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Animals, Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Dogs have a vast and flexible repertoire of visual, acoustic, olfactory, and tactile signals that [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Toxicity and Pharmacokinetic Studies of Lidocaine and Its Active Metabolite, Monoethylglycinexylidide, in Goat Kids
Animals 2018, 8(8), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080142
Received: 17 June 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
This study determined the convulsant plasma concentrations and pharmacokinetic parameters following cornual nerve block and compared the results to recommend a safe dose of lidocaine hydrochloride for goat kids. The plasma concentrations of lidocaine and monoethylglycinexylidide (MGX) were quantified using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.
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This study determined the convulsant plasma concentrations and pharmacokinetic parameters following cornual nerve block and compared the results to recommend a safe dose of lidocaine hydrochloride for goat kids. The plasma concentrations of lidocaine and monoethylglycinexylidide (MGX) were quantified using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total dose of 7 mg/kg body weight (BW) was tolerated and should therefore be safe for local and regional anesthesia in goat kids. The mean plasma concentration and mean total dose that produced convulsions in goat kids were 13.59 ± 2.34 µg/mL and 12.31 ± 1.42 mg/kg BW (mean ± S.D.), respectively. The absorption of lidocaine following subcutaneous administration was rapid with Cmax and Tmax of 2.12 ± 0.81 µg/mL and 0.33 ± 0.11 h, respectively. The elimination half-lives (t½λz) of lidocaine hydrochloride and MGX were 1.71 ± 0.51 h and 3.19 ± 1.21 h, respectively. Injection of 1% lidocaine hydrochloride (0.5 mL/site) was safe and effective in blocking the nerves supplying horn buds in goat kids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication An Evaluation of Two Different Broiler Catching Methods
Animals 2018, 8(8), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080141
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
Catching is the first step in the pre-slaughter chain for broiler chickens. The process may be detrimental for animal welfare due to the associated handling. The aim of this pilot study was to compare two different methods to manually catch broilers: Catching the
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Catching is the first step in the pre-slaughter chain for broiler chickens. The process may be detrimental for animal welfare due to the associated handling. The aim of this pilot study was to compare two different methods to manually catch broilers: Catching the broilers by two legs and carrying them inverted (LEGS) or catching the broilers under the abdomen and carrying them in an upright position (UPRIGHT). Wing and leg fractures upon arrival at the abattoir, animal density in the drawers, birds on their back, broilers dead-on-arrival and time to fill the transport modules were investigated. The results showed that mean crating time was shorter in the UPRIGHT method (p = 0.007). There was a tendency for more wing fractures in broilers caught by the LEGS (p = 0.06). The animal density in the drawers was lower and with a smaller range in the UPRIGHT method (p = 0.022). The results indicate that catching the broilers under the abdomen in an upright position may improve broiler welfare in terms of fewer wing fractures, more consistent stocking density in drawers and potentially reduced loading time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Associations between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, Empathy towards Animals and Implicit Associations towards Animals
Animals 2018, 8(8), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080140
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 9 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
Oxytocin has been well researched in association with psychological variables and is widely accepted as a key modulator of human social behaviour. Previous work indicates involvement of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human-human empathy, however little is
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Oxytocin has been well researched in association with psychological variables and is widely accepted as a key modulator of human social behaviour. Previous work indicates involvement of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human-human empathy, however little is known about associations of OXTR SNPs with empathy and affective reactions of humans towards animals. Five OXTR SNPs previously found to associate with human social behaviour were genotyped in 161 students. Empathy towards animals and implicit associations were evaluated. A General Linear Model was used to investigate the OXTR alleles and allelic combinations along with socio-demographic variables and their influence on empathy towards animals. Empathy towards animals showed a significant association with OXTR SNP rs2254298; homozygous G individuals reported higher levels of empathy towards animals than heterozygous (GA). Our preliminary findings show, for the first time, that between allelic variation in OXTR and animal directed empathy in humans maybe associated, suggesting that OXTRs social behaviour role crosses species boundaries, warranting independent replication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Different Physical and Behavioural Characteristics of Zoo Mammals That Influence Their Response to Visitors
Animals 2018, 8(8), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080139
