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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) ‘Farm Animal Welfare’ is the first digital game to teach children about the welfare of farm [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Do the Calls of a Bird, the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala), Need Adjustment for Efficient Communication in Urban Anthropogenic Noise?
Animals 2019, 9(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030118
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
Urban environments are characteristically noisy and this can pose a challenge for animals that communicate acoustically. Although evidence suggests that some birds can make acoustic adjustments that preclude masking of their signals in high-disturbance environments such as cities, studies to date have tended [...] Read more.
Urban environments are characteristically noisy and this can pose a challenge for animals that communicate acoustically. Although evidence suggests that some birds can make acoustic adjustments that preclude masking of their signals in high-disturbance environments such as cities, studies to date have tended to focus on acoustic signals important in mate attraction (e.g., songs). Far less attention has been given to the impact of urban noise on other kinds of calls. To redress this, we compared a range of different vocalizations (encompassing alarm calls, begging calls and parent response calls) among urban and rural individuals of a successful Australian ‘urban adapter’, the Noisy miner, Manorina melanocephala. We found that urban miners had significantly higher minimum sound frequencies for calls with low base-frequencies (<2 kHz); however, calls with base-frequencies ‘naturally’ above the main frequency range of urban noise (>2 kHz) had the same minimum frequency in urban and rural birds. Dominant frequency and call duration did not differ between urban and rural individuals. Although urban Noisy miners exhibited differences from rural individuals in the minimum frequency of calls, this shift was not large enough to avoid masking from low-frequency, anthropogenic noise. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that the calls of Noisy miners may be naturally well suited to being heard in noisy urban environments by having (a) dominant frequencies higher than low-level, anthropogenic noise and (b) several important call-types with frequencies above the main frequency range associated with urban noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Brexit and Animal Welfare Impact Assessment: Analysis of the Threats Brexit Poses to Animal Protection in the UK, EU and Internationally
Animals 2019, 9(3), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030117
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
The British people voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Brexit presents both threats and opportunities to animal protection in the United Kingdom (UK), EU and internationally. This paper discusses threats to animal protection in terms of five criteria. [...] Read more.
The British people voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Brexit presents both threats and opportunities to animal protection in the United Kingdom (UK), EU and internationally. This paper discusses threats to animal protection in terms of five criteria. These are first, political context; second, regulatory changes; third, economic and trade factors; fourth, institutional and capacity-related factors; and fifth, EU and international considerations. The EU has the most progressive animal welfare laws in the world. The Conservative Government delivering Brexit has a mixed record on animal protection. Major time and resource constraints inherent in Brexit risk negatively impacting animal protection. Brexit is projected to have a negative economic impact, which is generally associated with lower animal welfare standards. The development of Brexit policy suggests there to be a substantial risk that the major threat of importing lower welfare products to the UK will materialise. Brexit will reduce the political influence of the progressive animal protection lobby in the EU. Post-Brexit, the politically and economically weakened EU and UK risks a detrimental impact on animal protection on an international scale. Brexit poses substantial threats to animal protection, with a high risk that many threats will materialise. Further research is needed to assess the opportunities presented by Brexit to judge whether Brexit will be overall positive or negative for animal protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animals in Policy, Politics and Society)
Open AccessArticle Insect Oil as An Alternative to Palm Oil and Poultry Fat in Broiler Chicken Nutrition
Animals 2019, 9(3), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030116
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of Tenebrio molitor (TM) oil as a total replacement for palm oil and poultry fat in broiler chicken diets on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, pancreatic enzyme activity, selected blood parameters and the lipid fatty acid [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of Tenebrio molitor (TM) oil as a total replacement for palm oil and poultry fat in broiler chicken diets on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, pancreatic enzyme activity, selected blood parameters and the lipid fatty acid compositions of liver and breast muscle tissues. A total of 72 seven-day-old female Ross 308 broiler chickens were used. The birds were randomly distributed into three groups with 12 replicates each, using two birds per replicate for 30 days in metabolic cages. The basal diet was supplemented with 5% palm oil, poultry fat or TM oil. There was no effect (p > 0.05) caused by the dietary oil replacement on the birds’ performance and apparent nutrient digestibility. Liver size (p = 0.033), the concentration of hepatic triglycerides (p = 0.049) and total cholesterol (p = 0.048) were reduced by TM oil supplementation. Furthermore, TM oil supplementation increased n-3 and n-6 fatty acids (p = 0.006; p < 0.001, respectively) in breast muscle tissue. In conclusion, the use of TM oil in broiler chickens’ diets did not show any adverse effects on performance, nutrient digestibility and blood biochemical parameters. Moreover, TM oil supplementation improved the fatty acid profiles of liver and breast muscle tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
Open AccessArticle Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens) as Dietary Source for Laying Quails: Live Performance, and Egg Physico-Chemical Quality, Sensory Profile and Storage Stability
Animals 2019, 9(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030115
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 22 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
Insects are promising candidates as alternative sustainable sources of protein for poultry species. The present research studied the effect of a dietary inclusion of a defatted black soldier fly (BSF) larvae meal as an alternative protein source in the diets of laying quails, [...] Read more.
