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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds has soared, despite studies documenting [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Micro-Environment during Poultry Transportation in South Central United States
Animals 2019, 9(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010031
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
This observational study was conducted to characterize the thermal micro- climate that broilers experienced in commercial poultry transporters under various weather conditions and typical management practices in the South Central USA. We continuously monitored temperature and relative humidity in 45 interior locations of [...] Read more.
This observational study was conducted to characterize the thermal micro- climate that broilers experienced in commercial poultry transporters under various weather conditions and typical management practices in the South Central USA. We continuously monitored temperature and relative humidity in 45 interior locations of 28 fully-loaded commercial trailers over 2 year spans from 2015–2016 in South Central USA. In the cold season, double boarding of the exterior area of the transport modules maintained temperatures at least 8 °C warmer than ambient temperatures as low as −16 °C. Overall, temperature at all locations decreased as transporters traveled from farms to processing plants during winter trips with double boards. In the hot season, assistance by evaporative cooling during on-farm loading resulted in interior temperatures within ± 2 °C of ambient conditions (up to 36 °C) during road transport. In the summer months, trailers uniformly gained 2 °C as vehicles travelled for 45 min from farms to plants. Apparent equivalent temperatures of the monitored summer trips averaged 80.5 °C, indicating possible heat stress conditions based on the thermal comfort zones defined by literature index values. For longer trips, cooling assistance on the farms may be insufficient to prevent temperatures from rising further into extremely hot conditions in the transporters, leading to a dangerous thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Virtual Fencing Stimuli on Stress Responses and Behavior in Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010030
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
To understand the animal welfare impact of virtual fencing stimuli (audio cue ‘beep’ and electrical stimulus) on naïve sheep, it is necessary to assess stress responses during the animal’s first encounters with these stimuli. Eighty Merino ewes were exposed to one of the [...] Read more.
To understand the animal welfare impact of virtual fencing stimuli (audio cue ‘beep’ and electrical stimulus) on naïve sheep, it is necessary to assess stress responses during the animal’s first encounters with these stimuli. Eighty Merino ewes were exposed to one of the following treatments (n = 16 animals per treatment): Control (no stimuli), beep, dog bark, manual restraint, and electrical stimulus. Collars were used to apply the audio and electrical stimuli. The restraint treatment showed an elevated cortisol response compared with the control (p < 0.05), but there were no differences between the other treatments and the control. There were no differences between treatments in vaginal temperature (p > 0.05). For behaviors, the sheep receiving the bark and beep treatments were more vigilant compared to the control (p < 0.05), there were more aversive responses observed in the electrical stimulus treatment compared to the control. Together, the responses showed that the beep stimuli were largely benign, the bark stimuli was minimally aversive, the electrical stimuli was acutely aversive, and the restraint was moderately aversive. These data suggest that, for sheep, their first exposure to the virtual fencing stimuli should be perceived as less aversive than a commonly used restraint procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Tea Saponin Supplementation on Nutrient Digestibility, Methanogenesis, and Ruminal Microbial Flora in Dorper Crossbred Ewe
Animals 2019, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010029
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
Two experiments were conducted using Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred ewes. In experiment 1, eighteen ewes were randomly assigned to two dietary treatments (a basal diet, or the same basal diet supplemented with 2.0 g tea saponin (TS)/head/day) to investigate the effects of [...] Read more.
Two experiments were conducted using Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred ewes. In experiment 1, eighteen ewes were randomly assigned to two dietary treatments (a basal diet, or the same basal diet supplemented with 2.0 g tea saponin (TS)/head/day) to investigate the effects of TS supplementation on nutrient digestibility and methane emissions. In experiment 2, six ewes with ruminal cannulae were assigned to the same two dietary treatments as in experiment 1 to investigate the effects of TS supplementation on rumen fermentation and microbial flora. TS supplementation increased the apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM) (p = 0.001), nitrogen (N) (p = 0.036), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) (p = 0.001), and acid detergent fibre (ADF) (p < 0.001). Urinary N (p = 0.001) and fecal N (p = 0.036) output were reduced, and N retention (p = 0.001) and nitrogen retention/nitrogen intake (p = 0.001) were increased. Supplementary TS did not decrease absolute methane emissions (p = 0.519) but decreased methane emissions scaled to metabolic bodyweight by 8.80% (p = 0.006). Ammonia levels decreased (p < 0.001) and total volatile fatty acid levels increased (p = 0.018) in response to TS supplementation. The molar proportion of propionate increased (p = 0.007), whereas the acetate:propionate ratio decreased (p = 0.035). Supplementation with TS increased the population of Fibrobacter succinogenes (p = 0.019), but the population of protozoans tended to decrease (p = 0.054). Supplementation with TS effectively enhanced the apparent digestibility of OM, N, NDF, and ADF, and decreased methane emissions scaled to metabolic bodyweight. Full article
Open AccessArticle Integrating 16S rRNA Sequencing and LC–MS-Based Metabolomics to Evaluate the Effects of Live Yeast on Rumen Function in Beef Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010028
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
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Abstract
We evaluated the effects of live yeast on ruminal bacterial diversity and metabolome of beef steer. Eight rumen-cannulated Holstein steers were assigned randomly to one of two treatment sequences in a study with two 25-d experimental periods and a crossover design. The steers [...] Read more.