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
The factors underlying the ‘zoo visit effect’ (changes in animal behaviour/physiology in response to visitor presence) are still poorly understood, despite it being widely investigated. The present study examined the effect of zoo visitors on the behaviour of 17 different species of mammals
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The factors underlying the ‘zoo visit effect’ (changes in animal behaviour/physiology in response to visitor presence) are still poorly understood, despite it being widely investigated. The present study examined the effect of zoo visitors on the behaviour of 17 different species of mammals at the Belo Horizonte Zoo, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The behaviour of the animals was recorded using scan (focal in one case) sampling with instantaneous recording of behaviour, during 12 continuous months. Data were analysed using a comparative method examining five different factors: diet, body weight, stratum occupied, activity cycle, and habitat, as well as three different visitor categories: small and quiet audience, medium size audience and medium noise, and large size and loud audience. Significant changes in the behaviour for each factor, especially increases in locomotor and resting behaviour, were observed in response to different visitor categories. The factors that most explained responses to visitor categories were habitat and activity cycle. Species from closed habitats compared to open habitats were significantly more impacted (more behaviour affected), probably, because they are, evolutionarily, less accustomed to visual contact with people. Diurnal species showed more behavioural changes than nocturnal ones, possibly, because they were being observed during their normal activity cycle. These results may help zoos identify which mammal species are most susceptible to the zoo visitor effect, and consequently, be more pro-active in the use of mitigating strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Vocalization Patterns in Piglets Which Were Crushed to Those Which Underwent Human Restraint
Animals 2018, 8(8), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080138
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
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Abstract
Though many studies focused on piglet crushing utilizing piglet vocalizations to test sow response, none have verified the properties of test vocalizations against actual crushing events. Ten sows were observed 48 h after parturition, and crushing events were recorded from all sows. When
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Though many studies focused on piglet crushing utilizing piglet vocalizations to test sow response, none have verified the properties of test vocalizations against actual crushing events. Ten sows were observed 48 h after parturition, and crushing events were recorded from all sows. When a crushing event occurred, a second piglet within the same litter was used to solicit a vocalization through manual restraint to compare restrained piglets’ call properties to those of crushed piglets’. A total of 659 Restrained calls and 631 Crushed calls were collected. Variables were gathered at the loudest point in a call, and as an average across the entire call. Crushed piglets had a lower fundamental frequency (p < 0.01; Crushed: 523.57 ± 210.6 Hz; Restrained: 1214.86 ± 203.2 Hz) and narrower bandwidth (p < 0.01; Crushed: 4897.01 ± 587.3 Hz; Restrained: 6674.99 ± 574.0 Hz) when analyzed at the loudest portion of a call. Overall, piglets which were crushed had a lower mean peak frequency than those which were restrained (p = 0.01; 1497.08 ± 239.4 Hz and 2566.12 ± 235.0 Hz, respectively). Future research should focus on measuring sow reactivity to Crushed and Restrained piglets to continue to improve research practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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Open AccessCommunication Branding Practices on Four Dairies in Kantale, Sri Lanka
Animals 2018, 8(8), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080137
Received: 12 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Hot-iron branding is illegal in Sri Lanka, but is still commonly used to identify dairy herds in extensive farming systems, which are primarily located in the country’s Dry Zone. Despite the negative welfare implications of this practice, there is no written documentation of
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Hot-iron branding is illegal in Sri Lanka, but is still commonly used to identify dairy herds in extensive farming systems, which are primarily located in the country’s Dry Zone. Despite the negative welfare implications of this practice, there is no written documentation of branding in this region. We observed branding on four smallholder farms in Kantale, Eastern Province to understand the welfare implications associated with the procedure and challenges limiting the uptake of more welfare-friendly alternatives, such as ear tagging. Areas of welfare concern included the duration of restraint, the size and location of the brand, and the absence of pain relief. Animals were restrained with rope for an average duration of 12 min (range 8–17 min). Farmers used multiple running irons to mark their initials and, in some cases, their address, with the largest brands extending across the ribs and hip. Three farmers applied coconut or neem oil topically to the brand after performing the procedure. No analgesics were given before or after branding. Farmers reported that poor ear tag retention in extensive systems and theft were the main factors impeding the uptake of alternative forms of identification. Branding is also practiced as part of traditional medicine in some cases. Given the clear evidence that hot-iron branding impairs animal welfare and there is no evidence that this can be improved, alternative identification methods are needed, both in Sri Lanka, as well as in other countries engaging in this practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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Open AccessReview Affect-Driven Attention Biases as Animal Welfare Indicators: Review and Methods