Insects are promising candidates as alternative sustainable sources of protein for poultry species. The present research studied the effect of a dietary inclusion of a defatted black soldier fly (BSF) larvae meal as an alternative protein source in the diets of laying quails, on productive performance, egg physicochemical quality, fatty acid profile, sensory traits and storage stability. A total of 225 laying quails were divided into 3 dietary groups (5 replicates/each). A conventional soybean meal-based diet was formulated (Control group), and two other diets were formulated including either 10% (BSF10) or 15% (BSF15) defatted BSF larvae meal. Laying quails showed satisfactory productive performance throughout the trial. BSF10 and BSF15 eggs had the highest shape index (p < 0.01), shell weight and percentage (p < 0.001) and the most intense yolk color (p < 0.001). Defatted BSF larvae meal increased the eggs’ saturated fatty acid content (p < 0.001) to the detriment of the polyunsaturated fraction (p < 0.001). Overall the eggs’ sensory profile was not affected by the dietary treatment, but BSF15 eggs had a higher feed off-flavor vs Control group (p < 0.05). At day 28 of storage, oxidative stability was higher in BSF10 vs. Control eggs (p < 0.01). Defatted BSF larvae meal can be considered a possible alternative ingredient to soybean meal in laying quail diets, up to the 15% inclusion level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Open AccessArticle Relationship between SNPs of POU1F1 Gene and Litter Size and Growth Traits in Shaanbei White Cashmere Goats
Animals 2019, 9(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030114
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
POU (Pit-Oct-Unc) class 1 homeobox 1 (POU1F1, or Pit-1) is a transcription factor that directly regulates pituitary hormone-related genes, as well as affects the reproduction and growth in mammals. Thus, POU1F1 gene was investigated as a candidate gene for litter [...] Read more.
POU (Pit-Oct-Unc) class 1 homeobox 1 (POU1F1, or Pit-1) is a transcription factor that directly regulates pituitary hormone-related genes, as well as affects the reproduction and growth in mammals. Thus, POU1F1 gene was investigated as a candidate gene for litter size and growth performance in goats. In the current study, using direct DNA sequencing, c.682G > T, c.723T > G and c.837T > C loci were genotyped in Shaanbei white cashmere (SBWC) goats (n = 609), but c.876 + 110T > C was monomorphic. Besides, the c.682G > T locus was first identified by HinfI (Haemophilus influenzae Rf) restriction endonuclease. Association analysis results showed that the c.682G > T, c.837T > C loci and diplotypes were significantly associated with goat litter size (p < 0.05). The positive genotypes were GT and TT for the two SNPs, respectively, and the optimal diplotype was H3H7 (GTTT-TTTT). On the other hand, the c.682G > T, c.723T > G and c.837T > C strongly affected growth traits and body measurement indexes in SBWC goats (p < 0.05). The positive genotypes or allele of these SNPs were GT, G and TT, respectively. Additionally, the goats with H3H7 diplotype also had a greater growth status than others (p < 0.05). Here, individuals with same genotype had both a better litter size and growth traits, showing a positive correlation between these economic traits. Meanwhile, the positive genotypes of four SNPs were combined to obtain the optimal diplotype, which was also H3H7. These SNPs, especially the diplotype, could be used for the genomic selection of excellent individuals with a greater litter size and better growth status in goat breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminant)
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Open AccessArticle Habitat Selection of Wintering Birds in Farm Ponds in Taoyuan, Taiwan
Animals 2019, 9(3), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030113
Received: 2 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract
Farm ponds or irrigation ponds, providing a vital habitat for diverse bird communities, are an environmental feature with characteristics that cross over typical urban and natural conditions. In this study, the species richness and community structure of irrigation ponds were characterized on the [...] Read more.
