research thus also demonstrates a sanitary reason for the vulture’s habit of bathing in red ochre mud. Prehistoric people have therefore included ochre use into their rituals, especially into those in relation to birth and death. Significant ritual impulses during evolution of man may thus have developed bio-mimetically, inspired from the habits of a vulture. It is discussed how this health strategy could be developed to a modern standard helping to fight antibiotics-resistant bacteria in hospitals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Education to Action: Improving Public Perception of Bats
Animals 2016, 6(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010006
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 15 January 2016
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Abstract
Public perception of bats has historically been largely negative with bats often portrayed as carriers of disease. Bats are commonly associated with vampire lore and thus elicit largely fearful reactions despite the fact that they are a vital and valuable part of the [...] Read more.
Public perception of bats has historically been largely negative with bats often portrayed as carriers of disease. Bats are commonly associated with vampire lore and thus elicit largely fearful reactions despite the fact that they are a vital and valuable part of the ecosystem. Bats provide a variety of essential services from pest control to plant pollination. Despite the benefits of bats to the environment and the economy, bats are suffering at the hands of humans. They are victims of turbines, human encroachment, pesticides, and, most recently, white nose syndrome. Because of their critical importance to the environment, humans should do what they can to help protect bats. We propose that humans will be more likely to do so if their perceptions and attitudes toward bats can be significantly improved. In a preliminary study we found some support for the idea that people can be educated about bats through bat oriented events and exhibits, and that this greater knowledge can inspire humans to act to save bats. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Welfare Conditions of Donkeys in Europe: Initial Outcomes from On-Farm Assessment
Animals 2016, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010005
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 5 January 2016 / Published: 8 January 2016
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Abstract
This paper is a baseline study to present the initial outcomes of data collected in a sample of EU donkey farms using the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for donkeys, comprehensive of 22 valid, reliable and feasible animal-based indicators. A total of 20 donkey [...] Read more.
This paper is a baseline study to present the initial outcomes of data collected in a sample of EU donkey farms using the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for donkeys, comprehensive of 22 valid, reliable and feasible animal-based indicators. A total of 20 donkey facilities (N = 12 in Italy and N = 8 in United Kingdom) were visited and 278 donkeys of different breed, aged 2–45 years, were assessed. Three assessors underwent a common training period to learn how to perform and score all the indicators included in the protocol. Data was collected using digitalized systems and downloaded to a database. A descriptive statistic for each welfare indicator was calculated. The authors found recurrent issues: 25% of donkeys were moderately over weight; although most of the assessed animals had good quality hoof care, 15.16% of them presented some signs of neglect, such as overgrowth and/or incorrect trimming; 18.05% of donkeys showed an avoidance reaction to an approaching human in the avoidance distance test. The protocol has proven to be applicable in different management conditions and for donkeys of different attitude. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Food Deprivation, Body Weight Loss and Anxiety-Related Behavior in Rats
Animals 2016, 6(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010004
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 17 December 2015 / Accepted: 18 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2789 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In behavioral studies, food deprivation protocols are routinely used to initiate or maintain motivational states that are required in a particular test situation. However, there is limited evidence as to when food deprivation compromises animal welfare. This study investigated the effects of different [...] Read more.
In behavioral studies, food deprivation protocols are routinely used to initiate or maintain motivational states that are required in a particular test situation. However, there is limited evidence as to when food deprivation compromises animal welfare. This study investigated the effects of different lengths of food deprivation periods and restricted (fixed-time) feeding on body weight loss as well as anxiety-related and motivated behavior in 5–6 month old male and female Wistar rats. The observed body weight loss was not influenced by sex and ranged between 4% (16 h deprivation) to approximately 9% (fixed-time feeding). Despite significant body weight loss in all groups, the motivation to eat under the aversive test conditions of the modified open field test increased only after 48 h of food deprivation. Long-lasting effects on anxiety as measured in the elevated plus maze test 24 h after refeeding have not been observed, although fixed-time feeding could possibly lead to a lasting anxiogenic effect in female rats. Overall, female rats showed a more anxiolytic profile in both tests when compared to male rats. Despite these sex differences, results suggest that food deprivation is not always paralleled by an increased motivation to feed in a conflict situation. This is an important finding as it highlights the need for tailored pilot experiments to evaluate the impact of food deprivation protocols on animals in regard to the principles of the 3Rs introduced by Russell and Burch. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Dark Brooders on Behavior and Fearfulness in Layers
Animals 2016, 6(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010003
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1539 | PDF Full-text (912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chicks require heat to maintain body temperature during the first weeks after hatch. This may be provided by dark brooders; i.e. , horizontal heating elements equipped with curtains. The objective was to test effects of rearing layer chicks with dark brooders on time [...] Read more.
