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Animals, Volume 6, Issue 10 (October 2016)

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Open AccessCommunication
Evidence for the Association of a Deleted Variant in the 5′-Flanking Region of the Chicken serotonin transporter (5-HTT) Gene with a Temporary Increase in Feed Intake and Growth Rate
Animals 2016, 6(10), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6100063 - 14 Oct 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
The serotonergic system has been shown to be implicated in the regulation of mood and feeding behavior. Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the 5′-flanking region of the serotonin transporter ( 5 - HTT ) gene of Lohmann Brown (LB) laying hens. [...] Read more.
The serotonergic system has been shown to be implicated in the regulation of mood and feeding behavior. Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the 5′-flanking region of the serotonin transporter ( 5 - HTT ) gene of Lohmann Brown (LB) laying hens. The deleted variant D was found to be associated with increased body weight. The objective of this study was to address whether the increased body weight may be due to an increased feed intake. After hatching, hens were kept under ad libitum feeding conditions, and their body weight and feed intake were weekly determined. From 5 weeks of age, the body weight of hens with the D/D and W/D genotypes was significantly greater than that of W/W carrying hens. Interestingly, we found that the feed intake of D/D carrying hens, relative to body weight, was transiently increased only between 4 and 7 weeks of age ( p < 0.05), leading to a higher growth rate ( p < 0.05), compared with that of W/W carrying hens. These results suggest that the presence of variant D may be correlated with a transiently increased appetite of D/D carrying hens. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Technology and Poultry Welfare
Animals 2016, 6(10), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6100062 - 11 Oct 2016
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2314
Abstract
Consideration of animal welfare is essential to address the consumers’ demands and for the long term sustainability of commercial poultry. However, assessing welfare in large poultry flocks, to be able to detect potential welfare risks and to control or minimize its impact is [...] Read more.
Consideration of animal welfare is essential to address the consumers’ demands and for the long term sustainability of commercial poultry. However, assessing welfare in large poultry flocks, to be able to detect potential welfare risks and to control or minimize its impact is difficult. Current developments in technology and mathematical modelling open new possibilities for real-time automatic monitoring of animal welfare and health. New technological innovations potentially adaptable to commercial poultry are appearing, although their practical implementation is still being defined. In this paper, we review the latest technological developments with potential to be applied to poultry welfare, especially for broiler chickens and laying hens. Some of the examples that are presented and discussed include the following: sensors for farm environmental monitoring, movement, or physiological parameters; imaging technologies such as optical flow to detect gait problems and feather pecking; infrared technologies to evaluate birds’ thermoregulatory features and metabolism changes, that may be indicative of welfare, health and management problems. All these technologies have the potential to be implemented at the commercial level to improve birds’ welfare and to optimize flock management, therefore, improving the efficiency of the system in terms of use of resources and, thus, long term sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Welfare)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Exploring Attitudes and Beliefs towards Implementing Cattle Disease Prevention and Control Measures: A Qualitative Study with Dairy Farmers in Great Britain
Animals 2016, 6(10), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6100061 - 11 Oct 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2570
Abstract
Disease prevention and control practices are frequently highlighted as important to ensure the health and welfare of farmed animals, although little is known as to why not many practices are carried out. The aim of this study was to identify the motivators and [...] Read more.
Disease prevention and control practices are frequently highlighted as important to ensure the health and welfare of farmed animals, although little is known as to why not many practices are carried out. The aim of this study was to identify the motivators and barriers of dairy cattle farmers towards the use of biosecurity measures on dairy farms using a health psychology approach. Twenty-five farmers on 24 farms in Great Britain (GB) were interviewed using the Theory of Planned Behaviour framework. Results indicated that farmers perceived they had the ability to control what happened on their farms in terms of preventing and controlling disease, and described benefits from being proactive and vigilant. However, barriers were cited in relation to testing inaccuracies, effectiveness and time-efficiency of practices, and disease transmission route (e.g., airborne transmission). Farmers reported they were positively influenced by veterinarians and negatively influenced by the government (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)) and the general public. Decisions to implement practices were influenced by the perceived severity of the disease in question, if disease was diagnosed on the farm already, or was occurring on other farms. Farmers described undertaking a form of personal risk assessment when deciding if practices were worth doing, which did not always involve building in disease specific factors or opinions from veterinarians or other advisors. These results indicate that further guidance about the intricacies of control and prevention principles in relation to specific animal diseases may be required, with an obvious role for veterinarians. There appears to be an opportunity for farm advisors and herd health professionals to further understand farmer beliefs behind certain attitudes and target communication and advice accordingly to further enhance dairy cattle health and welfare. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Predation by Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) at an Outdoor Piggery
Animals 2016, 6(10), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6100060 - 08 Oct 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2003
Abstract
Outdoor pig operations are an alternative to intensive systems of raising pigs; however for the majority of outdoor pork producers, issues of biosecurity and predation control require significant management and (or) capital investment. Identifying and quantifying predation risk in outdoor pork operations has [...] Read more.