Farm ponds or irrigation ponds, providing a vital habitat for diverse bird communities, are an environmental feature with characteristics that cross over typical urban and natural conditions. In this study, the species richness and community structure of irrigation ponds were characterized on the local and landscape scales. Within a landscape complex in the Taoyuan Tableland of Taiwan, 45 ponds were surveyed, ranging in areas from 0.2 to 20.47 ha. In total, 94 species and 15,053 individual birds were identified after surveying four times. The association between ponds and birds was determined to establish the effect of pond dimensions on species richness and community composition in the complex by comparing the responses of functional groups to pond configurations. Seven avian functional groups were identified. Compared with landbirds (i.e., families Alcedinidae, Apodidae, Icteridae, and Sturnidae), waterbirds (i.e., families Anatidae, Ardeidae, Charadriidae, Podicipedidae, and Scolopacidae) exhibited a stronger correlation with pond variables. Our study provides substantial evidence that these artificial ponds have influenced wintering waterbirds. The final results of this study may help stakeholders and land managers identify areas not to establish large-scale solar facilities considering waterbird habitats in pond areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Pregnancy-Associated Alterations of Peripheral Blood Immune Cell Numbers in Domestic Sows Are Modified by Social Rank
Animals 2019, 9(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030112
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract
During pregnancy, the maternal immune system is characterized by a shift from adaptive to innate immune functions. Besides, the immune system can be influenced by social rank. Detailed knowledge of pregnancy-associated immune changes and of the interplay of rank-associated and gestation-induced immunomodulations is [...] Read more.
During pregnancy, the maternal immune system is characterized by a shift from adaptive to innate immune functions. Besides, the immune system can be influenced by social rank. Detailed knowledge of pregnancy-associated immune changes and of the interplay of rank-associated and gestation-induced immunomodulations is still fragmentary in sows. This study investigates both the numbers of various blood leukocyte subpopulations during pregnancy and the influence of social rank position on progressing pregnancy-associated alterations in group-housed sows. Sows were classified as low (LR), middle (MR), or high-ranking (HR). Five blood samples were collected from each of the 35 sows throughout pregnancy to evaluate the distribution of blood lymphocyte subpopulations and plasma cortisol concentrations. The numbers of T, natural killer (NK), and B cells, cytotoxic T cells (CTL), and CD8+ γδ- T cells decreased during the last trimester of pregnancy, while neutrophils and plasma cortisol concentration increased before parturition. Social rank revealed different effects on B cells and monocytes with MR sows showing higher numbers than LR sows. Plasma cortisol concentrations also tended to be higher in MR sows as compared to LR sows. In conclusion, sows show pregnancy-associated alterations in the immune system, which are influenced by social rank, as middle-ranking sows in particular display signs of stress-induced immunomodulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
Open AccessArticle Patterns of Biodynamic Milk Fatty Acid Composition Explained by A Climate-Geographical Approach
Animals 2019, 9(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030111
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
Background: Biodynamic dairy production is based on a land-related animal production without the additional input of N-fertilizers. The concentrate level per cow is low. This affects the yield level of animals and product quality outcomes. Methods: We examined the milk fatty acid (FA) [...] Read more.