We evaluated the effects of live yeast on ruminal bacterial diversity and metabolome of beef steer. Eight rumen-cannulated Holstein steers were assigned randomly to one of two treatment sequences in a study with two 25-d experimental periods and a crossover design. The steers were housed in individual pens. The dietary treatments were control (CON) or yeast (YEA; CON plus 15 g/d of live yeast product). Bacterial diversity was examined by sequencing the V3-V4 region of 16S rRNA gene. The metabolome analysis was performed using a liquid chromatograph and a mass spectrometry system (LC–MS). Live yeast supplementation increased the relative abundance of eight cellulolytic bacterial genera as well as Anaerovorax and Lachnospiraceae. Proteiniclasticum, Salmonella, and Lactococcus were not detected in the YEA treatment. Live yeast supplementation increased the concentrations of 4-cyclohexanedione and glucopyranoside and decreased the concentrations of threonic acid, xanthosine, deoxycholic acid, lauroylcarnitine, methoxybenzoic acid, and pentadecylbenzoic acid. The bacteroidales BS11, Christensenellaceae R-7, and Candidatus saccharimonas showed positive correlations with the metabolites involved in amino acid biosynthesis and the metabolism of energy substrates; the functions of these bacteria are not fully understood in relation to the mode of action of yeast. This study confirms the usefulness of LC–MS-based metabolomics in deciphering the mode of action of live yeast in the rumen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessReview A Review of Welfare Assessment Methods in Reptiles, and Preliminary Application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the Pygmy Blue-Tongue Skink, Tiliqua adelaidensis, Using Animal-Based Measures
Animals 2019, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010027
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
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Abstract
Reptiles are held at wildlife parks and zoos for display and conservation breeding programs and are increasingly being kept as pets. Reliable indicators of welfare for reptiles need to be identified. Current guidelines for the captive management of reptiles utilize resource-based, rather than [...] Read more.
Reptiles are held at wildlife parks and zoos for display and conservation breeding programs and are increasingly being kept as pets. Reliable indicators of welfare for reptiles need to be identified. Current guidelines for the captive management of reptiles utilize resource-based, rather than animal-based indicators; the latter being a more direct reflection of affective state. In this paper we review the literature on welfare assessment methods in reptiles with a focus on animal-based measures. We conclude that, whilst a number of physiological and behavioral indicators of welfare have been applied in reptiles, there is need for further validation of these methods across the diversity of species within the Class. Methods of positive welfare state assessment are comparatively understudied and need elucidation. Finally, we examine some widely-used welfare assessment tools in mammals and explore the application of the Welfare Quality® Protocol to the endangered pygmy blue-tongue skink, Tiliqua adelaidensis. We propose that this framework can form the basis for the development of taxon-specific tools with consideration of species-specific biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2018
Animals 2019, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010026
Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessReview Role of Maternal Dietary Protein and Amino Acids on Fetal Programming, Early Neonatal Development, and Lactation in Swine
Animals 2019, 9(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010019
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
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Abstract
Maternal nutrition plays a vital role in fetal development, early development of neonates, and lactation and regulates the lifetime productivity of offspring. During pregnancy, maternal nutrition alters expression of the fetal genome and the development of tissues and organs via fetal programming. After [...] Read more.
Maternal nutrition plays a vital role in fetal development, early development of neonates, and lactation and regulates the lifetime productivity of offspring. During pregnancy, maternal nutrition alters expression of the fetal genome and the development of tissues and organs via fetal programming. After parturition, maternal nutrition continues to regulate growth and development of piglets through maternal milk, which contains carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and oligosaccharides. Thus, deficiencies in maternal nutrition are detrimental to development of piglets, which can lead to inefficient growth and decreased carcass merit. Protein is an important nutritional component for sows, which not only functions in muscle development, but also plays a vital role in embryonic and neonatal development and lactation. Although effects of maternal undernutrition on neonatal development have been widely studied in sows, the function of different maternal dietary protein levels on fetal development, neonatal growth and lactation performance of sows is largely unknown. Determination of the effects and underlying mechanisms of maternal dietary protein levels on development of piglets is vital to the pork industry. Therefore, we summarized recent reports regarding mechanisms of effects of maternal protein levels on regulation of conceptus growth and early postnatal development though uterine fetal programming and lactation in swine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of In Ovo Methionine-Cysteine Injection on Embryonic Development, Antioxidant Status, IGF-I and TLR4 Gene Expression, and Jejunum Histomorphometry in Newly Hatched Broiler Chicks Exposed to Heat Stress during Incubation
Animals 2019, 9(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010025
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
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Abstract
Sulfur amino acids are typically the first-limiting amino acids (AA) used in protein metabolism in poultry. Therefore, we hypothesized that their utilization in the pre-hatch period would affect embryonic development, IGF-I and TLR4 gene expression, antioxidant status, serum biochemical profile, and jejunum histomorphometry [...] Read more.
Sulfur amino acids are typically the first-limiting amino acids (AA) used in protein metabolism in poultry. Therefore, we hypothesized that their utilization in the pre-hatch period would affect embryonic development, IGF-I and TLR4 gene expression, antioxidant status, serum biochemical profile, and jejunum histomorphometry of newly hatched Ross broiler chicks incubated under heat stress conditions. A total of 150 fertile broiler eggs were subjected to heat stress (39.6 °C for 6 h/d) from d10 until d18 and injected at d 17.5 of incubation with methionine and cysteine (Met-Cys) at a dose of 5.90 mg l-methionine plus 3.40 mg l-cysteine. The effects of Met-Cys administration were examined and compared with the control (Non-injected group) and 0.75% NaCl injected group. The results showed that no significant differences among all groups in serum protein profiles (total protein, albumin, globulin, and albumin/globulin ratio) and creatine kinase were observed. The level of heat shock protein-90 was decreased with Met-Cys In ovo injection. The In ovo injection of Met-Cys also improved the values of total antioxidants capacity and glutathione in examined tissues. At the same time, an increase in fold change mRNA abundance of IGF-I and TLR4 was observed after Met-Cys injection in tested tissues. Finally, an increase of 29% in villus area was found after Met-Cys injection compared to the control group. In conclusion, the In ovo injection of Met-Cys resulted in improved embryonic development, IGF-I and TLR4 gene expression, antioxidant status and jejunum histomorphometry of newly hatched broiler chicks exposed to heat stress during incubation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle HENNOVATION: Learnings from Promoting Practice-Led Multi-Actor Innovation Networks to Address Complex Animal Welfare Challenges within the Laying Hen Industry
Animals 2019, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010024
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
The Hennovation project, an EU H2020 funded thematic network, aimed to explore the potential value of practice-led multi-actor innovation networks within the laying hen industry. The project proposed that husbandry solutions can be practice-led and effectively supported to achieve durable gains in sustainability [...] Read more.
