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Animals, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2018)

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Open AccessAddendum Addendum: Gosling, E.M., et al. The Status of Pet Rabbit Breeding and Online Sales in the UK: A Glimpse into an Otherwise Elusive Industry. Animals 2018, 8, 199
Animals 2018, 8(12), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120238
Received: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
The authors would like to add the following statement to the published article [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Liver Condition and Copper on Selective Parameters of Post-Mortem Dog Tissue Samples
Animals 2018, 8(12), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120237
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
One of the liver functions is copper storage, which can be toxic when in excess. The objective of this retrospective study was to determine the relationship between hepatic copper and pathology conditions in stored samples from 55 post-mortem dogs (37 Beagles, 12 Labrador
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One of the liver functions is copper storage, which can be toxic when in excess. The objective of this retrospective study was to determine the relationship between hepatic copper and pathology conditions in stored samples from 55 post-mortem dogs (37 Beagles, 12 Labrador Retrievers, and 6 Labrador Mixes). The analyses evaluated data from blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC) that were measured immediately before euthanasia, and liver biopsies which were harvested at necropsy and frozen at −80 °C. Slides for microscopic evaluation were prepared, and liver copper and plasma metabolites were measured. Hepatic copper was correlated (p ≤ 0.001) with monoacylglycerols, 13-HODE + 9-HODE (13-hydroxy-9,11-octadecadienoic acid + 9-hydroxy-10,12-octadecadienoic acid), and stearoyl-arachidonoyl-glycerophosphocholine. This indicates lipid metabolism modification and cell membrane oxidation. However, hepatic copper was not related to liver histopathology severity or altered liver biomarkers. The severity of liver pathology was positively correlated (p ≤ 0.05) with liver enzymes, bile salts, and glycerophosphocholines, suggesting cholestasis and altered lipid and amino acid metabolism. Liver neoplasia had increased (p ≤ 0.05) metabolites derived from nucleotides, along with an increase (p ≤ 0.05) in α-ketoglutarate from the energy and amino acid metabolism (p ≤ 0.05), suggesting rapid cell division. This study offers further insight regarding changes in metabolism due to hepatic tissue damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Increasing Maximum Penalties for Animal Welfare Offences in South Australia—Has It Caused Penal Change?
Animals 2018, 8(12), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120236
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
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Abstract
Animal welfare legislation in South Australia underwent amendments in 2008, where all the maximum penalties for animal welfare offences were doubled. This commitment to increased penalties arguably provides evidence of the legislature’s intent with respect to penalties. Studies have speculated that the legislative
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Animal welfare legislation in South Australia underwent amendments in 2008, where all the maximum penalties for animal welfare offences were doubled. This commitment to increased penalties arguably provides evidence of the legislature’s intent with respect to penalties. Studies have speculated that the legislative intent behind the increased penalties is not being reflected in the courts. This interdisciplinary research sought to gain evidence to confirm or disprove these speculations, by quantifying the average custodial sentence and monetary fine handed down in court before and after the 2008 amendments. Furthermore, trends relating to the species of animal affected and the demographics of the offender were identified. A total of 314 RSPCA (SA) closed case files from 2006 to 2018 were converted into an electronic form. Since the amendments, the average penalties have doubled in magnitude; fines have increased from $700 to $1535, while prison sentences have increased from 37 days to 77 days. Cases of companion animal abuse were most common (75% of all cases) and the location of the offence was found to influence offending. These findings suggest that the 2008 amendments have caused the average penalties to increase. However, it is debatable whether these increases are enough to effectively punish animal abusers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessReview Climate Change and Goat Production: Enteric Methane Emission and Its Mitigation
Animals 2018, 8(12), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120235
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 25 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
The ability of an animal to cope and adapt itself to the changing climate virtually depends on the function of rumen and rumen inhabitants such as bacteria, protozoa, fungi, virus and archaea. Elevated ambient temperature during the summer months can have a significant
