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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the human psychological attributes influencing [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Fatty Acid Profiles of Cow’s Milk and Cheese as Affected by Mountain Pasture Type and Concentrate Supplementation
Animals 2019, 9(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020068
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this trial was to assess the effect of pasture type and concentrate supplementation on the fatty acids (FA) composition of milk and cheese obtained during summer grazing on mountain pasture. Seventy-two Italian Simmental dairy cows were assigned to two groups [...] Read more.
The aim of this trial was to assess the effect of pasture type and concentrate supplementation on the fatty acids (FA) composition of milk and cheese obtained during summer grazing on mountain pasture. Seventy-two Italian Simmental dairy cows were assigned to two groups that differed by the amount of concentrate supplementation: 3.0 kg/head/d (HIGH) vs. 1.5 kg/head/d (LOW). The dairy cows grazed on a Poion alpinae alliance pasture (PAST1), and subsequently they grazed on a Seslerion caeruleae alliance pasture (PAST2) for 10 d each. In the last three days of each experimental period, milk samples were collected immediately before each cheese-making event. Cheese samples were collected from each cheese loaf after 60 d of ripening. LOW showed higher isoFA, FA intermediates of the ruminal biohydrogenation, C18:3 c9,c12,c15, and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels than HIGH. The pasture type had a more limited effect on FA composition of milk than concentrate level and was mainly related to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which were higher in PAST1 than PAST2 (p < 0.05). In cheeses, these differences were reduced. The phytanic acid and phytanic isomer ratio (SRR/RRR) in milk were not affected either by supplement level (p > 0.05) or by type of pasture (p > 0.05). Increasing the concentrate offered to dairy cows from 1.5 to 3.0 kg/d did not markedly influence the level of PUFA in cheeses produced during summer grazing on high mountain pasture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Pet Grief: Tools to Assess Owners’ Bereavement and Veterinary Communication Skills
Animals 2019, 9(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020067
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
In Italy, there are still very few studies on the psychological impact of losing a pet. The need to fill this gap springs from the fact that pet loss counseling services are increasingly being activated. The aim of this study is the Italian [...] Read more.
In Italy, there are still very few studies on the psychological impact of losing a pet. The need to fill this gap springs from the fact that pet loss counseling services are increasingly being activated. The aim of this study is the Italian adaptation of instruments for veterinary counseling services. The survey instruments adapted were: Pet Bereavement Questionnaire (PBQ) to describe the individual experience of pet-grief; Regret of Bereaved Family Members (RBFM) to assess the family regret; Shared Decision-Making Questionnaire (SDM-Q-9) for decision making in end of life; Consultation and Relational Empathy Measure (CARE) to assess the veterinarian relational empathy during clinical encounters. All the instruments obtained good internal reliability, and the results of the confirmative factor analysis of all the Italian versions were in accordance with the original ones. The correlational analysis among the variables evidenced the following aspects: the more the owner feels involved by the veterinarian in the decision making process the more the veterinarian is perceived by the owner as empathetic; when the veterinarian is perceived as empathic and the decision making is shared the owners’ pet bereavement distress and regrets are reduced; negative dimensions of bereavement (grief, guilt, anger, intrusive thoughts and decisional regrets) are strictly linked to each other, therefore if one dimension increases or decreases the others do too. The path analysis suggests that developing a veterinary relationship-centered care practice may be beneficial for pet owners facing end-of-life issues and the death of their companion animals since it showed that shared-decision making strategies and empathic communication may reduce negative dimensions of bereavement that may complicate grief. Interestingly, adopting shared decision-making strategies may contribute to be perceived as more empathic. These aspects may be taken into consideration in end-of -life communication training in veterinary medicine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Study on the Effects of Rumen Acidity on Rumination Time and Yield, Composition, and Technological Properties of Milk from Early Lactating Holstein Cows
Animals 2019, 9(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020066
Received: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
The use of high grain rations in dairy cows is related to an increase in rumen acidity. This study investigated whether the rumen acidity status affects rumination time (RT), and the production, composition, coagulation properties (MCPs) and cheese yield (CY) of milk. One [...] Read more.
The use of high grain rations in dairy cows is related to an increase in rumen acidity. This study investigated whether the rumen acidity status affects rumination time (RT), and the production, composition, coagulation properties (MCPs) and cheese yield (CY) of milk. One hundred early-lactating Holstein cows with no clinical signs of disease and fed total mixed rations were used. Rumen fluid was collected once from each cow by rumenocentesis to determine pH and volatile fatty acid (VFA) content. The cows were classified according to the quartile of rumen acidity (QRA), a factor defined by multivariate analysis and associated with VFA and pH. Rumen fluid pH averaged 5.61 in the first quartile and 6.42 in the fourth, and total VFA content increased linearly with increasing rumen acidity. In addition, RT increased as rumen acidity increased, but only in the daily time interval from 08:00 to 12:00. Milk yield linearly decreased as rumen acidity increased, whereas QRA did not affect pH, fat or protein contents of milk. Furthermore, the MCPs, assessed by lactodynamograph, and CY were unaffected by QRA. It is suggested that differences in rumen acidity have little influence on the nutrient content, coagulation properties and CY of milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Efficient Expression of Xylanase by Codon Optimization and Its Effects on the Growth Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Broiler
Animals 2019, 9(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020065
Received: 13 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
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Abstract
The aim of the present study was to improve the expression level of Trichoderma reesei xylanase (XynB) in Pichia pastoris through a codon optimization strategy and evaluate its effects on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler. According to the codon bias [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to improve the expression level of Trichoderma reesei xylanase (XynB) in Pichia pastoris through a codon optimization strategy and evaluate its effects on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler. According to the codon bias of Pichia genome, the XynB gene from T. reesei was optimized and synthesized by whole gene assembly to improve its expression level in P. pastoris. Approximately 180 target mutations were successfully introduced into natural XynB. The maximum activity of xylanase (optiXynB) secreted by P. pastoris pPICZaA-optiXynB was 1299 U/mL after 96 h induction. Purified recombinant optiXynB had the molecular weight of 24 kDa. The optiXynB presented highest activity in pH 5.0 and 50 °C. The recombinase was highly specific towards birchwood xylan, beechwood xylan, and oat-spelt xylan. In the broiler experiment, a total of 200 Arbor Acre broilers (one day old) were randomly allocated into four groups fed with basal diets containing 0 (control group), 500, 1000, and 1500 IU/kg optiXynB. Dietary 1000 and 1500 IU/kg optiXynB significantly increased (p < 0.05) final weight and body weight gain; dietary 500, 1000, and 1500 IU/kg optiXynB significantly increased (p < 0.05) pre-evisceration weight, dressed percentage, and eviscerated weight compared with the control group. Inclusion of optiXynB in broiler diets linearly increased final weight, body weight gain, breast muscle weight and leg muscle weight, but linearly decreased feed conversion rate (p < 0.05). Furthermore, inclusion of optiXynB in broiler diets linearly and quadratically increased pre-evisceration weight, dressed percentage, and eviscerated weight (p < 0.05). The recombinant optiXynB from P. pastoris pPICZaA-optiXynB was beneficial in improving growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Breed on Transcriptional and Protein Expression of Lipogenic Enzymes in Tail and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue from Two Grazing Breeds of Lambs
Animals 2019, 9(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020064
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 9 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
This experiment was carried out to determine the effect of breed on mRNA and protein expression levels of lipogenic enzymes acetyl-CoA carboxylase α (ACC), fatty acid synthase (FAS), stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) plus sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1c (SREBP1c) in the [...] Read more.