Animals 2018, 8(8), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080136
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Attention bias describes the differential allocation of attention towards one stimulus compared to others. In humans, this bias can be mediated by the observer’s affective state and is implicated in the onset and maintenance of affective disorders such as anxiety. Affect-driven attention biases
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Attention bias describes the differential allocation of attention towards one stimulus compared to others. In humans, this bias can be mediated by the observer’s affective state and is implicated in the onset and maintenance of affective disorders such as anxiety. Affect-driven attention biases (ADABs) have also been identified in a few other species. Here, we review the literature on ADABs in animals and discuss their utility as welfare indicators. Despite a limited research effort, several studies have found that negative affective states modulate attention to negative (i.e., threatening) cues. ADABs influenced by positive-valence states have also been documented in animals. We discuss methods for measuring ADAB and conclude that looking time, dot-probe, and emotional spatial cueing paradigms are particularly promising. Research is needed to test them with a wider range of species, investigate attentional scope as an indicator of affect, and explore the possible causative role of attention biases in determining animal wellbeing. Finally, we argue that ADABs might not be best-utilized as indicators of general valence, but instead to reveal specific emotions, motivations, aversions, and preferences. Paying attention to the human literature could facilitate these advances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Emotion)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Spontaneous Learning of Visual Structures in Domestic Chicks
Animals 2018, 8(8), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080135
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Effective communication crucially depends on the ability to produce and recognize structured signals, as apparent in language and birdsong. Although it is not clear to what extent similar syntactic-like abilities can be identified in other animals, recently we reported that domestic chicks can
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Effective communication crucially depends on the ability to produce and recognize structured signals, as apparent in language and birdsong. Although it is not clear to what extent similar syntactic-like abilities can be identified in other animals, recently we reported that domestic chicks can learn abstract visual patterns and the statistical structure defined by a temporal sequence of visual shapes. However, little is known about chicks’ ability to process spatial/positional information from visual configurations. Here, we used filial imprinting as an unsupervised learning mechanism to study spontaneous encoding of the structure of a configuration of different shapes. After being exposed to a triplet of shapes (ABC or CAB), chicks could discriminate those triplets from a permutation of the same shapes in different order (CAB or ABC), revealing a sensitivity to the spatial arrangement of the elements. When tested with a fragment taken from the imprinting triplet that followed the familiar adjacency-relationships (AB or BC) vs. one in which the shapes maintained their position with respect to the stimulus edges (AC), chicks revealed a preference for the configuration with familiar edge elements, showing an edge bias previously found only with temporal sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Open AccessArticle Risk Factors for Transport-Related Problem Behaviors in Horses: A New Zealand Survey
Animals 2018, 8(8), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080134
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 29 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Transport-related problem behaviors (TRPBs) are common in horses and can cause injury to both the horses and their handlers. This study aimed to identify possible risk factors for TRPBs to inform approaches to mitigate TRPBs incidence and enhance horse welfare. An online cross-sectional
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Transport-related problem behaviors (TRPBs) are common in horses and can cause injury to both the horses and their handlers. This study aimed to identify possible risk factors for TRPBs to inform approaches to mitigate TRPBs incidence and enhance horse welfare. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted to explore the prevalence of TRPBs and their association with human-, training- and transport management-related factors in New Zealand. The survey generated 1124 valid responses that were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and logistic regression analyses. Having at least one horse with TRPB was reported by 249/1124 (22.2%) respondents during the two previous years. Of these, 21/249 (8.4%) occurred during pre-loading, 78/249 (31.3%) during loading, 132/249 (53.0%) while travelling, and 18/249 (7.3%) during unloading. Our findings indicate that the use of negative reinforcement and positive punishment as training methods, using a whip or food for loading, and travelling in a straight load trailer/float while offering food were associated with a higher likelihood of TRPBs. Cross-sectional studies cannot determine causality and findings should be interpreted with caution, and evaluated in further experimental studies. The authors suggest that education on appropriate training methods for transport, and vehicle selection may mitigate the risk for TRPBs in horses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Associations of Blood Analysis with Feed Efficiency and Developmental Stage in Grass-Fed Beef Heifers