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The ability of an animal to cope and adapt itself to the changing climate virtually depends on the function of rumen and rumen inhabitants such as bacteria, protozoa, fungi, virus and archaea. Elevated ambient temperature during the summer months can have a significant influence on the basic physiology of the rumen, thereby affecting the nutritional status of the animals. Rumen volatile fatty acid (VFA) production decreases under conditions of extreme heat. Growing recent evidence suggests there are genetic variations among breeds of goats in the impact of heat stress on rumen fermentation pattern and VFA production. Most of the effects of heat stress on rumen fermentation and enteric methane (CH4) emission are attributed to differences in the rumen microbial population. Heat stress-induced rumen function impairment is mainly associated with an increase in Streptococcus genus bacteria and with a decrease in the bacteria of Fibrobactor genus. Apart from its major role in global warming and greenhouse effect, enteric CH4 is also considered as a dietary energy loss in goats. These effects warrant mitigating against CH4 production to ensure optimum economic return from goat farming as well as to reduce the impact on global warming as CH4 is one of the more potent greenhouse gases (GHG). The various strategies that can be implemented to mitigate enteric CH4 emission include nutritional interventions, different management strategies and applying advanced biotechnological tools to find solution to reduce CH4 production. Through these advanced technologies, it is possible to identify genetically superior animals with less CH4 production per unit feed intake. These efforts can help the farming community to sustain goat production in the changing climate scenario. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of System Changes in Grazed Dairy Farmlet Trials on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Animals 2018, 8(12), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120234
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
An important challenge facing the New Zealand (NZ) dairy industry is development of production systems that can maintain or increase production and profitability, while reducing impacts on receiving environments including water and air. Using research ‘farmlets’ in Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago (32–200 animals
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An important challenge facing the New Zealand (NZ) dairy industry is development of production systems that can maintain or increase production and profitability, while reducing impacts on receiving environments including water and air. Using research ‘farmlets’ in Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago (32–200 animals per herd), we assessed if system changes aimed at reducing nitrate leaching can also reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (methane and nitrous oxide) and emissions intensity (kg GHG per unit of product) by comparing current and potential ‘improved’ dairy systems. Annual average GHG emissions for each system were estimated for three or four years using calculations based on the New Zealand Agricultural Inventory Methodology, but included key farmlet-specific emission factors determined from regional experiments. Total annual GHG footprints ranged between 10,800 kg and 20,600 kg CO2e/ha, with emissions strongly related to the amount of feed eaten. Methane (CH4) represented 75% to 84% of the total GHG footprint across all modelled systems, with enteric CH4 from lactating cows grazing pasture being the major source. Excreta deposition onto paddocks was the largest source of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, representing 7–12% of the total GHG footprint for all systems. When total emissions were represented on an intensity basis, ‘improved’ systems are predicted to generally result in lower emissions intensity. The ‘improved’ systems had lower GHG footprints than the ‘current’ system, except for one of the ‘improved’ systems in Canterbury, which had a higher stocking rate. The lower feed supplies and associated lower stocking rates of the ‘improved’ systems were the key drivers of lower total GHG emissions in all three regions. ‘Improved’ systems designed to reduced N leaching generally also reduced GHG emissions. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Use of Three Air Samplers for the Detection of PRRSV-1 under Experimental and Field Conditions
Animals 2018, 8(12), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120233
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Airborne transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) has been known for a long time. Most experiments were performed using PRRSV-2 strains and fairly little information is available on the airborne spread of PRRSV-1. The aim of this study was to
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Airborne transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) has been known for a long time. Most experiments were performed using PRRSV-2 strains and fairly little information is available on the airborne spread of PRRSV-1. The aim of this study was to assess three different air samplers for their ability to detect PRRSV-1 under experimental and field conditions. All three devices were able to detect PRRSV-1 by quantitative reverse trascription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) under experimental conditions. However, the detection of PRRSV-1 in a PRRSV-positive farm with active virus circulation was not successful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessCommunication Reducing the Consumer Attitude–Behaviour Gap in Animal Welfare: The Potential Role of ‘Nudges’
Animals 2018, 8(12), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120232
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
Citizen concern for the welfare of farm animals is well documented. However, there is a notable gap between people saying they want improved farm animal welfare and how they actually behave as a consumer. This is known as the citizen–consumer attitude–behaviour gap. As
[...] Read more.