Chicks require heat to maintain body temperature during the first weeks after hatch. This may be provided by dark brooders; i.e. , horizontal heating elements equipped with curtains. The objective was to test effects of rearing layer chicks with dark brooders on time budget and fearfulness. Behavioral observations were performed during the first six weeks of age. Three different fear tests were conducted when the birds were age 3–6, 14–15 and 26–28 weeks. During the first four days, brooder chicks rested more than control chicks whereas they spent less time drinking, feather pecking and on locomotion ( p ≤ 0.009). On days 16, 23, 30 and 42, brooder chicks spent less time on feather pecking, locomotion and fleeing ( p ≤ 0.01) whereas foraging and dust bathing occurred more often on day 42 ( p ≤ 0.032). Brooder birds had shorter durations of tonic immobility at all ages ( p = 0.0032), moved closer to the novel object at age 15 weeks ( p < 0.0001), and had shorter latencies to initiate locomotion in the open-field test at age 28 weeks ( p < 0.0001). Results support the suggestion that dark brooders can be a successful method of reducing or preventing fear and feather pecking in layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Open AccessReview
Influences of Maternal Care on Chicken Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010002
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 5 January 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3508 | PDF Full-text (405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In domestic chickens, the provision of maternal care strongly influences the behavioural development of chicks. Mother hens play an important role in directing their chicks’ behaviour and are able to buffer their chicks’ response to stressors. Chicks imprint upon their mother, who is [...] Read more.
In domestic chickens, the provision of maternal care strongly influences the behavioural development of chicks. Mother hens play an important role in directing their chicks’ behaviour and are able to buffer their chicks’ response to stressors. Chicks imprint upon their mother, who is key in directing the chicks’ behaviour and in allowing them to develop food preferences. Chicks reared by a mother hen are less fearful and show higher levels of behavioural synchronisation than chicks reared artificially. In a commercial setting, more fearful chicks with unsynchronised behaviour are more likely to develop behavioural problems, such as feather pecking. As well as being an inherent welfare problem, fear can also lead to panic responses, smothering, and fractured bones. Despite the beneficial effects of brooding, it is not commercially viable to allow natural brooding on farms and so chicks are hatched in large incubators and reared artificially, without a mother hen. In this review we cover the literature demonstrating the important features of maternal care in domestic chickens, the behavioural consequences of deprivation and the welfare implications on commercial farms. We finish by suggesting ways to use research in natural maternal care to improve commercial chick rearing practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Opinion of Belgian Egg Farmers on Hen Welfare and Its Relationship with Housing Type
Animals 2016, 6(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6010001
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 16 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 22 December 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1777 | PDF Full-text (679 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As of 2012, the EU has banned the use of conventional cages (CC) for laying hens, causing a shift in housing systems. This study’s aim was to gain insight into farmers’ opinions on hen health and welfare in their current housing systems. A [...] Read more.
As of 2012, the EU has banned the use of conventional cages (CC) for laying hens, causing a shift in housing systems. This study’s aim was to gain insight into farmers’ opinions on hen health and welfare in their current housing systems. A survey was sent to 218 Belgian egg farmers, of which 127 (58.3%) responded, with 84 still active as egg farmer. Hen welfare tended to be less important in choosing the housing system for farmers with cage than with non-cage systems. Respondents currently using cage systems were more satisfied with hen health than respondents with non-cage systems. Reported mortality increased with farm size and was higher in furnished cages than in floor housing. Feather pecking, cannibalism, smothering and mortality were perceived to be higher in current housing systems than in CC, but only by respondents who shifted to non-cage systems from previously having had CC. Health- and production-related parameters were scored to be more important for hen welfare as compared to behavior-related parameters. Those without CC in the past rated factors relating to natural behavior to be more important for welfare than those with CC. This difference in opinion based on farmer backgrounds should be taken into account in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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