This experiment was carried out to determine the effect of breed on mRNA and protein expression levels of lipogenic enzymes acetyl-CoA carboxylase α (ACC), fatty acid synthase (FAS), stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) plus sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1c (SREBP1c) in the subcutaneous fat (SCF) from the back of the animal, and tail fat (TF) of both Chilota and Suffolk Down lambs grazing Calafatal. Eight Chilota and six Suffolk Down 2-month-old male lambs were allocated to graze a “Calafatal”, a typical secondary succession of Chiloé Archipelago, Chile. After 62 d, lambs were slaughtered according to Chile’s meat industry standards. Fatty acid profile, RT-qPCR, and Western blot analyses from SCF and TF samples were performed. Although the mRNA expression levels of ACC, FAS, SCD1 and SREBP1c in SCF did not differ significantly between breeds (p > 0.05), a trend to higher mRNA expression of FAS and SREBP1c in TF from Chilota lambs was observed (p = 0.06). On the other hand, FAS levels in SCF were higher in Chilota than in Suffolk Down lambs (p < 0.02), although Suffolk Down showed higher fat contents and saturated fatty acid (SFA) proportions than Chilota lambs (p < 0.01). The FAS protein expression in TF was similar in both breeds (p > 0.05). Although the fat content was higher in Suffolk Down than in Chilota lambs (p < 0.01), the SFA proportions were similar in both breeds. Finally, it can be concluded that although mRNA expression of enzymes was similar in both breeds, there were differences in some protein levels in the SCF, partially related with the fatty acid profiles, thus affecting the selection of lamb breed either for human consumption or experimental purposes. Full article
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Open AccessReview Avian Liver: The Forgotten Organ
Animals 2019, 9(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020063
Received: 10 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
Despite having huge responsibilities in avian species, published reports on the influence of dietary factors and other possible constraints on the size, development and function of liver are limited. Consideration of the factors that could influence and alter liver function is therefore of [...] Read more.
Despite having huge responsibilities in avian species, published reports on the influence of dietary factors and other possible constraints on the size, development and function of liver are limited. Consideration of the factors that could influence and alter liver function is therefore of critical relevance. In the current review, aspects of liver structure and function, and the influence of feed restriction, anti-nutritional factors, structural components and feed additives on liver are discussed. Effects of feed technology techniques such as thermal treatment and pelleting, feed particle size and whole grain feeding on the liver are also reviewed. A discussion of lipogenesis and lipid storage in poultry is presented to provide a better understanding and to differentiate the normal pathways of lipid metabolism from abnormal (i.e., disordered) pathways. The liver is the main site of fat synthesis in poultry, but under certain conditions, excessive fat can accumulate in the liver and cause problems. Factors contributing to the fatty liver syndrome are also examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle Feeding Conjugated Linoleic Acid without a Combination of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids during Late Gestation and Lactation Improves Pre-Weaning Survival Rates of Gilt and Sow Progeny
Animals 2019, 9(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020062
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
Feeding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) to dams has been shown to improve progeny growth and survival, and hence may be particularly advantageous to gilt progeny. Primiparous (n = 129) and multiparous sows (n = 123; parities [...] Read more.
Feeding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) to dams has been shown to improve progeny growth and survival, and hence may be particularly advantageous to gilt progeny. Primiparous (n = 129) and multiparous sows (n = 123; parities 3 and 4) were fed one of four diets from day 107 of gestation (107.3 ± 0.1 days) until weaning (day 27.2 ± 0.1 of lactation): (i) control diet; (ii) 0.5% CLA diet; (iii) 0.1% MCFA diet; and (iv) equal parts of (ii) and (iii). Progeny performance data were collected and, from a subset of sows (n = 78) and their piglets (n = 144), a colostrum (day 0), milk (day 21), and piglet serum sample (day 3) were analyzed for immunoglobulin G and several selected metabolites. Liveborn pre-weaning mortality tended to be lowest (p = 0.051) in piglets from sows fed 0.5% CLA. However, sows fed the CLA diet had more (p = 0.005) stillbirths than those on the other diets. There were few effects of diet or the dam parity x diet interaction (p ≥ 0.05) on other parameters. Overall, feeding CLA or MCFA did not improve the performance of primiparous sows, multiparous sows, or their progeny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessArticle Tissue Expression and Variation of the DGAT2 Gene and Its Effect on Carcass and Meat Quality Traits in Yak
Animals 2019, 9(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020061
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
Diacylglycerol acyltransferase-2 (DGAT2) plays a key role in the synthesis of animal triglycerides (TGs). This study investigated the relative expression of the DGAT2 gene in tissues, variation in the gene, and its association with carcass and meat quality traits in yaks [...] Read more.