Citizen concern for the welfare of farm animals is well documented. However, there is a notable gap between people saying they want improved farm animal welfare and how they actually behave as a consumer. This is known as the citizen–consumer attitude–behaviour gap. As improvements in farm animal welfare can be affected by market demand, the choices consumers make become important. This paper introduces the concept of ‘nudging’ and discusses how it could be applied to reduce the attitude–behaviour gap amongst consumers. By designing the choice environment to better reflect the behavioural biases known to impact human decision-making, ‘nudge’ tools function to prompt individuals to make choices that are aligned with their stated intentions. Four ‘nudge’ tools: self-nudges, choice architecture, social norms and pre-commitments are discussed. The behavioural rationales for their use are reviewed and examples of how they might be applied to animal welfare provided. Improved farm animal welfare arguably requires improved pro-welfare consumer behaviour. This paper highlights how this might be encouraged by: self-nudging the salience of an ethical self-image; altering the choice architecture to influence decision-making; articulating social norms to impact behaviour; and using pre-commitment devices to overcome self-control issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Nutritional Supplements Fortified with Oils from Canola, Flaxseed, Safflower and Rice Bran Improve Feedlot Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Australian Prime Lambs
Animals 2018, 8(12), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120231
Received: 3 November 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated live animal performance and carcass characteristics of Australian prime lambs fed oil based polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) enriched pellets in a feedlot system. The tested hypothesis was that supplementation of lambs with a variety of dietary oil based PUFA enriched
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This study investigated live animal performance and carcass characteristics of Australian prime lambs fed oil based polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) enriched pellets in a feedlot system. The tested hypothesis was that supplementation of lambs with a variety of dietary oil based PUFA enriched pellets would enhance growth and carcass characteristics compared with the control lambs fed only with lucerne hay. Seventy-two, 6 months old White Suffolk x Corriedale first-cross prime lambs with an average liveweight (LWT) of 35.7 ± 0.9 kg were allocated to six treatment groups in a completely randomised experimental design. The treatments were: (1) control: lucerne hay only; or lucerne hay plus wheat-based pellets infused with 50 mL/kg dry matter (DM) of oils from (2) rice bran (RBO); (3) canola (CO); (4) rumen protected (RPO); (5) flaxseed (FO) and (6) safflower (SO) dietary sources. All lambs had ad libitum access to lucerne hay and clean fresh water. Supplemented lambs were fed 1 kg of pellet/head/day for 10 weeks. Feed intake, final LWT, average daily gain (ADG), body conformation and carcass characteristics of lambs in the supplemented groups were all greater than for the control group. SO lambs had the lowest ADG of 190.3 g/day. RBO and CO treatments had the lowest feed cost per unit gain of AU$3.0/kg. Supplemented lambs had similar over the hooks (OTH) incomes that were all higher than that of the control group. This empirical evidence-based data demonstrated that supplementation of lambs with RBO and CO had comparatively lower feed costs without compromising ADG, carcass characteristics and OTH income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Combining Actigraph Link and PetPace Collar Data to Measure Activity, Proximity, and Physiological Responses in Freely Moving Dogs in a Natural Environment
Animals 2018, 8(12), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120230
Received: 19 August 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
Although several studies have examined the effects of an owner’s absence and presence on a dog’s physiological responses under experimental conditions over short periods of time (minutes), little is known about the effects of proximity between humans and freely moving dogs under natural
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Although several studies have examined the effects of an owner’s absence and presence on a dog’s physiological responses under experimental conditions over short periods of time (minutes), little is known about the effects of proximity between humans and freely moving dogs under natural conditions over longer periods of time (days). The first aim of our study was to determine whether the combined data generated from the PetPace Collar and Actigraph Link accelerometer provide reliable pulse, respiration, and heart rate variability results during sedentary, light-moderate, and vigorous bouts in 11 freely moving dogs in a foster caretaker environment over 10–15 days. The second aim was to determine the effects of proximity (absence and presence of caretaker) and distance (caretaker and dog within 0–2 m) on the dogs’ physiological responses. Aim 1 results: Pulse and respiration were higher during light-moderate bouts compared to sedentary bouts, and higher at rest while the dogs were standing and sitting vs. lying. Heart rate variability (HRV) was not different between activity levels or position. Aim 2 results: During sedentary bouts, pulse and respiration were higher, and HRV lower, when there was a proximity signal (caretaker present) compared to no proximity signal (caretaker absent). Using multiple regression models, we found that activity, position, distance, and signal presence were predictors of physiological response in individual dogs during sedentary bouts. Our results suggest that combining data collected from Actigraph GT9X and PetPace monitors will provide useful information, both collectively and individually, on dogs’ physiological responses during activity, in various positions, and in proximity to their human caretaker. Full article