The Hennovation project, an EU H2020 funded thematic network, aimed to explore the potential value of practice-led multi-actor innovation networks within the laying hen industry. The project proposed that husbandry solutions can be practice-led and effectively supported to achieve durable gains in sustainability and animal welfare. It encouraged a move away from the traditional model of science providing solutions for practice, towards a collaborative approach where expertise from science and practice were equally valued. During the 32-month project, the team facilitated 19 multi-actor networks in five countries through six critical steps in the innovation process: problem identification, generation of ideas, planning, small scale trials, implementation and sharing with others. The networks included farmers, processors, veterinarians, technical advisors, market representatives and scientists. The interaction between the farmers and the other network actors, including scientists, was essential for farmer innovation. New relationships emerged between the scientists and farmers, based on experimental learning and the co-production of knowledge for improving laying hen welfare. The project demonstrated that a practice-led approach can be a major stimulus for innovation with several networks generating novel ideas and testing them in their commercial context. The Hennovation innovation networks not only contributed to bridging the science-practice gap by application of existing scientific solutions in practice but more so by jointly finding new solutions. Successful multi-actor, practice-led innovation networks appeared to depend upon the following key factors: active participation from relevant actors, professional facilitation, moderate resource support and access to relevant expertise. Farmers and processors involved in the project were often very enthusiastic about the approach, committing significant time to the network’s activities. It is suggested that the agricultural research community and funding agencies should place greater value on practice-led multi-actor innovation networks alongside technology and advisor focused initiatives to improve animal welfare and embed best practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Feeding Strategies Before and at Mixing: The Effect on Sow Aggression and Behavior
Animals 2019, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010023
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Hierarchy formation in domestic sows results in aggression and stress, which might be ameliorated through nutritional satiety. The effect on aggression in group housed, gestating sows provided a standard or high volume of a “standard” diet, or diet enhanced with lignocellulose before, at, [...] Read more.
Hierarchy formation in domestic sows results in aggression and stress, which might be ameliorated through nutritional satiety. The effect on aggression in group housed, gestating sows provided a standard or high volume of a “standard” diet, or diet enhanced with lignocellulose before, at, and after mixing was studied. Ninety-six Large White cross Landrace weaned sows were allocated to: control diet (CON), high volume diet (HI), and lignocellulose-enhanced diet before and at mixing (LC), and after mixing (LCM) (24 sows per treatment). Sows were housed in stalls for 10 days before mixing, when the CON, HI, and LCM groups were fed a standard diet, and in the LC group, a diet enhanced with lignocellulose at 2.5% was given. At mixing, the CON group continued on a standard diet at 2.5 kg/sow per day, HI were fed the standard diet at 4 kg/sow per day for the first four days and 2.5 kg/sow per day thereafter, and LC and LCM were fed the lignocellulose-enhanced diet at 2.5 kg/sow per day. Behavior, salivary cortisol concentrations, lesion number, and condition were recorded on M0, M1, M6, and M14. Reproduction was assessed using pregnancy rate and progesterone measurements. There were several treatment effects on aggression in the sows following mixing. There were significantly lower fight numbers (CON = 0.34 ± 0.03 Log (1 + x) transformed mean and SEM (1.49 untransformed adjusted mean), LC = 0.31 ± 0.04 (1.14), LCM = 0.42 ± 0.04 (0.28), HI = 0.35 ± 0.04 (1.64); p = 0.001) and longer individual fight durations in the LCM group compared to the CON and LC group (CON = 0.88 s ± 0.07 Log transformed mean and SEM (10.31 s, untransformed adjusted mean), LC = 0.89 ± 0.09 (13.51), LCM = 1.16 ± 0.07 (21.43), HI = 01.03 ± 0.07 (16.42); p = 0.04), and overall higher injury numbers in the LC and LCM groups than the HI. Time spent eating was significantly lower in the CON group than both HI and LC (CON = 7.79 ± 0.37, LC = 8.91 ± 0.38, LCM = 8.49 ± 0.42, HI = 9.55 ± 0.39; p = 0.007). The time spent drinking was also affected by treatment, with more time spent drinking in CON than LC (p = 0.024). The condition score of the sows was affected by diet, with higher condition scores in the HI group than LCM and LC (CON = 2.98 ± 0.11, LC = 2.75 ± 0.10, LCM = 2.74 ± 0.10, HI = 3.12 ± 0.10; p = 0.017). These results suggest that feeding a diet containing 2.5% lignocellulose and a standard diet at a high feeding level for four days post-mixing may affect overall aggression and possibly satiety levels. Our data found decreased fight numbers and increased fight duration in the LCM compared to the LC treatment, and therefore, feeding the fiber source before mixing affects aggression levels differently than when fed just after mixing. A further understanding of different fiber sources and how their physiochemical properties affect digestion and sow satiety would enable critical evaluation and use of fiber sources for benefits in reducing aggression at mixing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Farmer Perceptions of Pig Aggression Compared to Animal-Based Measures of Fight Outcome
Animals 2019, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010022
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
Several animal welfare issues persist in practice despite extensive research which has been linked to the unwillingness of stakeholders to make changes. For example, most farmers do not perceive pig aggression to be a problem that requires action despite the fact that stress [...] Read more.