Diacylglycerol acyltransferase-2 (DGAT2) plays a key role in the synthesis of animal triglycerides (TGs). This study investigated the relative expression of the DGAT2 gene in tissues, variation in the gene, and its association with carcass and meat quality traits in yaks (Bos grunniens). DGAT2 was found to be expressed in twelve tissues investigated, but the highest expression was detected in subcutaneous fat, and moderate levels were observed in the liver, heart, longissimus dorsi muscle, and abomasum. Three variants (A1 to C1) were found in intron 5 and another three variants (A2 to C2) were found in intron 6, with two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) being identified in each region in 694 Gannan yaks. Variants B1 and C2 were associated with a decrease in Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF) (p = 0.0020 and p = 0.0441, respectively), and variant C1 was associated with an increase in WBSF (p = 0.0434) and a decrease in drip loss rate (p = 0.0271), whereas variant B2 was associated with a decrease in cooking loss rate (p = 0.0142). Haplotypes A1-A2 and B1-A2 were found to be, respectively, associated with an increase and a decrease in WBSF (p = 0.0191 and p = 0.0010, respectively). These results indicate that DGAT2 could be a useful gene marker for improving meat tenderness in yaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Milk Yield, Milk Composition, and the Nutritive Value of Feed Accessed Varies with Milking Order for Pasture-Based Dairy Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020060
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 9 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
(1) Background: Pasture varies in its chemical composition from the top of the sward to the base and cattle prefer to eat the leaf fraction. In pasture-based dairy systems, cattle predominantly walk back to pasture voluntarily after each milking, with the first cattle [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Pasture varies in its chemical composition from the top of the sward to the base and cattle prefer to eat the leaf fraction. In pasture-based dairy systems, cattle predominantly walk back to pasture voluntarily after each milking, with the first cattle arriving to pasture hours before the last. Here we study the impact of pasture composition according to milking order on milk yield and milk composition for dairy cattle offered grazed ryegrass pasture. (2) Methods: In the first experiment, individual cow milk yield data were recorded on six farms over 8 months. The herd was divided into groups of 50 cows for analysis according to milking order. In the second experiment, the impact of milking order on milk composition and pasture composition accessed was determined in addition to milk yield on three farms. (3) Results: After accounting for age and stage of lactation effects, cattle milked first in experiment 1 produced, on average, 4.5 L/cow/day (+18%; range 14 to 29%) more than cattle milked last. In experiment 2, dairy cattle milked first (first 50 cows) in farm 1 had greater milk, protein, and solids non-fat (SNF) yield; and less lactose content than those milked last (last 50 cows). In farm 2, dairy cattle milked first had greater milk yield, SNF yield, lactose yield, and fat yield; but less protein and SNF content than cattle milked last. In farm 3, cattle milked first produced milk with greater fat and protein content than cattle milked last. In line with these differences in milk yield and composition, the composition of pasture across vertical strata differed, particularly for crude protein (CP) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) content. Conclusion: This work highlights the opportunity to increase herd nutrient use efficiency for improved milk production through strategic pasture allowance and supplementation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Comparing Social Media Observations of Animals During a Solar Eclipse to Published Research
Animals 2019, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020059
Received: 25 November 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
A wide variety of environmental stimuli can influence the behavior of animals including temperature, weather, light, lunar and seasonal cycles, seismic activity, as well as other perturbations to their circadian rhythm. Solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the relative influence of [...] Read more.
A wide variety of environmental stimuli can influence the behavior of animals including temperature, weather, light, lunar and seasonal cycles, seismic activity, as well as other perturbations to their circadian rhythm. Solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the relative influence of unexpected darkness on behavior of animals due to their sudden interference with local light levels and meteorology. Though occasionally bizarre, modern studies have lent support to the idea that at least some individuals of certain species display altered behavior during these events. A comparison of informal observations of animal behavior during solar eclipse from social media (i.e., March for Science Facebook discussion) to those conducted scientifically (published literature) can elucidate how well this topic is being covered. Describing which species and behaviors are covered in each source can reveal gaps in the literature which can emphasize areas for future research. We enumerated a total of 685 observations of approximately 48 different types of animals reacting to the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse from over 800 posts on the discussion. The animals most frequently reported on social media as reacting to the eclipse were invertebrates (40% of social media observations) and birds (35% of social media observations). A total of 26 published studies recorded 169 behavior observations of approximately 131 different animal species. The group with the highest number of observations in the literature were birds with 62 records (37% of literature observations). Most observations reported decreases in activity (38.7% of bird observations) followed by increases in vocalization (24.2% of bird observations). There were approximately 30 different species of invertebrate observed (24% of literature observations), most frequently reported of which were zooplankton (14.6% of invertebrate observations). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessCommunication Ovariectomy Impairs Socio-Cognitive Functions in Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020058
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
Recent studies have underlined the effect of ovariectomy on the spatial cognition of female dogs, with ovariectomized dogs showing a clear preference for an egocentric rather than an allocentric navigation strategy whereas intact females did not show preferences. Intact females had better performances [...] Read more.
Recent studies have underlined the effect of ovariectomy on the spatial cognition of female dogs, with ovariectomized dogs showing a clear preference for an egocentric rather than an allocentric navigation strategy whereas intact females did not show preferences. Intact females had better performances than gonadectomized females in solving a learning task in a maze. Ovariectomy also affects socio-cognitive abilities, reducing the dog’s level of attention on the owner. We tested dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in the object choice task paradigm to assess whether an ovariectomy could impair females’ ability to follow human signals. Forty pet dogs (18 intact females (IF) and 22 gonadectomized females (GF)) were tested in the object choice task paradigm using the human proximal pointing gesture. For the analysis, the frequency of correct, wrong and no-choices was collected; moreover, the latency of the correct choices was also considered. The IF group followed the pointing gestures more often than the GF group and with a lower latency, whereas a significantly higher no-choice frequency was recorded for the GF group. These results show a detrimental effect of ovariectomy on dogs’ socio-cognitive skills related to the responsiveness to human pointing gestures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Betaine Improves Milk Yield in Grazing Dairy Cows Supplemented with Concentrates at High Temperatures
Animals 2019, 9(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020057
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
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Abstract
Betaine is an organic osmolyte sourced from sugar beet that accumulates in plant cells undergoing osmotic stress. Since the accumulation of betaine lowers the energy requirements of animals and, therefore, metabolic heat production, the aim of this experiment was to investigate if betaine [...] Read more.