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Open AccessReview Mobile Poultry Processing Unit as a Resource for Small Poultry Farms: Planning and Economic Efficiency, Animal Welfare, Meat Quality and Sanitary Implications
Animals 2018, 8(12), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120229
Received: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
Nowadays there is an increasing demand for poultry products from alternative rearing systems. These systems, commonly named pastured poultry production (PPP), are more expensive than intensive rearing system but sustain biodiversity, local economies and farm multi-functionality besides providing meat to which consumers attribute
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Nowadays there is an increasing demand for poultry products from alternative rearing systems. These systems, commonly named pastured poultry production (PPP), are more expensive than intensive rearing system but sustain biodiversity, local economies and farm multi-functionality besides providing meat to which consumers attribute high ethical value and quality. PPP generally uses large outdoor runs, small number of animals and requires chickens adapted to natural environment. One of the most relevant obstacles to further development of PPP systems is related to the slaughtering of animals economically and at the same time complying with the sanitary regulations to maintain food safety standards. A possible solution could be represented by a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU), which directly reaches the poultry farms. MPPU can consider a good compromise for the niche production providing an opportunity to small farmers to exploit the full potential of their production system. The aim of this review is to analyse the essential requisites and MPPU economic viability in an Italian system. Qualitative, societal aspects are discussed together with bird welfare and hygiene implications. The case study indicates the viability of MPPUs but notes that up scaling to medium sized operations would not be permissible under current EU regulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Development of Meaningful Vocal Signals in a Juvenile Territorial Songbird (Gymnorhina tibicen) and the Dilemma of Vocal Taboos Concerning Neighbours and Strangers
Animals 2018, 8(12), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120228
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
Young territorial songbirds have calls to learn, especially calls that may be vital for maintaining territory. Territoriality is largely reinforced and communicated by vocal signals. In their natal territory, juvenile magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) enjoy protection from predators for 8–9 months. It
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Young territorial songbirds have calls to learn, especially calls that may be vital for maintaining territory. Territoriality is largely reinforced and communicated by vocal signals. In their natal territory, juvenile magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) enjoy protection from predators for 8–9 months. It is not at all clear, however, when and how a young territorial songbird learns to distinguish the meaning of calls and songs expressed by parents, conspecifics, neighbours, and heterospecifics, or how territorial calls are incorporated into the juvenile’s own repertoire. This project investigated acquisition and expression of the vocal repertoire in juvenile magpies and assessed the responses of adults and juveniles to playbacks of neighbour and stranger calls inside their territory. The results reported here identify age of appearance of specific vocalisations and the limits of their expression in juveniles. One new and surprising result was that many types of adult vocalisation were not voiced by juveniles. Playbacks of calls of neighbours and strangers inside the natal territory further established that adults responded strongly but differentially to neighbours versus strangers. By contrast, juveniles needed months before paying any attention to and distinguishing between neighbour and stranger calls and eventually did so only in non-vocal ways (such as referral to adults). These results provide evidence that auditory perception not only includes recognition and memory of neighbour calls but also an assessment of the importance of such calls in the context of territoriality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Open AccessArticle Dietary Zinc Supplementation to Prevent Chronic Copper Poisoning in Sheep
Animals 2018, 8(12), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120227
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate whether zinc (Zn) supplementation protects against hepatic copper (Cu) accumulation in copper-loaded sheep. Forty cross-bred lambs were assigned to five experimental groups. These included the control group (C) and four treatment groups that received Cu