Several animal welfare issues persist in practice despite extensive research which has been linked to the unwillingness of stakeholders to make changes. For example, most farmers do not perceive pig aggression to be a problem that requires action despite the fact that stress and injuries are common, and that several solutions exist. Frequent exposure to animal suffering could affect farmer responses to distressed animals. This study investigated for the first time whether this occurs, using pig aggression as a focus. Using video clips, 90 pig farmers judged the severity of aggression, level of pig exhaustion and the strength of their own emotional response. Their judgments were compared to objective measures of severity (pigs’ skin lesions and blood lactate), and against control groups with similar pig experience (10 pig veterinarians) and without experience (26 agricultural students; 24 animal science students). Famers did not show desensitization to aggression. However, all groups underestimated the outcome of aggression when they did not see the fight occurring as compared to witnessing a fight in progress. We suggest that farmers be provided with evidence of the economic and welfare impact of aggression as indicated by lesions and that they be advised to score lesions on affected animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Encapsulated Nitrate and Microencapsulated Blend of Essential Oils on Growth Performance and Methane Emissions from Beef Steers Fed Backgrounding Diets
Animals 2019, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010021
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 1 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
A long-term study (112 days) was conducted to examine the effect of feeding encapsulated nitrate (NO3), microencapsulated blend of essential oils (EO), and their combination on growth performance, feeding behavior, and enteric methane (CH4) emissions of beef cattle. [...] Read more.
A long-term study (112 days) was conducted to examine the effect of feeding encapsulated nitrate (NO3), microencapsulated blend of essential oils (EO), and their combination on growth performance, feeding behavior, and enteric methane (CH4) emissions of beef cattle. A total of 88 crossbred steers were purchased and assigned to one of four treatments: (i) control, backgrounding high-forage diet supplemented with urea (1.17% in dietary DM); (ii) encapsulated NO3 (EN), control diet supplemented with 2.5% encapsulated NO3 as a replacement for urea (1.785% NO3 in the dietary DM); (iii) microencapsulated blend of EO (MBEO), control diet supplemented with 150 mg/kg DM of microencapsulated blend of EO and pepper extract; and (iv) EN + MBEO, control diet supplemented with EN and MBEO. There was no interaction (p ≥ 0.080) between EN and MBEO on average dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), gain to feed ratio (G:F), feeding behavior, and CH4 emission (using GreenFeed system), implying independent effects of feeding EN and MBEO. Feeding MBEO increased CH4 production (165.0 versus 183.2 g/day; p = 0.005) and yield (18.9 versus 21.4 g/kg DMI; p = 0.0002) but had no effect (p ≥ 0.479) on average DMI, ADG, G:F, and feeding behavior. However, feeding EN had no effect on ADG and G:F (p ≥ 0.119) but reduced DMI (8.9 versus 8.4 kg/day; p = 0.003) and CH4 yield (21.5 versus 18.7 g/kg DMI; p < 0.001). Feeding EN slowed (p = 0.001) the feeding rate (g of DM/min) and increased (p = 0.002) meal frequency (events/day). Our results demonstrate that supplementing diets with a blend of EO did not lower CH4 emissions and there were no advantages of feeding MBEO with EN. Inclusion of EN as a replacement for urea reduced CH4 emissions but had no positive impact on animal performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dietary Verbascoside Influences Gut Morphology and the Expression of α-Transducin and α-Gustducin in the Small Intestine of Weaned Piglets Exposed to n-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids-Induced Oxidative Stress
Animals 2019, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010020
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 30 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
Reducing oxidative stress is an important goal in post-weaning piglets; previous studies have reported that verbascoside decreases oxidative stress in piglets. The effect of verbascoside on gut morphology and α-transducin and α-gustducin expression in weaned piglets fed high dosages of sunflower oil, inducing [...] Read more.
Reducing oxidative stress is an important goal in post-weaning piglets; previous studies have reported that verbascoside decreases oxidative stress in piglets. The effect of verbascoside on gut morphology and α-transducin and α-gustducin expression in weaned piglets fed high dosages of sunflower oil, inducing oxidative stress, was evaluated. A diet with 9% sunflower oil (T1), the same diet supplemented with 5 mg of verbascoside/kg feed (T2) and a diet containing starch (control—CTR) were employed. Histology, histometry, histochemistry, immunofluorescence and Western blot analyses were performed on the piglets’ small intestine. In the T1 group, apical erosion was observed and villi height was lower than in other groups. The mucin profile was acidic in goblet cells of both the T1 and T2 groups. However, it was both neutral and acidic in the CTR group. Dietary treatments did not affect α-gustducin expression. Otherwise, the expression of α-transducin in the duodenum was lower (p < 0.01) in the T1 groups than in the other groups. The colocalization of α-transducin with chromogranin A and ghrelin revealed that the endocrine cells were immunopositive for both ghrelin and α-transducin. Overall, these results provide new insights into gut sensory perception in piglets and contribute to understanding how feed ingredients such as fat and polyphenols may be involved in gustatory signal transduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessArticle Tail Posture as an Indicator of Tail Biting in Undocked Finishing Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010018
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 29 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Tail posture (i.e., hanging or curled) has been suggested to be an indicator of tail biting, and hanging tails predisposed to damage. The aim of this study was to investigate if tail posture was feasible as a tail damage indicator in a commercial [...] Read more.
Tail posture (i.e., hanging or curled) has been suggested to be an indicator of tail biting, and hanging tails predisposed to damage. The aim of this study was to investigate if tail posture was feasible as a tail damage indicator in a commercial setting. The study was carried out on one batch of 459 undocked finishing pigs (30–120 kg in weight). Weekly scoring of tail posture was combined with the scoring of tail lesions. Tail posture was observed at feeding to facilitate the usage of the method in commercial settings. A curly tail was observed in 94% of the observations. Pigs with tails scored with “wound” were 4.15 (p < 0.0001) times more likely to have hanging tails, and pigs scored with “inflamed wounds” were 14.24 (p < 0.0001) times more likely to have hanging tails, compared to pigs with nondamaged tails. Tail posture correctly classified tails with “wound” or “inflamed wound” 67.5% of the time, with 55.2% sensitivity and 79.7% specificity, respectively. The method of observing the tail position at feeding seems useful as a complement to normal inspection for detecting tail biting before tail wounds are visible to the caretaker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Enrichment of Pigs)
Open AccessArticle Auditory–Visual Matching of Conspecifics and Non-Conspecifics by Dogs and Human Infants
Animals 2019, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010017
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
We tested whether dogs and 14–16-month-old infants are able to integrate intersensory information when presented with conspecific and heterospecific faces and vocalisations. The looking behaviour of dogs and infants was recorded with a non-invasive eye-tracking technique while they were concurrently presented with a [...] Read more.