Outdoor pig operations are an alternative to intensive systems of raising pigs; however for the majority of outdoor pork producers, issues of biosecurity and predation control require significant management and (or) capital investment. Identifying and quantifying predation risk in outdoor pork operations has rarely been done, but such data would be informative for these producers as part of their financial and logistical planning. We quantified potential impact of fox predation on piglets bred on an outdoor pork operation in south-western Australia. We used remote sensor cameras at select sites across the farm as well as above farrowing huts to record interactions between predators and pigs (sows and piglets). We also identified animal losses from breeding records, calculating weaning rate as a proportion of piglets born. Although only few piglets were recorded lost to fox predation (recorded by piggery staff as carcasses that are “chewed”), it is likely that foxes were contributing substantially to the 20% of piglets that were reported “missing”. Both sets of cameras recorded a high incidence of fox activity; foxes appeared on camera soon after staff left for the day, were observed tracking and taking live piglets (despite the presence of sows), and removed dead carcasses from in front of the cameras. Newly born and younger piglets appeared to be the most vulnerable, especially when they are born out in the paddock, but older piglets were also lost. A significant ( p = 0.001) effect of individual sow identification on the weaning rate, but no effect of sow age (parity), suggests that individual sow behavior towards predators influences predation risk for litters. We tracked the movement of piglet carcasses by foxes, and confirmed that foxes make use of patches of native vegetation for cover, although there was no effect of paddock, distance to vegetation, or position on the farm on weaning rate. Trials with non-toxic baits reveal high levels of non-target bait interference. Other management options are recommended, including removing hay from the paddocks to reduce the risks of sows farrowing in open paddocks, and covering or predator-proof fencing the pig carcass pit. Results of this study will have increasing relevance for the expanding outdoor/free-range pork industry, contributing to best practice guidelines for predator control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Open AccessReview
Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” by Updating the “Five Provisions” and Introducing Aligned “Animal Welfare Aims”
Animals 2016, 6(10), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6100059 - 23 Sep 2016
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6164
Abstract
Although the Five Freedoms paradigm has been very influential in shaping animal welfare thinking for the last two decades, it has two key disadvantages. First, the focus on “freedom” from a range of negative experiences and states has been misunderstood in a number [...] Read more.
Although the Five Freedoms paradigm has been very influential in shaping animal welfare thinking for the last two decades, it has two key disadvantages. First, the focus on “freedom” from a range of negative experiences and states has been misunderstood in a number of quarters to mean that complete freedom from these experiences and states is possible, when in fact the best that can be achieved is for them to be minimised. Second, the major focus of the Freedoms on negative experiences and states is now seen to be a disadvantage in view of current understanding that animal welfare management should also include the promotion of positive experiences and states. The challenge therefore was to formulate a paradigm that overcame these two main problems and yet was straightforward enough to be accessible to non-specialists, including members of the lay public who are interested in animal welfare. This was achieved by highlighting the Five Provisions, originally aligned with the Five Freedoms, but now updated to direct welfare management towards activities that both minimise negative experiences or states and promote positive experiences or states as specified by particular Animal Welfare Aims assigned to each Provision. Aspects of the four welfare principles from the European Welfare Quality assessment system (WQ ® ) and elements of all domains of the Five Domains Model for animal welfare assessment have been incorporated into the new Five Provisions/Welfare Aims paradigm. Thus, the paradigm is easily understood and provides clear guidance on beneficial objectives for animal welfare management. It is anticipated that the paradigm will have application to many species found in a wide range of circumstances. Full article
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