Betaine is an organic osmolyte sourced from sugar beet that accumulates in plant cells undergoing osmotic stress. Since the accumulation of betaine lowers the energy requirements of animals and, therefore, metabolic heat production, the aim of this experiment was to investigate if betaine supplementation improved milk yield in grazing dairy cows in summer. One hundred and eighteen Friesian × Holstein cows were paired on days in milk and, within each pair, randomly allocated to a containing treatment of either 0 or 2 g/kg natural betaine in their concentrate ration for approximately 3 weeks during February/March 2015 (summer in Australia). The mean maximum February temperature was 30 °C. Cows were allocated approximately 14 kg dry matter pasture and 7.5 kg of concentrate pellets (fed in the milking shed) per cow per day and were milked through an automatic milking system three times per day. Betaine supplementation increased average daily milk yield by over 6% (22.0 vs. 23.4 kg/day, p < 0.001) with the response increasing as the study progressed as indicated by the interaction (p < 0.001) between betaine and day. Milk fat % (p = 0.87), milk protein % (p = 0.90), and milk somatic cell count (p = 0.81) were unchanged by dietary betaine. However, betaine supplementation increased milk protein yield (677 vs. 719 g/day, p < 0.001) and fat yield (874 vs. 922 g/day, p < 0.001) with responses again being more pronounced as the study progressed. In conclusion, dietary betaine supplementation increased milk and component yield during summer in grazing dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Morphine Administration on Social and Non-Social Play Behaviour in Calves
Animals 2019, 9(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020056
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of morphine on social and non-social play behaviour in calves. Twelve calves experienced four treatments in a cross over 2 × 2 factorial design: Calves received an intravenous injection of morphine or saline [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of morphine on social and non-social play behaviour in calves. Twelve calves experienced four treatments in a cross over 2 × 2 factorial design: Calves received an intravenous injection of morphine or saline 10 min prior to being tested individually or in pairs in an arena for 20 min. Play behaviour was continuously recorded in the arena test. Lying times were recorded in the home pen. Cortisol concentrations were measured before and after testing. In the arena test, calves given morphine tended to perform more social play events than calves given saline, however, morphine administration had no effect on locomotor play. Calves given morphine spent less time lying than calves given saline during the first 4 h after returning to the home pen. Cortisol concentrations were suppressed in calves given morphine. Administration of morphine appeared to increase social play but had no effect on locomotor play in calves. This study highlights the importance of investigating different aspects of play behaviour in animals as some may be more indicative of a positive affective state than others. More studies investigating the effects of morphine on play are needed to confirm the results found in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Aromatic Profile, Physicochemical and Sensory Traits of Dry-Fermented Sausages Produced without Nitrites Using Pork from Krškopolje Pig Reared in Organic and Conventional Husbandry
Animals 2019, 9(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020055
Received: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Dry-fermented sausages were produced in a traditional way, without addition of nitrites and starter cultures, from meat of an autochthonous breed (Krškopolje pig) raised either in a conventional indoor or organic husbandry system. Physicochemical and sensory analyses were performed at the end of [...] Read more.
Dry-fermented sausages were produced in a traditional way, without addition of nitrites and starter cultures, from meat of an autochthonous breed (Krškopolje pig) raised either in a conventional indoor or organic husbandry system. Physicochemical and sensory analyses were performed at the end of processing to characterize their quality. Dry-fermented sausages from organic pork retained more moisture, which resulted in higher water activity and softer texture (instrumental and sensory). They were more oxidized (higher thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS)), in agreement with more unsaturated fatty acid profile, a higher score for rancid taste, and a higher relative abundance of volatiles from lipid β-oxidation. Overall, dry-fermented sausages from organic pork had lower levels of volatile compounds, particularly, those originating from spices (despite the same quantity added) and lower levels of amino-acid degradation. Sensory analysis showed that dry-fermented sausages from organic pork had less intensive and vivid color, tasted more bitter and sour, and had more off-tastes. The observed differences could be related to initial differences in raw material (differences in meat pH and level of polyunsaturated fatty acids) affecting the process of fermentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessArticle KISS1 Suppresses Apoptosis and Stimulates the Synthesis of E2 in Porcine Ovarian Granulosa Cells
Animals 2019, 9(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020054
Received: 24 November 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Previous studies have strongly recommended that KISS-1 metastasis suppressor (KISS1) plays an essential gatekeeper of the initiation of reproductive maturation in mammals. However, KISS1 has been recently reported to highly express in ovarian granulosa cells (GCs). But the biological functionalities of [...] Read more.