We tested whether dogs and 14–16-month-old infants are able to integrate intersensory information when presented with conspecific and heterospecific faces and vocalisations. The looking behaviour of dogs and infants was recorded with a non-invasive eye-tracking technique while they were concurrently presented with a dog and a female human portrait accompanied with acoustic stimuli of female human speech and a dog’s bark. Dogs showed evidence of both con- and heterospecific intermodal matching, while infants’ looking preferences indicated effective auditory–visual matching only when presented with the audio and visual stimuli of the non-conspecifics. The results of the present study provided further evidence that domestic dogs and human infants have similar socio-cognitive skills and highlighted the importance of comparative examinations on intermodal perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mutual Recognition of Emotions in the Human-Animal Relationship)
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Open AccessArticle Compassionate Conservation: Exploring the Lives of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Botswana
Animals 2019, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010016
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 30 December 2018 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract
This paper argues for a more compassionate conservation by positioning animals as subjects in research and scholarship. Compassionate conservation is a multidisciplinary field of study that broadly attends to the ethical dimensions of conservation by merging conservation biology and animal welfare science. However, [...] Read more.
This paper argues for a more compassionate conservation by positioning animals as subjects in research and scholarship. Compassionate conservation is a multidisciplinary field of study that broadly attends to the ethical dimensions of conservation by merging conservation biology and animal welfare science. However, animal geography is rarely discussed in the compassionate conservation scholarship despite sharing similar tenets. This paper argues that responsible anthropomorphism and animal geography concepts of animal subjectivity (lived experiences) and agency (capacity to act) positions African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) as subjects in conservation research and scholarship. It merges biological research, public communication, and interview and participant observation data to present wild dogs as thinking, feeling, self-conscious animals with agency, and whose welfare is negatively affected in human-dominated landscapes in Botswana. This paper argues for more attention to be paid to animal subjectivity and agency to foster more compassionate relations with wildlife. It argues that positioning animals as subjects in research and scholarship is an ethical starting point for moving compassionate conservation forward. This ‘enriched’ scholarly approach moves us closer to appreciating the lives of wildlife and the complexity of their circumstances and experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Variation in the Caprine KAP24-1 Gene Affects Cashmere Fibre Diameter
Animals 2019, 9(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010015
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
The keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are structural components of cashmere fibres. The gene encoding the high-sulphur (HS)-KAP24-1 (KRTAP24-1) has been identified in humans and sheep, but it has not been described in goats. In this study, we report the identification of caprine [...] Read more.
The keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are structural components of cashmere fibres. The gene encoding the high-sulphur (HS)-KAP24-1 (KRTAP24-1) has been identified in humans and sheep, but it has not been described in goats. In this study, we report the identification of caprine KRTAP24-1, describe variation in this gene, and investigate the effect of this variation on cashmere traits. A search for sequences orthologous to the ovine gene in the goat genome revealed a 774 bp open reading frame on chromosome 1, which could encode an HS-KAP. Based on this goat genome sequence and comparison with ovine KRTAP24-1 sequences, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers were designed to amplify an 856 bp fragment that would contain the entire coding region of the putative caprine KRTAP24-1. Use of this PCR amplification with subsequent single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of the amplicons identified four distinct patterns of DNA bands on gel electrophoresis, with these representing four different DNA sequences (A to D), in 340 Longdong cashmere goats reared in China. The variant sequences had the highest similarity to KRTAP24-1 sequences from sheep and humans, suggesting that they are variants of caprine KRTAP24-1. Nine single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in the gene, including four non-synonymous SNPs and an SNP in proximity to the ATG start codon. Of the three common genotypes (AA, AB, and BB) found in these Longdong cashmere goats, cashmere fibres from goats of genotype AA had lower mean fibre diameter (MFD) than did those of genotype AB, and cashmere fibres from goats of genotype AB had lower MFD than did those from goats of genotype BB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Significance of Group Composition for the Welfare of Pastured Horses
Animals 2019, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010014
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 25 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
We explore how herd composition and management factors correlate with frequencies of social interactions in horse groups. Since the welfare of horses correlates with low aggression levels and social contact opportunities, information of this kind is important. The data are a collection of [...] Read more.
We explore how herd composition and management factors correlate with frequencies of social interactions in horse groups. Since the welfare of horses correlates with low aggression levels and social contact opportunities, information of this kind is important. The data are a collection of records of social interactions of 426 Icelandic horses in 20 groups of at least eight horses. The complexities and limitations of the data prohibit useful statistical modelling so the results are presented descriptively. Interesting and informative patterns emerge which can be of use both in management and in future studies. Of special interest are the low levels of agonistic behaviours in breeding groups where one stallion was present. The horses were less agonistic when in groups with young foals and where group membership was stable. Unfamiliar yearlings in peer groups were especially aggressive. Allogrooming was most frequent in groups with relatively more young horses and in unstable and small groups. Interestingly, the horses allogroomed more if they had few preferred allogrooming partners. The findings show that composition (age/sex) and stability of groups are of great importance with respect to aggression levels and opportunities for establishing bonds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Garlic (Allium Sativum) Supplementation Improves Respiratory Health but Has Increased Risk of Lower Hematologic Values in Horses
Animals 2019, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010013
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 25 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
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Abstract
Garlic (Allium sativum) is claimed to have numerous beneficial properties to the health of humans and animals. It is commonly used for example to treat respiratory diseases and infections in horses’ lungs. However, in addition to its possible positive influences, garlic [...] Read more.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is claimed to have numerous beneficial properties to the health of humans and animals. It is commonly used for example to treat respiratory diseases and infections in horses’ lungs. However, in addition to its possible positive influences, garlic may also have adverse health effects. The hypotheses of this study were that garlic supplementation may help to clear mucus in the airways, but also causes declining hematologic values in prolonged feeding. To our knowledge, this is the first organized study in controlled conditions to show the health effects of garlic supplementation for horses so far. The results show that long-term supplementation of dried garlic on the level of 32 mg/kg BW seemed to reduce the amount of tracheal symptoms and accumulation of tracheal exudates. Additionally, the number of neutrophil cells in the tracheal mucus was numerically smaller in the garlic supplemented horses. However, the garlic supplemented horses showed slightly declining Hb, HcT and RBC values during an 83-day study period. Consequently, it is possible that even low garlic supplementation levels can be detrimental to the horse’s hematology when the supplementation period is long. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Ethical and Scientific Pitfalls Concerning Laboratory Research with Non-Human Primates, and Possible Solutions
Animals 2019, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010012
Received: 21 July 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Abstract
Basic and applied laboratory research, whenever intrusive or invasive, presents substantial ethical challenges for ethical committees, be it with human beings or with non-human animals. In this paper we discuss the use of non-human primates (NHPs), mostly as animal models, in laboratory based [...] Read more.