Background: Biodynamic dairy production is based on a land-related animal production without the additional input of N-fertilizers. The concentrate level per cow is low. This affects the yield level of animals and product quality outcomes. Methods: We examined the milk fatty acid (FA) composition of European biodynamic farms in relation to the ecological region of production and the farm’s climate conditions. Climate data were derived from existing maps describing ecological vegetation zones within Europe. Additionally, biodynamic shop milk was compared to conventional shop milk, based on a regional comparison. Results: The largest differences in the FA composition were between biodynamic summer and winter milk. We found increased proportions of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA-n3), monounsaturated FA (MUFA), and polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) in the summer milk. A principal component analysis expressed the structure that was present in the biodynamic farm milk samples, based on clusters of a single FA within four components. The components could be correlated with the season of production, the amount of precipitation, the elevation of the farm above sea level, and the length of the grazing season. Biodynamic shop milk in the summer had a lower n6/n3 PUFA ratio compared to the conventional shop milk in all regions of production. Mean values were 1.37 and 1.89, respectively. Conclusions: The differentiation of biodynamic milk FA composition is consistent with the existing knowledge about the effects of fresh grass, fodder, and ratio composition on the milk’s FA composition. Based on the n6/n3 PUFA ratio, the average biodynamic dairy cow had a high intake (>82%) of fresh grass and conserved roughage (hay and grass silage), especially in the summer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Different Dietary Calcium Levels on the Performance, Egg Quality, and Albumen Transparency of Laying Pigeons
Animals 2019, 9(3), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030110
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 13 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
In order to confirm the dietary calcium (Ca) requirement to keep a balance of the production performance and the albumen transparency, the study examined the effects of different dietary Ca levels on the production performance, egg quality, and albumen transparency of laying pigeons. [...] Read more.
In order to confirm the dietary calcium (Ca) requirement to keep a balance of the production performance and the albumen transparency, the study examined the effects of different dietary Ca levels on the production performance, egg quality, and albumen transparency of laying pigeons. 1080 pigeon pairs were randomly allocated into six treatment groups, each consisting of six replicates of 30 pigeon pairs per treatment. Ca levels of 0.60, 0.90, 1.20, 1.80, 2.40, and 3.00% were fed. The results showed that the laying rate, average egg weight, and feed to egg ratio were significantly influenced by Ca levels (p < 0.05). Albumen percentage, albumen height, Haugh unit, and eggshell thickness at 8 w and 16 w were significantly influenced by Ca levels (p < 0.05). The L*, a*, b*, and c* values of cooked albumen at 8 w and 16 w were all significantly influenced by Ca levels (p < 0.05). After 16 w of feeding different Ca levels, the percentage of transparent eggs had an early increasing and later decreasing trend. In conclusion, taking the transparency of pigeon eggs as an assessment index and considering production performance secondly, the optimal level of dietary Ca for laying White King pigeons is 0.90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle Variability in the Chemical Composition and In Vitro Ruminal Fermentation of Olive Cake By-Products
Animals 2019, 9(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030109
Received: 24 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the variability in the chemical composition and in vitro ruminal fermentation of olive cake (OC) by-products. Forty-two OC samples with different storage times (1–14 months) and processing (25 crude (COC), 9 exhausted (EOC) and 9 [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine the variability in the chemical composition and in vitro ruminal fermentation of olive cake (OC) by-products. Forty-two OC samples with different storage times (1–14 months) and processing (25 crude (COC), 9 exhausted (EOC) and 9 cyclone (CYOC)) were fermented in vitro with sheep ruminal fluid. Exhausted OC samples had a lower ether extract content than COC and CYOC (15.9, 110 and 157 g/kg dry matter (DM), respectively), but greater neutral detergent fiber (NDF; 645, 570 and 441 g/kg DM) and acid insoluble nitrogen (9.76, 8.10 and 8.05 g/kg DM) content. Exhausted OC had the greatest (p < 0.05) average gas production rate (AGPR), whereas the greatest fermented organic matter (FOM) was obtained for EOC and CYOC. The best single predictor of the AGPR was total sugars content (R2 = 0.898), whereas NDF was the best one for FOM (R2 = 0.767; p < 0.001). Statistical models using storage time as a predictor variable had lower accuracy and R2 values than those from the chemical composition. In summary, the nutritive value of OC was highly dependent on its processing, but its ether extract content did not negatively affect ruminal fermentation parameters, which could be estimated from either carbohydrate composition or storage time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
Open AccessReview Review of Sensor Technologies in Animal Breeding: Phenotyping Behaviors of Laying Hens to Select Against Feather Pecking
Animals 2019, 9(3), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030108
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
Damaging behaviors, like feather pecking (FP), have large economic and welfare consequences in the commercial laying hen industry. Selective breeding can be used to obtain animals that are less likely to perform damaging behavior on their pen-mates. However, with the growing tendency to [...] Read more.