Previous studies have strongly recommended that KISS-1 metastasis suppressor (KISS1) plays an essential gatekeeper of the initiation of reproductive maturation in mammals. However, KISS1 has been recently reported to highly express in ovarian granulosa cells (GCs). But the biological functionalities of KISS1 on cell apoptosis, cell cycle, and synthesis of estradiol-17β (E2) have not been explored in GCs. In this study, using porcine GCs as a cellular model, the overexpression plasmid of KISS1 was built to explore the biological effects of KISS1 on the PI3K signaling pathway, estrogen signaling pathway, cell apoptosis, cell cycle, and E2 secretion. We found that mRNA of KISS1 highly expressed in the ovary and significantly increased from immature to mature follicles in gilts. Overexpression of KISS1 could significantly increase the mRNA expression of PIK3CG, PIK3C1, and PDK1, and significantly decreased the mRNA levels of FOXO3, TSC2, and BAD of PI3K signaling pathway. Furthermore, results of the flow cytometry showed that overexpression of KISS1 significantly inhibited the apoptosis of GCs and decreased the percentage of GCs at G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. Additionally, overexpression of KISS1 could increase the mRNA levels of Star, CYP17, 3B-HSD, 17B-HSD of estrogen synthesis signaling pathway, significantly increase the concentration of E2 in the supernatant of the cultured GCs, and up-regulate the mRNA expression levels of ESR1 and ESR2. These results suggested that KISS1 might suppress cell apoptosis through activating the PI3K signaling pathway and stimulate synthesis of E2 via boosting the estrogen synthesis signaling pathway. This study would be of great interests for exploring the biological functionalities of KISS1 in the folliculogenesis and sex steroid production of the ovaries in mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle Stocking Density Affects Stress and Anxious Behavior in the Laying Hen Chick During Rearing
Animals 2019, 9(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020053
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 10 February 2019
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Abstract
The recent increases in stocking density, in extreme cases resulting in ‘crowding’, have a major impact on poultry welfare. In contrast to available research on adult laying hens, there is a gap in the literature studying the rearing phase. The present study investigated [...] Read more.
The recent increases in stocking density, in extreme cases resulting in ‘crowding’, have a major impact on poultry welfare. In contrast to available research on adult laying hens, there is a gap in the literature studying the rearing phase. The present study investigated the effects of stocking density during the rearing period on the welfare of the laying hen chick. The chicks were housed under one of three crowding conditions, increasing with age: undercrowding (500-1000-1429 cm2 per chick), conventional crowding (167-333-500 cm2 per chick), or overcrowding (56-111-167 cm2 per chick). The parameters evaluated encompassed behavioral and physiological factors related to anxiety and stress. We found that during the first 6 weeks, overcrowded chicks displayed more anxious behavior than undercrowded chicks, and both extreme densities induced higher corticosterone levels compared to chicks housed under conventional crowding. At 10 weeks of age, plasma corticosterone had dropped to the level of conventional crowding group in both groups, whereas feather corticosterone remained high only in the overcrowded group. We conclude that current conventional stocking densities do not seem to impair the welfare state of the laying hen chick, and that a three-fold increase or decrease of density influences corticosterone levels and anxious behavior, but within the adaptive capacity of the chick. Important side notes to this conclusion are that an increase of stocking density did result in a slower rate of adaptation, and that there could be long-term consequences of both the different stocking densities and/or increased costs of adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle The Ethics of Human–Animal Relationships and Public Discourse: A Case Study of Lions Bred for Their Bones
Animals 2019, 9(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020052
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
Conservation and natural resource management are increasingly attending the ethical elements of public decisions. Ethical considerations are challenging, in part, because they typically require accounting for the moral consideration of various human and nonhuman forms of life, whose interests sometimes conflict (or seem [...] Read more.
Conservation and natural resource management are increasingly attending the ethical elements of public decisions. Ethical considerations are challenging, in part, because they typically require accounting for the moral consideration of various human and nonhuman forms of life, whose interests sometimes conflict (or seem to conflict). A valuable tool for such evaluations is the formal analysis of ethical arguments. An ethical argument is a collection of premises, logically interrelated, to yield a conclusion that can be expressed in the form, “We ought to…” According to the rules of logic, a conclusion is supported by an argument if all its premises are true or appropriate and when it contains no mistaken inferences. We showed how the formal analysis of ethical arguments can be used to engage stakeholders and decision-makers in decision-making processes. We summarised the method with ten specific guidelines that would be applicable to any case. We illustrated the technique using a case study focused on captive-bred lions, the skeletons of which form part of an international trade to supply traditional medicine markets in Southeast Asia with felid bones. As a matter of public policy, the practice is a complicated nexus of concerns for entrepreneurial freedom, wildlife conservation, and the fair treatment of animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Canine Endogenous Oxytocin Responses to Dog-Walking and Affiliative Human–Dog Interactions
Animals 2019, 9(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020051
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
Several studies suggest human–dog interactions elicit a positive effect on canine oxytocin concentrations. However, empirical investigations are scant and the joint influence of human–dog interaction and physical activity remains unexplored. The aims of the current study were to (a) examine the canine endogenous [...] Read more.
Several studies suggest human–dog interactions elicit a positive effect on canine oxytocin concentrations. However, empirical investigations are scant and the joint influence of human–dog interaction and physical activity remains unexplored. The aims of the current study were to (a) examine the canine endogenous oxytocin response to owner-led dog-walking and affiliative human–dog interactions and (b) investigate the moderating effect of the owner-reported strength of the human–dog bond on such responses. Twenty-six dogs took part in a random order cross-over trial, involving dog-walking and human–dog interactions. Urinary samples were collected before and after each condition. The data were analyzed using linear mixed models with condition, order of conditions, condition duration, and latency from initiation of condition to urine sample collection considered as fixed effects, and the participant was considered a random effect. Canine urinary oxytocin concentrations did not differ significantly following dog-walking (mean change: −14.66 pg/mg Cr; 95% CI: −47.22, 17.90) or affiliative human–dog interactions (mean change: 6.94 pg/mg Cr; 95% CI: −26.99, 40.87). The reported strength of the human–dog bond did not significantly moderate the canine oxytocin response to either experimental condition. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe evidence for a positive oxytocin response to dog-walking or human–dog interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Investigating the Impact of Indemnity Waivers on the Length of Stay of Cats at an Australian Shelter
Animals 2019, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020050
Received: 22 December 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract
Due to resource limitations, animal shelters in Australia historically have focused on rehoming animals considered ‘highly adoptable’. Increasingly, animal shelters in Australia are rehoming animals with pre-existing medical and/or behavioural issues. These animals are often rehomed with an ‘indemnity waiver’ to transfer the [...] Read more.