Basic and applied laboratory research, whenever intrusive or invasive, presents substantial ethical challenges for ethical committees, be it with human beings or with non-human animals. In this paper we discuss the use of non-human primates (NHPs), mostly as animal models, in laboratory based research. We examine the two ethical frameworks that support current legislation and guidelines: deontology and utilitarianism. While human based research is regulated under deontological principles, guidelines for laboratory animal research rely on utilitarianism. We argue that the utilitarian framework is inadequate for this purpose: on the one hand, it is almost impossible to accurately predict the benefits of a study for all potential stakeholders; and on the other hand, harm inflicted on NHPs (and other animals) used in laboratory research is extensive despite the increasing efforts of ethics committees and the research community to address this. Although deontology and utilitarianism are both valid ethical frameworks, we advocate that a deontological approach is more suitable, since we arguably have moral duties to NHPs. We provide suggestions on how to ensure that research currently conducted in laboratory settings shifts towards approaches that abide by deontological principles. We assert that this would not impede reasonable scientific research. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Sheep Anticipatory Response to a Food Reward by Means of Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
Animals 2019, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010011
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Abstract
Anticipatory behaviour to an oncoming food reward can be triggered via classical conditioning, implies the activation of neural networks, and may serve to study the emotional state of animals. The aim of this study was to investigate how the anticipatory response to a [...] Read more.
Anticipatory behaviour to an oncoming food reward can be triggered via classical conditioning, implies the activation of neural networks, and may serve to study the emotional state of animals. The aim of this study was to investigate how the anticipatory response to a food reward affects the cerebral cortex activity in sheep. Eight ewes from the same flock were trained to associate a neutral auditory stimulus (water bubble) to the presence of a food reward (maize grains). Once conditioned, sheep were trained to wait 15 s behind a gate before accessing a bucket with food (anticipation phase). For 6 days, sheep were submitted to two sessions of six consecutive trials each. Behavioural reaction was filmed and changes in cortical oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin concentration ([ΔO2Hb] and [ΔHHb] respectively) following neuronal activation were recorded by functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Compared to baseline, during the anticipation phase sheep increased their active behaviour, kept the head oriented to the gate (Wilcoxon’s signed rank test; p ≤ 0.001), and showed more asymmetric ear posture (Wilcoxon’s signed rank test; p ≤ 0.01), most likely reflecting a learnt association and an increased arousal. Results of trial-averaged [ΔO2Hb] and [ΔHHb] within individual sheep showed in almost every sheep a cortical activation during the anticipation phase (Student T-test; p ≤ 0.05). The sheep showed a greater response of the right hemisphere compared to the left hemisphere, possibly indicating a negative affective state, such as frustration. Behavioural and cortical changes observed during anticipation of a food reward reflect a learnt association and an increased arousal, but no clear emotional valence of the sheep subjective experience. Future work should take into consideration possible factors affecting the accurateness of measures, such as probe’s location and scalp vascularization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Age-Dependent Expression of MyHC Isoforms and Lipid Metabolism-Related Genes in the Longissimus Dorsi Muscle of Wild and Domestic Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010010
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to compare age-dependent changes in the relative expression of genes encoding myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms and selected lipid metabolism-related genes in the longissimus dorsi muscle of wild pigs (WPs) and domestic pigs (DPs). Muscles sampled from postnatal day one [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare age-dependent changes in the relative expression of genes encoding myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms and selected lipid metabolism-related genes in the longissimus dorsi muscle of wild pigs (WPs) and domestic pigs (DPs). Muscles sampled from postnatal day one as well as three-week-old and two-year-old animals were used in quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays, histological evaluations of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity, and intra-myofiber lipid (IMFL) assessment. Expression of the MyHC isoforms displayed the most extensive age- and breed-dependent changes within the first three postnatal weeks. The MyHCembry level decreased significantly faster in the WPs than in the DPs. The relative MyHC-I and -IIa expression was significantly higher in the WPs, and MyHC-IIb was substantially higher in the DPs. The differences in MyHC expression corroborated the number of SDH-positive myofibers and IMFLs. Expression of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) genes displayed only age-related variations. In summary, the evidence is provided for accelerated postnatal myofiber transformation directed towards oxidative myofibers in WPs. The SDH activity/staining intensity largely reflected the expression of MyHCs, and not genes involved in lipid uptake and utilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Progesterone-Treatment Length and eCG Administration on Appearance of Estrous Behavior, Ovulatory Success and Fertility in Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010009
Received: 25 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 26 December 2018
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Abstract
The present study characterizes, for sheep, the occurrence and timing of the onset of estrus behavior and ovulation and the yields obtained (ovulation rate, progesterone secretion, and fertility) after Controlled Internal Drug Release (CIDR) insertion for five, six, seven, or fourteen days, with [...] Read more.