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The aim of this study was to evaluate whether zinc (Zn) supplementation protects against hepatic copper (Cu) accumulation in copper-loaded sheep. Forty cross-bred lambs were assigned to five experimental groups. These included the control group (C) and four treatment groups that received Cu and/or Zn supplementation (dry matter (DM) basis) over 14 weeks, as follows: Cu (450 mg Cu/kg); Zn-35 (450 mg Cu + 35 mg Zn/kg); Zn-150 (450 mg Cu + 150 mg Zn/kg); and Zn-300 (450 mg Cu + 300 mg Zn/kg). Blood, liver, and bile samples were obtained for mineral determination by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP–OES). The hepatic metallothionein (MT) concentrations were also determined. At the end of the experiment, hepatic Cu concentrations were higher in all Cu-supplemented groups than in C. Hepatic Cu accumulation was lower in the groups receiving the Zn supplementation than in the Cu group, although the difference was only statistically significant (66%) in the Zn-300 group. The MT concentrations tended to be higher (almost two-fold) in the Zn groups (but were not dose related) than in the C and Cu groups, and they were related to hepatic Zn concentrations. Zn supplementation at 300 mg/kg DM is useful for preventing excessive hepatic Cu accumulation in sheep exposed to high dietary concentrations of Cu. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Intravaginal Device-Type and Treatment-Length for Ovine Estrus Synchronization Modify Vaginal Mucus and Microbiota and Affect Fertility
Animals 2018, 8(12), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120226
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract
Induction and synchronization of estrus and ovulation in sheep is based on intravaginal progestagen-impregnated polyurethane sponges or progesterone-loaded silicon-based devices (CIDR), in either short- (6–7 days) or long-term (12–14 days) protocols. Bearing in mind that the use of intravaginal sponges in long-term protocols
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Induction and synchronization of estrus and ovulation in sheep is based on intravaginal progestagen-impregnated polyurethane sponges or progesterone-loaded silicon-based devices (CIDR), in either short- (6–7 days) or long-term (12–14 days) protocols. Bearing in mind that the use of intravaginal sponges in long-term protocols has been related to the presence of vaginitis at removal, we compared the effects of sponges and CIDRs, maintained during either 7 or 14 days, on vaginal features (characteristics of vaginal mucus discharge, pH and microbiota) and fertility under field conditions. Almost all the ewes treated with intravaginal sponges showed vaginal discharge at device withdrawal, which was purulent and/or bloody in around 15% and 80% of the females treated for 7 and 14 days, respectively. The vaginal pH and microbiota changed in both groups when compared to control sheep, especially in ewes treated for 14 days, which showed a pH value around 8 and a higher incidence of Salmonella spp. and Staphylococcus aureus. On the other hand, independently of the length of the treatment, only around 15–20% of the sheep treated with CIDRs evidenced vaginal discharge (p < 0.00005 when compared to sponge groups), and such discharge was scarce, clear, and showed no changes in vaginal pH and microbiota when compared to control sheep. Fertility yields were associated with vaginal features, being higher in both short-term treatments (75%) and the long-term CIDR-based treatment (70%) than in the long-term sponge-based treatment (45%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Sheep Farmers’ Perception of Welfare and Pain Associated with Routine Husbandry Practices in Chile
Animals 2018, 8(12), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120225
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
Considering the public concern about the welfare of farm animals during routine husbandry practices, this study aimed to determine how husbandry practices are carried out in Chilean farms, sheep farmers’ perceptions of animal welfare and pain, and factors that affect them, as well
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Considering the public concern about the welfare of farm animals during routine husbandry practices, this study aimed to determine how husbandry practices are carried out in Chilean farms, sheep farmers’ perceptions of animal welfare and pain, and factors that affect them, as well as the level of agreement among farmers in the recognition of pain associated with these practices. Using a self-administered survey, participants were asked about their sociodemographic information, how husbandry practices are carried out in their farms, and their pain perception for seven of these common husbandry procedures using a numerical rating scale (0 to 10). A total of 165 farmers completed the survey and perceived castration and tail docking as the most painful practices in lambs (median pain score 10 vs. 8, p < 0.05). Pain perception was associated with the method used for the specific husbandry practices, the farmers’ educational level, the farm size, and flock size (p < 0.05). There was a fair to good level of agreement beyond chance (p < 0.05) in the recognition of pain associated with the most painful practices. In general, husbandry practices are not carried out in young animals, use painful methods, without using analgesics, which may have a negative impact on animal welfare. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Speciation of a Cold Water Species, Japanese Sand Lance Ammodytes personatus, in the Northwestern Pacific by AFLP Markers
Animals 2018, 8(12), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120224
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
The use of molecular techniques in biodiversity research increasingly results in the recognition of multiple divergent mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages below the morphospecies level. However, the overlapping distribution of multiple divergent lineages raises the question of whether some of these lineages are in