Due to resource limitations, animal shelters in Australia historically have focused on rehoming animals considered ‘highly adoptable’. Increasingly, animal shelters in Australia are rehoming animals with pre-existing medical and/or behavioural issues. These animals are often rehomed with an ‘indemnity waiver’ to transfer the responsibility of ongoing financial costs associated with these conditions from the shelter to the new owner. However, it is unknown what effect these indemnity waivers have on the length of stay (LOS) of animals prior to adoption. The current study used data collected from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Weston shelter located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia in 2017 to investigate the effect of indemnity waivers on the LOS of cats. A restricted maximum likelihood model (REML) was used to determine the effect of breed, age, coat colour, presence of a waiver, waiver type (categorised into seven groups) and waiver number (no waiver, single waiver or multiple waivers) on LOS. In the final multivariate model, age, breed and waiver number were found to influence LOS. Young cats, purebred cats and cats adopted without a waiver were adopted fastest. This study is the first to report the effect of indemnity waivers on the adoptability of cats from shelters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Housing and Management Practices on 33 Pullet Farms in Canada
Animals 2019, 9(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020049
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 6 February 2019
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Abstract
Although Canada is one of the first to provide guidelines on pullet rearing in a new Code of Practice which came into effect in March 2017, little information is available about the housing and management of pullets on Canadian farms. We surveyed 99 [...] Read more.
Although Canada is one of the first to provide guidelines on pullet rearing in a new Code of Practice which came into effect in March 2017, little information is available about the housing and management of pullets on Canadian farms. We surveyed 99 pullet farmers and received useable responses from 33 pullet farmers (33.3% response rate) who took part in the Start Clean-Stay Clean™ program through their provincial egg boards across Canada during October–December 2017 as part of a larger study. Most flocks were housed in conventional cage systems (42.4%), followed by single-tier (33.3%) and multi-tier systems (24.2%). Flocks ranged from 1–19 weeks of age (average: 10.5 weeks of age) and were white- (58.1%) or brown-feathered (41.9%). In general, non-cage farmers met the new requirements set out in the Code of Practice for space, perches and litter provision during pullet rearing during this transitional period. Conventional caged flocks did not have opportunities for perching and foraging, but developing new methods to provide pullets with opportunities to perch and forage will become more important as the laying hen housing system transition from conventional cages to furnished cage and non-cage housing systems in Canada progresses. Additionally, clear litter management recommendations for farmers to ensure good litter quality are needed for non-cage housing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Open AccessArticle Readily Available Water Access is Associated with Greater Milk Production in Grazing Dairy Herds
Animals 2019, 9(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020048
Received: 10 January 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
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Abstract
In this cross-sectional study, we measured the association between water provision and milk production on intensively managed small-scale grazing dairy herds. Farms (n = 53) were categorized according to water provision as follows: (1) Restricted—cows did not have access to a water [...] Read more.
In this cross-sectional study, we measured the association between water provision and milk production on intensively managed small-scale grazing dairy herds. Farms (n = 53) were categorized according to water provision as follows: (1) Restricted—cows did not have access to a water trough while on pasture; and (2) Unrestricted—cows had free access to a water trough while on pasture. Herd main breed and feeding practices were included in a model to assess the effect of water provision category on farm average milk yield/cow/d. The effect of pasture condition and environmental variables on milk production were also assessed, however were not retained on the final model. Herds provided with unrestricted access to drinking water produced on average 1.7 L more milk per cow/d (p = 0.03) than herds with restricted access to drinking water. Predominantly Holstein herds produced 2.8 L more milk per cow/d (p < 0.01) than non-Holstein herds. Each extra kg of concentrate offered per day increased milk yield by 1.1 L/cow/d (p < 0.01). In conclusion, providing free access to drinking water while grazing was associated with greater milk production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Euthanasia: Manual versus Mechanical Cervical Dislocation for Broilers
Animals 2019, 9(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020047
Received: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
The aim was to assess the onset of brain stem death for two euthanasia methods—manual cervical dislocation (CD) versus the Koechner Euthanizing Device (KED). Over three days broilers of 36 (n = 60), 42 (n = 80), or 43 days old (n = [...] Read more.
The aim was to assess the onset of brain stem death for two euthanasia methods—manual cervical dislocation (CD) versus the Koechner Euthanizing Device (KED). Over three days broilers of 36 (n = 60), 42 (n = 80), or 43 days old (n = 60) were euthanized. On days 2 and 3, a treatment was added in which the bird’s head was extended at a ~90° angle after application of the KED (KED+). On those days, gap size was recorded between the skull and atlas vertebra by 1-cm increments. The onset of brain death was assessed by recording the nictitating membrane reflex, gasping reflex and musculoskeletal movements (sec). Additionally, skin damage and blood loss were recorded (y/n). On all days, CD resulted in quicker loss of reflexes and movements compared to KED or KED+. Reflexes returned in 0–15% of CD birds, 50–55% of KED birds, and 40–60% of KED+ birds, possibly regaining consciousness. Skin damage occurred in 0% of CD birds, 68–95% of KED birds, and 85–95% of KED+ birds. On day 2 (p = 0.065) and 3 (p = 0.008), KED birds had or tended to have a narrower skull-to-atlas gap compared to CD and KED+ birds. Based on our results, CD would be the recommended method for broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle The Efficiency of Xylanase in Broiler Chickens Fed with Increasing Dietary Levels of Rye
Animals 2019, 9(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020046
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 26 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, we present a study on the evaluation of the effect of xylanase addition to a diet with an increasing content of modern hybrid rye (Brasetto variety) on the performance indices and viscosity of small intestine content in broiler chickens. A [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a study on the evaluation of the effect of xylanase addition to a diet with an increasing content of modern hybrid rye (Brasetto variety) on the performance indices and viscosity of small intestine content in broiler chickens. A total of 560 1-day-old male Ross 308 chickens were randomly assigned to 1 of 10 treatments, each comprising 7 replicate cages, with 8 male birds per cage. A 5 × 2 factorial arrangement was employed, with five dietary levels of ground rye (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%). All the diets were either unsupplemented or supplemented with xylanase (200 mg/kg of feed; with minimum xylanase activity 1000 FXU/g). In the starter rearing period (1–21 days of age), the inclusion of rye (without xylanase supplementation) to the diet, even at the lowest dietary level (5%), negatively affected body weight gain (p < 0.05); there was no effect on feed intake and feed conversion ratio. In older chickens (the grower-finisher rearing period; 22–42 days of age), none of the dietary levels of rye (5–20%) affected growth performance indices. Similarly, no significant effect of increasing dietary level of rye was found for the entire rearing period (1–42 days of age). Diet supplementation with xylanase improved body weight gain and feed conversion ratio in chickens from 1 to 21 days of age. No positive effect of enzyme was found in older birds. No significant effects of the experimental factors used were noticed on the results of slaughter analysis, i.e., the carcass yield, breast meat yield, abdominal fat, and relative weight of the liver and gizzard. A high dietary concentration of rye (20%) increased the viscosity of small intestine content (p < 0.05); however, diet supplementation with xylanase significantly alleviated this effect. The findings of this experiment indicated that modern hybrid rye grain may be used at a 20% dietary level in broiler diets during the second feeding phase, i.e., from 22 to 42 days of age, without any detrimental influence on growth performance indices, while enzyme (xylanase) positively affected body weight gain and feed conversion ratio in younger chicks (1–21 days of age). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
Open AccessArticle Extracts from Microalga Chlorella sorokiniana Exert an Anti-Proliferative Effect and Modulate Cytokines in Sheep Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells
Animals 2019, 9(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020045
Received: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
The objective of this experiment was to study the effects of the unsaponified fraction (UP), the acetylated unsaponified fraction (AUP), and the total lipid fraction (TL) extracted and purified from Chlorella sorokiniana (CS) on the proliferation and cytokine profile of sheep peripheral blood [...] Read more.