The present study characterizes, for sheep, the occurrence and timing of the onset of estrus behavior and ovulation and the yields obtained (ovulation rate, progesterone secretion, and fertility) after Controlled Internal Drug Release (CIDR) insertion for five, six, seven, or fourteen days, with or without equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) in ewes of the Segureña meat breed. All the treatments showed above 80% of females displaying estrus, but the onset of estrus was earlier and more synchronized when using eCG and, among groups with eCG, onset of estrus was earlier in the sheep treated for 14 days than in the short-term treatments (p < 0.05 for all). Administration of eCG after either short- or long-term treatments assured the occurrence of fertile ovulations in all the animals. Conversely, ovulatory success without eCG was found to be dependent on treatment length, with a high percentage of animals ovulating after five days of treatment (83.3%) and very low percentages after treatment for six or seven days (40% and 20%, respectively). Ovulation rate and progesterone secretion were similar among animals ovulating, but ovulation failures predetermined the fertility yields obtained in response to the treatments. Hence, the best results were found after treatment for 14 days plus eCG, and for 5 days without eCG (83.3 for both, p < 0.05 when compared to the other groups with different treatment lengths and with or without eCG). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
Open AccessArticle Provision Point-Source Materials Stimulates Play in Sows but Does Not Affect Aggression at Regrouping
Animals 2019, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010008
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
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Abstract
When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows. Large white cross Landrace sows were mixed after [...] Read more.
When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows. Large white cross Landrace sows were mixed after insemination; six pens of 12 sows were housed in ‘standard’ pens, and six pens of 12 sows were housed in ‘enhanced’ pens. The ‘enhanced’ pens each contained two rubber mats, eight strands of 24 mm-thick sisal rope and two yellow plastic disks, suspended from the roof. The sows remained in these pens until pregnancy confirmation. Salivary cortisol concentration, injury counts, and sow behaviors were recorded the day before mixing (day 1), mixing (day 0) and post-mixing day 1, day 4, day 7 and day 20. At farrowing, reproductive outcomes were obtained. Play was observed (including locomotor and object play) in the ‘enhanced’ pen, and percentage of time spent playing was greater on d4 (1.48 ± 0.3 Square root transformed data (2.84% non-transformed adjusted mean)), d7 (1.43 ± 0.3 (2.97%)) and d20 (1.64 ± 0.3 (3.84%)), compared to d0 (0.56 ± 0.3 (0.70%)) and d1 (0.87 ± 0.3 (1.67%) (p < 0.05)). No play was observed in standard housing. Aggression, salivary free cortisol concentrations and injuries were unaffected (p > 0.05). The provision of materials had no impact on aggression, although their presence maintained sow interest and play behavior, suggesting a positive effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Growth Performance, Antioxidant Capacity, Lipid-Related Transcript Expression and the Economics of Broiler Chickens Fed Different Levels of Rutin
Animals 2019, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010007
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
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Abstract
The effects of rutin on growth performance, hematological and biochemical profiles, antioxidant capacity, economics and the relative expression of selected antioxidants and lipid-related genes were studied in broiler chickens over 42 days. A total of 200 one-day-old female Ross-308 broiler chickens were distributed [...] Read more.
The effects of rutin on growth performance, hematological and biochemical profiles, antioxidant capacity, economics and the relative expression of selected antioxidants and lipid-related genes were studied in broiler chickens over 42 days. A total of 200 one-day-old female Ross-308 broiler chickens were distributed into four groups, with five replicates of 10 individuals per replicate. They were fed with 0 (control), 0.25, 0.5 or 1 g rutin/kg supplementation in their basal diet. Dietary rutin supplementation, especially the 1 g/kg diet, increased body weight gain, the protein efficiency ratio (p < 0.001) and both white blood cell and lymphocyte counts (p < 0.001). However, it had no effect on total protein, albumin, globulin, or alanine transaminase. A high concentration of rutin (0.5 and 1 g/kg) also significantly reduced serum total cholesterol, triacylglycerol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations (p < 0.001), as well as malondialdehyde concentrations (p = 0.001). A high concentration diet also increased the activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. Of the lipid-related genes examined, acetyl CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase were significantly down-regulated in the livers of rutin-fed individuals, whereas carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha were significantly up-regulated. Therefore, rutin supplementation at 1 g/kg has the potential to improve the productive performance and health status of broiler chickens. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Farmer Willingness to Reduce Aggression between Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010006
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 15 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
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Abstract
Aggression between pigs remains an important animal welfare issue despite several solutions existing. Uptake of livestock welfare research relies on various stakeholders being willing to recommend or adopt changes to farm structure or management (e.g., veterinarians, researchers, farmers). This survey provides insight into [...] Read more.
Aggression between pigs remains an important animal welfare issue despite several solutions existing. Uptake of livestock welfare research relies on various stakeholders being willing to recommend or adopt changes to farm structure or management (e.g., veterinarians, researchers, farmers). This survey provides insight into the attitudes and practices of 122 UK and Irish pig farmers regarding aggression between growing pigs. Our aim was to understand why mitigation strategies are not adequately implemented. The majority of farmers mixed pigs at least once during production and had tried at least one mitigation strategy in the past. Farmers expressed limited willingness to implement strategies in the future, and a structural equation model revealed that this was directly influenced by their beliefs about the outcome of controlling aggression, and their perception of their ability to implement the necessary changes. Willingness was indirectly influenced by their perceptions of aggression as a problem and views of relevant stakeholder groups. Veterinarians had the greatest impact on farmer behavior. We recommend that researchers test research findings in practice, calculate cost-benefits of implementation, and transfer knowledge through various sources. This study showed that structural equation modeling is a valuable tool to understand farmer behavior regarding specific and entrenched animal welfare issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Temporary Exclusion of Cattle from a Riparian Zone Using Virtual Fencing Technology
Animals 2019, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010005
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
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Abstract
Grazing cattle can both negatively and positively impact riparian zones, dependent on controlled grazing management. Virtual fencing technology, using collar devices that operate via GPS can provide audio cues and electrical stimuli to temporarily exclude cattle from specified areas as desired. An early [...] Read more.