Damaging behaviors, like feather pecking (FP), have large economic and welfare consequences in the commercial laying hen industry. Selective breeding can be used to obtain animals that are less likely to perform damaging behavior on their pen-mates. However, with the growing tendency to keep birds in large groups, identifying specific birds that are performing or receiving FP is difficult. With current developments in sensor technologies, it may now be possible to identify laying hens in large groups that show less FP behavior and select them for breeding. We propose using a combination of sensor technology and genomic methods to identify feather peckers and victims in groups. In this review, we will describe the use of “-omics” approaches to understand FP and give an overview of sensor technologies that can be used for animal monitoring, such as ultra-wideband, radio frequency identification, and computer vision. We will then discuss the identification of indicator traits from both sensor technologies and genomics approaches that can be used to select animals for breeding against damaging behavior. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Heat Stress and Stocking Density on Growth Performance, Breast Meat Quality, and Intestinal Barrier Function in Broiler Chickens
Animals 2019, 9(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030107
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
The present experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of heat stress (HS) and stocking density (SD) on growth performance, breast meat quality, and intestinal barrier function in broiler chickens. Experimental treatments included two different ambient temperatures (20 °C: thermoneutral conditions, or 27.8 [...] Read more.
The present experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of heat stress (HS) and stocking density (SD) on growth performance, breast meat quality, and intestinal barrier function in broiler chickens. Experimental treatments included two different ambient temperatures (20 °C: thermoneutral conditions, or 27.8 °C: HS conditions) and two different SD (low: 9 birds/m2 and high: 18 birds/m2) in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. A total of 1140 21-day-old broiler chickens were allotted 1 of 4 treatments with five replicates. At the end of the experiment (35 days of age), two birds per replicate were euthanized for sample collections. The results indicated no interactions between HS and SD for all measurements. For main effects, HS decreased (p < 0.05) the growth performance of broiler chickens. Similarly, high SD also decreased (p < 0.05) body weight gain and feed intake. HS decreased (p < 0.01) jejunal trans-epithelial electric resistance (TER), whereas high SD did not affect TER. Neither HS nor high SD affected jejunal tight junction-related gene expressions; however, high SD reduced (p < 0.05) occludin expression. In conclusion, HS and high SD are key environmental factors decreasing broiler performance; however, the interactive effects of HS and high SD are not significant under the current conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
Open AccessArticle Optimization of In Vitro Culture Conditions of Sturgeon Germ Cells for Purpose of Surrogate Production
Animals 2019, 9(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030106
Received: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 2 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
To expand germ cell populations and provide a consistent supply for transplantation, we established basal culture conditions for sturgeon germ cells and subsequently increased their mitotic activity by eliminating gonad somatic cells, supplementing with growth factor, and replacing fetal bovine serum (FBS). The [...] Read more.