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The use of molecular techniques in biodiversity research increasingly results in the recognition of multiple divergent mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages below the morphospecies level. However, the overlapping distribution of multiple divergent lineages raises the question of whether some of these lineages are in fact cryptic species. Assessing the status of these divergent lineages, delimiting evolutionarily significant units (ESUs), and identifying the dominant evolutionary and ecological drivers are critical components of successful wildlife conservation and management strategies. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were applied to characterize the phylogeography pattern of a cold water species, the Japanese sand lance Ammodytes personatus, in warm and cold ocean currents. A total of 211 individuals sampled from 12 populations through the species’ range, including samples from Kuroshio Current, Oyashio Current, Tsushima Current, and Yellow Sea, were analyzed. The Bayesian assignment probability test and Neighbor joining (NJ) analysis divided these populations into two genetically and geographically distinct clades (northern and southern clades) characterized by different sea surface temperatures. The incongruence between nuclear clades and previous mitochondrial lineages suggested that A. personatus is indeed composed of at least two genetically divergent cryptic species. Pleistocene glaciation isolation after secondary contact, local thermal adaptation, and isolation by distance may explain the observed geographic pattern of two cryptic species and genetic structure within clades. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Apelin System in Mammary Gland of Sheep Reared in Semi-Natural Pastures of the Central Apennines
Animals 2018, 8(12), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120223
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
Sheep are the most bred species in the Central Italy Apennine using the natural pastures as a trophic resource and grazing activity is fundamental to maintain the grassland biodiversity: this goal can be reached only ensuring an economical sustainability to the farmers. This
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Sheep are the most bred species in the Central Italy Apennine using the natural pastures as a trophic resource and grazing activity is fundamental to maintain the grassland biodiversity: this goal can be reached only ensuring an economical sustainability to the farmers. This study aimed to investigate the apelin/apelin receptor system in ovine mammary gland and to evaluate the differences induced by food supplementation, in order to shed light on this system function. A flock of 15 Comisana x Appenninica adult dry ewes were free to graze from June until pasture maximum flowering (MxF). From this period to pasture maximum dryness (MxD), in addition to grazing, the experimental group (Exp) was supplemented with 600 g/day/head of cereals. Apelin and apelin receptor were assessed by Real-Time PCR and immunohistochemistry on the mammary glands of subjects pertaining to MxF, MxD and Exp groups. They were detected in alveolar and ductal epithelial cells. The pasture maximum flowering group showed significant differences in apelin expression compared with experimental and MxD groups. Apelin receptor expression significantly differed among the three groups. The reduced apelin receptor expression and immunoreactivity levels during parenchyma involution enables us to hypothesize that apelin receptor plays a modulating role in the system control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Who’s a Good Handler? Important Skills and Personality Profiles of Wildlife Detection Dog Handlers
Animals 2018, 8(12), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120222
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Wildlife detection dog teams are employed internationally for environmental surveys, and their success often depends on the dog handler. Minimal research is available on the skills that dog handlers believe are important, and no research has been published on the personality profiles of
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Wildlife detection dog teams are employed internationally for environmental surveys, and their success often depends on the dog handler. Minimal research is available on the skills that dog handlers believe are important, and no research has been published on the personality profiles of wildlife detection dog handlers. This may reveal the skills that people should acquire to be successful at, or suitable for, this work. An online questionnaire was distributed to Australian and New Zealand wildlife detection dog handlers. This questionnaire provided a list of skills to be rated based on importance, and a personality assessment measured their five main personality domains (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). A total of 35 questionnaires were collected, which represented over half of the estimated Australian wildlife detection dog handler population. The handlers had on average 7.2 years of dog handling experience, and 54% were female. More than half (57%) of the handlers stated that they were very emotionally attached to their dogs; however, 9% stated they were either not attached or mildly attached to their working dogs. The skill that was rated highest for importance was ‘ability to read dog body language’, and the lowest was ‘skilled in report writing’. On average, the handlers scored high in the Agreeableness domain, low in the Neuroticism domain, and average in the Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Openness domains. However, all of the personality scores had large ranges. Therefore, a dog handler’s personality may not be as influential on their success as their training or their dog–handler bond. Further research would be beneficial regarding the direct impact that the dog–handler bond and the handler’s knowledge have on working team outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessCommunication Track Surfaces Used for Ridden Workouts and Alternatives to Ridden Exercise for Thoroughbred Horses in Race Training