Grazing cattle can both negatively and positively impact riparian zones, dependent on controlled grazing management. Virtual fencing technology, using collar devices that operate via GPS can provide audio cues and electrical stimuli to temporarily exclude cattle from specified areas as desired. An early experimental prototype automated virtual fencing system was tested in excluding ten cattle from a riparian zone in Australia. Animals were given free access to an 11.33-hectare area for three weeks, excluded from river access by a virtual fence for ten days (2.86-hectare inclusion zone), followed by free access again for six days. Animals were almost exclusively contained by the virtual fence. All animals received audio cues and electrical stimuli with daily fence interactions, but there was high individual variation with some animals first approaching the fence more often than others. Overall, there was an approximately 25% probability that animals would receive an electrical stimulus following an audio cue. Individual associative learning may have been socially-facilitated by the group’s behaviour. Following fence deactivation, all animals re-entered the previously excluded area. Further research with more groups and longer periods of exclusion using updated collar devices would determine the scope of virtual fencing technology for cattle grazing control. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Fermentation Products on the Microbial Community throughout the Gastrointestinal Tract of Calves
Animals 2019, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010004
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
The effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) on improving growth and health of calves could be attributed to the ability of SCFP to modulate the microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). However, the changes in microbial community along the gut in calves [...] Read more.
The effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) on improving growth and health of calves could be attributed to the ability of SCFP to modulate the microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). However, the changes in microbial community along the gut in calves supplemented with SCFP have not been investigated extensively. The aims of this study were to investigate the effect of SCFP on microbial communities in each sites of GIT using high-throughput sequencing technique. Fifteen Holstein male calves were used and randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 treatments including a calf starter containing 0 (Control, CON), 0.5 (SCFP1) or 1% SCFP (SCFP2, Original XPC, Diamond V, Cedar Rapids, IA, USA) of dry matter from day 4 to 56. The supplemented calves were fed with an additional 1 g/d SCFP (SmartCare, Diamond V, Cedar Rapids, IA, USA) in milk from day 2 to 30. Rumen fluid was sampled at day 28 of age via esophageal tube. All calves were slaughtered and gastrointestinal samples collected on day 56. Inclusion of SCFP increased the microbial species richness in the large intestine. The SCFP also affected the bacterial community at an early age in the rumen and later in rectum microbiota. Supplementation of SCFP stimulated colonization by fibrolytic bacteria (Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae) in rumen and large intestine, respectively. No differences were found between SCFP1 and SCFP2. This is the first study to analyze the effect of SCFP on bacterial community of the GIT microbiota in calves. The results provide the basic bacterial community information, which helps us understand the mechanism of action of SCFP for improving the health and performance of pre-weaning calf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessReview Consequences and Management of Canine Brachycephaly in Veterinary Practice: Perspectives from Australian Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists
Animals 2019, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010003
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
This article, written by veterinarians whose caseloads include brachycephalic dogs, argues that there is now widespread evidence documenting a link between extreme brachycephalic phenotypes and chronic disease, which compromises canine welfare. This paper is divided into nine sections exploring the breadth of the [...] Read more.
This article, written by veterinarians whose caseloads include brachycephalic dogs, argues that there is now widespread evidence documenting a link between extreme brachycephalic phenotypes and chronic disease, which compromises canine welfare. This paper is divided into nine sections exploring the breadth of the impact of brachycephaly on the incidence of disease, as indicated by pet insurance claims data from an Australian pet insurance provider, the stabilization of respiratory distress associated with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), challenges associated with sedation and the anaesthesia of patients with BOAS; effects of brachycephaly on the brain and associated neurological conditions, dermatological conditions associated with brachycephalic breeds, and other conditions, including ophthalmic and orthopedic conditions, and behavioural consequences of brachycephaly. In the light of this information, we discuss the ethical challenges that are associated with brachycephalic breeds, and the role of the veterinarian. In summary, dogs with BOAS do not enjoy freedom from discomfort, nor freedom from pain, injury, and disease, and they do not enjoy the freedom to express normal behaviour. According to both deontological and utilitarian ethical frameworks, the breeding of dogs with BOAS cannot be justified, and further, cannot be recommended, and indeed, should be discouraged by veterinarians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Attitudes and Practices of Australian Veterinary Professionals and Students towards Early Age Desexing of Cats
Animals 2019, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010002
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
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Abstract
Surgical desexing of cats is typically carried out after six months of age (Mature Age Desexing, MAD); between 4–6 months (Traditional Age Desexing, TAD); or before four months (Early Age Desexing, EAD). We complemented existing surveys of veterinarians’ acceptance of EAD with online [...] Read more.
Surgical desexing of cats is typically carried out after six months of age (Mature Age Desexing, MAD); between 4–6 months (Traditional Age Desexing, TAD); or before four months (Early Age Desexing, EAD). We complemented existing surveys of veterinarians’ acceptance of EAD with online and face-to-face surveys, to ascertain the preferred desexing ages for cats and rationale of 957 Australian veterinarians, veterinary nurses, veterinary science students, and veterinary nursing students. A complementary survey of 299 veterinary practice websites across Australia documented any information provided about desexing cats. The most common reason for preferred desexing ages was reducing stray cat populations (30%); 78% of these respondents chose ages aligning with EAD. Vet nurses and nursing students were more conservative than vets or vet students, preferring to desex cats >4 months. Perceived anaesthetic risk was a major motivation, especially for nurses ≤5 years’ experience. Across 299 urban practices in Australian capital cities, 55% of surveyed websites provided no information about desexing cats or listed desexing without explaining why it was necessary, or when to perform it. Increasingly, Australian legislatures mandate desexing of cats by three months of age, so the practices of some current/future veterinary professionals do not match changing legislation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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