Animals 2018, 8(8), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080133
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Proxies for feed efficiency, such as blood-based indicators, applicable across heifers varying in genetic makeup and developmental state are needed. Assessments of blood analytes and performance were made in heifer calves and pregnant heifers. Residual feed intake, a measure of feed efficiency, was
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Proxies for feed efficiency, such as blood-based indicators, applicable across heifers varying in genetic makeup and developmental state are needed. Assessments of blood analytes and performance were made in heifer calves and pregnant heifers. Residual feed intake, a measure of feed efficiency, was used to categorize each population of heifers as either efficient or inefficient. Efficient heifer calves had lower mean cell hemoglobin, greater lymphocyte count, and fewer segmented neutrophils at the end of the test compared to inefficient calves. Efficient pregnant heifers had greater counts of lymphocytes with fewer segmented neutrophils at the end than inefficient pregnant heifers. Efficient heifer calves exhibited higher specific immunoglobulin M than inefficient calves. Throughout the test, efficient heifer calves had elevated potassium and phosphorus, and reduced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) compared to inefficient heifers. Efficient pregnant heifers showed greater ALP, non-esterified fatty acids and creatinine, but lower cholesterol and globulin than inefficient pregnant heifers. Levels of red and white blood cells, creatine kinase, cholesterol, glucose, potassium and phosphorus were higher in heifer calves compared with pregnant heifers. There is potential for blood analytes as proxies for feed efficiency; however, it is necessary to consider the inherent associations with feed efficiency and heifers’ developmental stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Social Interactions in Two Groups of Zoo-Housed Adult Female Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) that Differ in Relatedness
Animals 2018, 8(8), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080132
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Opportunities for positive social interaction are important in captive animals, and social interactions can be used as a welfare indicator. Wild elephants live in related multigenerational herds; however, in captivity they are often managed in less related groups, which could impact the quality
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Opportunities for positive social interaction are important in captive animals, and social interactions can be used as a welfare indicator. Wild elephants live in related multigenerational herds; however, in captivity they are often managed in less related groups, which could impact the quality of their social interactions, and thus their welfare. Here, we used a limited social network analysis to investigate the social interactions in two groups of four female captive Asian elephants, one of which contained individuals that were all related to one another, whilst the other was a mix of related and unrelated individuals. Data on pairwise social interactions was collected from eight days of video footage using an all-occurrence sampling technique. More affiliative, and fewer agonistic interactions were observed in the related elephant group. Additionally, non-contact displacement was observed at a higher frequency in the related elephant group, which we theorise represents an established functioning hierarchy, avoiding the need for overt aggression over resources. Although kinship is not likely to be the only factor affecting captive elephant social behaviour, these findings support the recommendation that for optimal welfare, elephants should be managed in multigenerational family herds. Evaluations of social interactions such as those conducted here would have wider applicability for aiding the management of any captive social species to identify when groups might be incompatible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessReview Communication in Dogs
Animals 2018, 8(8), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080131
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Dogs have a vast and flexible repertoire of visual, acoustic, and olfactory signals that allow an expressive and fine tuned conspecific and dog–human communication. Dogs use this behavioural repertoire when communicating with humans, employing the same signals used during conspecific interactions, some of
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Dogs have a vast and flexible repertoire of visual, acoustic, and olfactory signals that allow an expressive and fine tuned conspecific and dog–human communication. Dogs use this behavioural repertoire when communicating with humans, employing the same signals used during conspecific interactions, some of which can acquire and carry a different meaning when directed toward humans. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the latest progress made in the study of dog communication, describing the different nature of the signals used in conspecific (dog–dog) and heterospecific (dog–human) interactions and their communicative meaning. Finally, behavioural asymmetries that reflect lateralized neural patterns involved in both dog–dog and dog–human social communication are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Open AccessArticle An Animal Welfare Risk Assessment Process for Zoos