The objective of this experiment was to study the effects of the unsaponified fraction (UP), the acetylated unsaponified fraction (AUP), and the total lipid fraction (TL) extracted and purified from Chlorella sorokiniana (CS) on the proliferation and cytokine profile of sheep peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Cells were cultured with 0.4 mg/mL and 0.8 mg/mL concentrations of each extract (UP, AUP, and TL fractions) and activated with 5 μg/mL concanavalin A (ConA) and 1 μg/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 37 °C for 24 h. PBMCs cultured with ConA and LPS represented the stimulated cells (SC), and PBMCs without ConA and LPS represented the unstimulated cells (USC). Cell-free supernatants were collected to determine IL-10, IL-1β, and IL-6 secretions; on cells, measurement of proliferation was performed. All the extracts tested significantly decreased the cell proliferation; in particular, the UP fraction at 0.4 mg/mL showed the lowest proliferative response. Furthermore, at 0.8 mg/mL, the UP fraction enhanced IL-10 secretion. On the contrary, the TL fraction at 0.4 mg/mL induced an increase in IL-10, IL-6, and, to a lesser extent, IL-1β secretions by cells. The AUP fraction did not change cytokine secretion. The results demonstrated that CS extracts could be useful ingredients in animal feed in order to minimize the use of antibiotics by modulating cell proliferation and cytokine response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Austrian Veterinarians’ Attitudes to Euthanasia in Equine Practice
Animals 2019, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020044
Received: 3 January 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
Euthanasia of companion animals is a challenging responsibility in the veterinary profession since veterinarians have to consider not only medical, but also legal, economic, emotional, social, and ethical factors in decision-making. To this end; an anonymous questionnaire-based survey of Austrian equine veterinarians examines [...] Read more.
Euthanasia of companion animals is a challenging responsibility in the veterinary profession since veterinarians have to consider not only medical, but also legal, economic, emotional, social, and ethical factors in decision-making. To this end; an anonymous questionnaire-based survey of Austrian equine veterinarians examines the attitudes to the euthanasia of equine patients in a range of scenarios; to identify factors which may influence decisions on the ending of a horse’s life. This paper describes the distributions of demographic and attitude variables. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to test the associations of gender, work experience, and equine workload with attitudes in relation to euthanasia statements and case scenarios. In total, 64 respondents (response rate = 23.4%) completed the questionnaire. The study showed that veterinarians consider contextual and relational factors in their decision-making. They are aware of owners’ emotional bonds with their horses and financial background, however, requests for convenience euthanasia are typically rejected. Although some significant differences between the tested variables emerged, the attitudes of the veterinarians were shown to be largely shared. In conclusion, veterinarians are aware of the multiple factors that influence their decision-making and gave indications as to the weight of animal- and owner-related factors in the handling of euthanasia. Full article
Open AccessArticle Feather Pecking and Cannibalism in Non-Beak-Trimmed Laying Hen Flocks—Farmers’ Perspectives
Animals 2019, 9(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020043
Received: 2 January 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
Pecking-related problems are common in intensive egg production, compromising hen welfare, causing farmers economic losses and negatively affecting sustainability. These problems are often controlled by beak trimming, which in Finland is prohibited. An online questionnaire aimed to collect information from farmers about pecking-related [...] Read more.
Pecking-related problems are common in intensive egg production, compromising hen welfare, causing farmers economic losses and negatively affecting sustainability. These problems are often controlled by beak trimming, which in Finland is prohibited. An online questionnaire aimed to collect information from farmers about pecking-related problems in Finnish laying hen flocks, important risk factors and the best experiences to prevent the problems. Additionally, the farmers’ attitudes towards beak trimming were examined. We received 35 responses, which represents about 13% of all Finnish laying hen farms with ≥300 laying hens. The majority of respondents stated that a maximum of 5–7% incidence of feather pecking or 1–2% incidence of cannibalism would be tolerable. The majority of respondents (74%) expressed that they would definitely not use beak-trimmed hens. Only two respondents indicated that they would probably use beak-trimmed hens were the practice permitted. Among risk factors, light intensity earned the highest mean (6.3), on a scale from 1 (not important) to 7 (extremely important). Other important problems included those that occurred during rearing, feeding, flock management and problems with drinking water equipment (mean 5.9, each). The most important intervention measures included optimal lighting and feeding, flock management, and removing the pecker and victim. Concluding, Finnish farmers had strong negative attitudes towards beak trimming. The study underlines the importance of flock management, especially lighting and feeding, in preventing pecking problems and indicates that it is possible to incorporate a non-beak-trimming policy into sustainable egg production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
Open AccessReview Why Should Human-Animal Interactions Be Included in Research of Working Equids’ Welfare?