To expand germ cell populations and provide a consistent supply for transplantation, we established basal culture conditions for sturgeon germ cells and subsequently increased their mitotic activity by eliminating gonad somatic cells, supplementing with growth factor, and replacing fetal bovine serum (FBS). The initial basal culture conditions were Leibovitz’s L-15 medium (pH 8.0) supplemented with 5% FBS (p < 0.001) at 21 °C. Proliferation of germ cells was significantly enhanced and maintained for longer periods by elimination of gonad somatic cells and culture under feeder-cell free conditions, with addition of leukemia inhibitory factor and glial-cell-derived neurotrophic factor (p < 0.001). A serum-free culture medium improved germ cell proliferation compared to the L-15 with FBS (p < 0.05). Morphology remained similar to that of fresh germ cells for at least 40 d culture. Germline-specific gene expression analysis revealed no significant changes to germ cells before and after culture. Sterlet Acipenser ruthenus germ cells cultured more than 40 days showed development after transplant into Russian sturgeon Acipenser gueldenstaedtii. Polymerase chain reaction showed 33.3% of recipient gonads to contain sterlet cells after four months. This study developed optimal culture condition for sturgeon germ cells. Germ cells after 40 d culture developed in recipient gonads. This study provided useful information for culture of sturgeon germ cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Histomorphological Comparisons and Expression Patterns of BOLL Gene in Sheep Testes at Different Development Stages
Animals 2019, 9(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030105
Received: 27 January 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
BOLL is implicated in mammalian testicular function maintenance and spermatogenesis. To understand the expression patterns and biological functions of sheep BOLL, we examined the expression and immunolocalization of BOLL in the developing testes of Small-Tail Han sheep aged 0 days (D0), 2 [...] Read more.
BOLL is implicated in mammalian testicular function maintenance and spermatogenesis. To understand the expression patterns and biological functions of sheep BOLL, we examined the expression and immunolocalization of BOLL in the developing testes of Small-Tail Han sheep aged 0 days (D0), 2 months (2M), 5 months (5M), 1 year (1Y), and 2 years (2Y), by qPCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry methods. Firstly, morphological studies revealed that, in addition to spermatogonia, ordered and clear spermatocytes, as well as round and elongated spermatids and sperm, were found in the 1Y and 2Y testicular seminiferous tubules of the sheep testes, compared with the D0, 2M, and 5M testes, as analyzed by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. The diameter and area of the seminiferous tubules, epithelial thickness, and the area and perimeter of the tubule lumens gradually increased with age. BOLL was specifically expressed in testes and upregulation of BOLL transcript expression was higher in the testes of the 1Y and 2Y groups than in those of the D0, 2M, and 5M groups. Similarly, BOLL protein was expressed mainly in the 1Y and 2Y testes, ranging from primary spermatocytes to round spermatids, as well as in the spermatozoa. This study is the first demonstration that sheep BOLL might serve as a key regulator of the spermiogenesis involved in sperm maturity, in addition to its role as a crucial meiotic regulator. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Stress-Induced Immunomodulation in Low and High Reactive Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030104
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between stress and temperament on the humoral immune response of ewes. Eighty ewes were allocated to one of four treatment groups in a 2 × 2 factorial design (n = 20 ewes/treatment): [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between stress and temperament on the humoral immune response of ewes. Eighty ewes were allocated to one of four treatment groups in a 2 × 2 factorial design (n = 20 ewes/treatment): low (LR) and high (HR) reactive ewes were either exposed to no stress (CON) or were visually isolated (STRESS). Ewes remained in treatment pens for 23 h: heart rate was measured continuously, and saliva samples were collected prior to testing and at 0.5 h and 23 h for measurement of cortisol, CarLA IgA and total IgA concentrations. After the first 0.5 h, heart rate was elevated, and cortisol concentrations tended to be higher, whereas CarLa IgA concentrations were lower in STRESS than CON ewes. Similarly, after 23 h, cortisol concentrations remained elevated and CarLA IgA concentrations remained lower in STRESS than CON ewes. Interestingly, total IgA concentrations were not influenced by a 0.5 h or 23 h stressor. Overall, CarLA IgA concentrations were lower in HR than LR ewes at 0.5 h, but there was no significant stress × temperament interaction. Therefore, stress appears to have an immunosuppressive effect on CarLA IgA but not total IgA concentrations in ewes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Strain and Rearing Medium on the Chemical Composition, Fatty Acid Profile and Carotenoid Content in Silkworm (Bombyx mori) Pupae
Animals 2019, 9(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030103
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The overexploitation of fishmeal and soy for the feedstuff industry has provided an opportunity to employ insects as an unconventional and more environmental friendly protein source. The evaluation of the nutritive properties of different insect species has consequently become a priority. The present [...] Read more.