Animals 2018, 8(8), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080130
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 28 July 2018
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Abstract
There is a growing interest and need for zoos to develop and implement welfare assessment tools that are practical to use and provide meaningful results that can inform management decisions. This paper presents a process that was developed to support this type of
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There is a growing interest and need for zoos to develop and implement welfare assessment tools that are practical to use and provide meaningful results that can inform management decisions. This paper presents a process that was developed to support this type of evidence-based management in zoo animal welfare. The process is configured to facilitate institutional risk assessment, using an adapted version of the Five Domains Model for animal welfare assessment. It is designed to systematically analyse information gathered from zoo personnel in order to highlight areas of welfare risk, as well as areas that are performing well and areas requiring further investigation. A trial was conducted on three zoos over three years. Results of the trial suggest the process developed is practical and effective in identifying areas of welfare risk in a wide range of species in a zoo setting. It represents a further step towards achieving high-level animal welfare in zoos by integrating animal welfare as an institutional priority. The more zoos that employ such strategies, the greater the ability of the sector to advance the welfare of the animals in their care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoo Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessReview Spotlight on Assistance Dogs—Legislation, Welfare and Research
Animals 2018, 8(8), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080129
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 22 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 26 July 2018
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Abstract
Assistance dogs are a very diverse group of working dogs that are trained to assist humans with different types of disabilities in their daily lives. Despite these dogs’ value for humankind, research on their welfare status, cognitive and behavioural capacities, selection criteria for
[...] Read more.
Assistance dogs are a very diverse group of working dogs that are trained to assist humans with different types of disabilities in their daily lives. Despite these dogs’ value for humankind, research on their welfare status, cognitive and behavioural capacities, selection criteria for the best fitting individuals, effective training and management practices, and genetic issues are so far lacking. This review highlights the need to address these topics and to promote progress in legal issues around assistance dogs. The topic of assistance dogs is approached comprehensively by outlining the current status of knowledge in three different dimensions: (1) the legal dimension, outlining important legal issues in the EU and Australia; (2) the welfare dimension; and (3) the dimension of research, covering assistance dog selection and training. For each of these three dimensions, we discuss potential approaches that can be implemented in the future in order to support assistance dog working performance, to protect the dogs’ welfare, and to improve our knowledge about them. Additionally, there remain many legal issues, such as the presence of assistance dogs in public areas, the resolution of which would benefit both the assistance dog and the owner with disability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessArticle Are They Buying It? United States Consumers’ Changing Attitudes toward More Humanely Raised Meat, Eggs, and Dairy
Animals 2018, 8(8), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080128
Received: 1 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
This survey research sampled 1000 US (United States) consumers of meat, eggs, and dairy on their attitudes towards the welfare of farm animals and the willingness to pay for products with trustworthy welfare certifications. Most respondents (70%) reported paying attention to labels that
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This survey research sampled 1000 US (United States) consumers of meat, eggs, and dairy on their attitudes towards the welfare of farm animals and the willingness to pay for products with trustworthy welfare certifications. Most respondents (70%) reported paying attention to labels that indicate how the animals were raised and 78% believed there should be an objective third party to ensure farm animal welfare. The weighted average of the marginal willingness to pay for products raised under a trustworthy welfare certification was $0.79 for eggs (a 32% premium) and $0.96 for 1 lb. of chicken breast (a 48% premium). In addition, 57% of respondents reported they would be likely to choose a restaurant because it serves welfare-certified animal products and are also willing to pay ≥$5.00 extra per entrée. These findings suggest that many US consumers, particularly millennials, would be willing to seek out higher welfare products if they trust the label claims. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
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