Animals 2019, 9(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020042
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
The livelihood of working horses’ owners and their families is intimately linked to the welfare of their equids. A proper understanding of human-animal interactions, as well as the main factors that modulate them, is essential for establishing strategies oriented to improve the welfare [...] Read more.
The livelihood of working horses’ owners and their families is intimately linked to the welfare of their equids. A proper understanding of human-animal interactions, as well as the main factors that modulate them, is essential for establishing strategies oriented to improve the welfare of animals and their caretakers. To date, there is still a paucity of research dedicated to the identification and assessment of the human psychological attributes that affect the owner–equine interaction, and how these could affect the welfare of working equids. However, some studies have shown that empathy, attitudes towards animals, human perception of animal pain and the owner´s locus of control are some of the psychological attributes that participate in human-equine interactions and that these can result in poor welfare of working equids. A better understanding of the relationship between human attributes and equids’ welfare can provide an opportunity to improve the quality of interactions between owners and their working equids and thus improve their welfare. This review aims to explain why the inclusion of human psychological attributes that modulate the human-animal interactions can benefit welfare research in working equids. The role that empathy, perception of animal pain and locus of control play in the promotion of good welfare in working equids is emphasized. Full article
Open AccessArticle Indirect Influence of African Swine Fever Outbreak on the Raven (Corvus corax) Population
Animals 2019, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020041
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
Carrion plays a crucial role in the raven’s diet. In the past, domestic pig carrion was widely available in Poland. This changed with an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and the introduction of strict procedures aimed at stopping the virus from spreading. We [...] Read more.
Carrion plays a crucial role in the raven’s diet. In the past, domestic pig carrion was widely available in Poland. This changed with an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and the introduction of strict procedures aimed at stopping the virus from spreading. We compared data from Central Poland (field and forest mosaic, study area of 105 km2) for two periods, i.e., before (2011–2014) and after the ASF outbreak (2015–2018). In breeding seasons, nests of ravens were found, juveniles were counted, and the time when juveniles left their nests was recorded. Diet composition data were based on pellet analysis and direct observations of feeding birds. The number of breeding pairs dropped from 12.3 to 7.5 in the second period. Breeding parameters were similar. However, birds in the second period had fewer fledglings per successful pair. Domestic pig carrion was found to be an important food item, and with its limited supply, ravens changed their diet, i.e., they fed on the carrion of dogs and cats or preyed on small vertebrates more often. Overall, our study points to a crucial role of the availability of the carrion of big farm animals (i.e., domestic pig) in maintaining the high density of breeding raven populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Differences in Pre-Laying Behavior between Floor-Laying and Nest-Laying Pekin Ducks
Animals 2019, 9(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020040
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
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Abstract
Floor-laying in commercially farmed Pekin ducks is not well understood. This exploratory study aimed to determine if behavioral differences exist between floor-laying and nest-laying ducks. Retrospective analysis of video footage from a small commercial breeding flock (n = 60 birds) was used to [...] Read more.
Floor-laying in commercially farmed Pekin ducks is not well understood. This exploratory study aimed to determine if behavioral differences exist between floor-laying and nest-laying ducks. Retrospective analysis of video footage from a small commercial breeding flock (n = 60 birds) was used to quantify the behavior of floor-laying and nest-laying birds (n = 24 events per group) in the hour prior to oviposition site selection. The frequency, percentage of time spent, and duration of bouts were compared for nest box interactions, behaviors inside and outside of boxes and aggressive interactions. Some floor-laying birds did not enter or investigate nest boxes (FL-Out), whilst some floor-layers (FL-In) used nest boxes similarly to nest-laying birds (NL). Nest-building behavior differed only in location, with FL-Out performing the behavior on the shed floor and the other groups performing it primarily in boxes. FL-Out sat more, walked less, and engaged in less aggression (p < 0.05) than FL-In and NL. The occurrence of multiple birds in a nest box was strongly correlated with the number of aggressive interactions that occurred in the box (R = 0.81). Competition appears to contribute to floor-laying in Pekin ducks; FL-Out birds may not engage with nest boxes as a coping strategy to avoid agonistic behavior. These findings indicate that developing practical strategies to reduce nest box competition could help mitigate floor-laying. However, other factors such as nest design may also contribute to FL-Out birds’ reluctance to use nest boxes and require further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle Dietary Energy Levels Affect Growth Performance through Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 in Yak (Bos grunniens)
Animals 2019, 9(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020039
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of different dietary energy levels on serum concentrations of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), as well as gene expression of their associated binding proteins and receptors in yak. Fifteen [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of different dietary energy levels on serum concentrations of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), as well as gene expression of their associated binding proteins and receptors in yak. Fifteen adult male yaks with BW of 276.1 ± 3.5 kg were allotted in three dietary groups and were fed with low (LE), medium (ME), and high energy (HE) level diet having different NEg of 5.5 MJ/kg, 6.2 MJ/kg, 6.9 MJ/kg, respectively. The effects of these treatments on ADG, BW, ADFI, and feed conversion ratio were significant (p < 0.05) throughout the experimental period. Serum GH concentration decreased (p < 0.05) with an increase in dietary energy level on d 30 and d 60. While IGF-1 concentration was higher (p < 0.05) in ME group, as compared to LE and HE groups on d 60. The expression level of growth hormone receptor (GHR) was decreased (p < 0.001) and IGF-1 was increased with the increase in the dietary energy level. The relative expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) was higher (p < 0.001) in ME and HE groups, except the LE group. In conclusion, our findings provide a first insight into the combined effect of GH and IGF-1 in controlling the metabolism and productivity of yak. It also showed that medium energy level diet contributed to promote growth performance of yak during the cold season. Full article
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