Animals 2018, 8(12), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120221
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
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Abstract
Little is known about the types of surfaces used during training of Thoroughbred racehorses or methods of exercise used in addition to ridden track-work. Our aims were to (1) describe the types of surfaces used in the training of Thoroughbred racehorses and to
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Little is known about the types of surfaces used during training of Thoroughbred racehorses or methods of exercise used in addition to ridden track-work. Our aims were to (1) describe the types of surfaces used in the training of Thoroughbred racehorses and to (2) identify alternative approaches used to exercise horses in addition to, or in place of, ridden overground track-work. Information regarding surface and alternative exercise methods was collected as part of an in-person survey of training practices of 66 registered Thoroughbred trainers in Victoria, Australia. Sand and synthetic surfaces were used by 97% and 36% of trainers respectively for slow-workouts, with galloping on turf training tracks used in training regimens by 82% and synthetic by 58% of trainers. Of those trainers utilising turf tracks, only 34% of gallop training was completed on turf despite turf being the predominant racing surface. Almost 90% of trainers used alternatives to ridden exercise. There is substantial variation in training surface used and alternative types of exercise undertaken by Victorian trainers. Future research should focus on how such practices relate to injury risk, particularly as it relates to the importance of musculoskeletal adaptation to specific race-day surfaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle Animal Ethical Views and Perception of Animal Pain in Veterinary Students
Animals 2018, 8(12), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120220
Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum. We used the Animal Ethics Dilemma to study animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and also asked them to score the level of pain perception in 13 different species. Based on the 218
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Veterinary students face several ethical challenges during their curriculum. We used the Animal Ethics Dilemma to study animal ethical views of Finnish veterinary students, and also asked them to score the level of pain perception in 13 different species. Based on the 218 respondents, the utilitarian view was the dominating ethical view. Mammals were given higher pain scores than other animals. The proportion of the respect for nature view correlated negatively, and that of the animal rights view positively, with most animal pain scores. Fifth year students had a higher percentage of contractarian views, as compared to 1st and 3rd year students, but this might have been confounded by their age. Several pain perception scores increased with increasing study years. We conclude that the utilitarian view was clearly dominating, and that ethical views differed only slightly between students at different stages of their studies. Higher pain perception scores in students at a later stage of their studies might reflect an increased knowledge of animal capacities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evidence for Right-Sided Horses Being More Optimistic than Left-Sided Horses
Animals 2018, 8(12), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120219
Received: 28 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
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Abstract
An individual’s positive or negative perspective when judging an ambiguous stimulus (cognitive bias) can be helpful when assessing animal welfare. Emotionality, as expressed in approach or withdrawal behaviour, is linked to brain asymmetry. The predisposition to process information in the left or right
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An individual’s positive or negative perspective when judging an ambiguous stimulus (cognitive bias) can be helpful when assessing animal welfare. Emotionality, as expressed in approach or withdrawal behaviour, is linked to brain asymmetry. The predisposition to process information in the left or right brain hemisphere is displayed in motor laterality. The quality of the information being processed is indicated by the sensory laterality. Consequently, it would be quicker and more repeatable to use motor or sensory laterality to evaluate cognitive bias than to perform the conventional judgment bias test. Therefore, the relationship between cognitive bias and motor or sensory laterality was tested. The horses (n = 17) were trained in a discrimination task involving a box that was placed in either a “positive” or “negative” location. To test for cognitive bias, the box was then placed in the middle, between the trained positive and negative location, in an ambiguous location, and the latency to approach the box was evaluated. Results indicated that horses that were more likely to use the right forelimb when moving off from a standing position were more likely to approach the ambiguous box with a shorter latency (generalized linear mixed model, p < 0.01), and therefore displayed a positive cognitive bias (optimistic). Full article
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