The overexploitation of fishmeal and soy for the feedstuff industry has provided an opportunity to employ insects as an unconventional and more environmental friendly protein source. The evaluation of the nutritive properties of different insect species has consequently become a priority. The present study compares the pupal nutritive composition of two silkworm strains (White Cocoon Polyhybrid and Golden Yellow Cocoon Nistari) fed on two different rearing media (fresh mulberry leaves and a commercial artificial diet). Our results provide evidence that the composition of the feeding substrate strongly influences the fat and protein content of silkworm pupae. The two tested strains had higher fat and lower protein contents when fed with silkworm natural food (mulberry leaves) with respect to the commercial artificial diet. The analysis also showed that the n3/n6 ratio was affected almost exclusively by the feed substrate factor. On the contrary, the carotenoid content in pupae was specifically determined by the strain. The study identifies the interesting opportunity offered by silkworm pupae, which are usually a waste product of the silk-reeling process, to be used as alternative animal protein sources in a fully-closed circular production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Feeding Garlic Powder on Growth Performance, Rumen Fermentation, and the Health Status of Lambs Infected by Gastrointestinal Nematodes
Animals 2019, 9(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030102
Received: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
For the study, forty lambs were weighed and assigned into two treatments to determine the effects of feeding garlic powder on growth performance, rumen fermentation, and the health status of lambs infected with gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs). The lambs were fed with a basal [...] Read more.
For the study, forty lambs were weighed and assigned into two treatments to determine the effects of feeding garlic powder on growth performance, rumen fermentation, and the health status of lambs infected with gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs). The lambs were fed with a basal diet without or with 50 g/kg garlic powder for 84 d. Data were analyzed by a general linear or mixed model of SAS software and differences were considered statistically significant if p ≤ 0.05. Results showed that garlic powder supplementation increased the lambs’ average daily gain (p = 0.025), digestibility of dry matter (p = 0.019), and crude protein (p = 0.007). No significant changes were observed on the dry matter intake, feed conversion ratio, as well as the apparent digestibility of lipid and fiber. An interactive effect between treatment and feeding day was observed on ruminal pH (p < 0.001) and ammonia nitrogen concentration (p < 0.001). Ruminal pH (p < 0.001) and ammonia nitrogen concentration (p < 0.001) decreased with garlic powder supplementation, while ammonia nitrogen concentration increased (p = 0.001) with the extension of the feeding period. Garlic powder supplementation increased the total volatile fatty acid concentration (p < 0.001) in the rumen fluid, the molar proportion of acetic acid (p = 0.002), propionic acid (p < 0.001), and isovaleric acid (p = 0.049), but it decreased the ratio of acetic acid to propionic acid (p = 0.015). The lambs’ fecal egg count decreased (p < 0.001), but the packed cell volume and body condition scores of lambs increased (p < 0.001) with garlic powder supplementation. In conclusion, feeding garlic powder increased growth performance, feed digestion, rumen fermentation, and the health status of lambs infected with GINs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Knowledge of Stakeholders in the Livestock Industries of East and Southeast Asia about Welfare during Transport and Slaughter and Its Relation to Their Attitudes to Improving Animal Welfare
Animals 2019, 9(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030099
Received: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) sets standards and guidelines for international animal welfare for the international livestock trade. The growing economic advancement in the East and Southeast Asian region suggested the potential benefit of a research study to examine stakeholders’ understanding [...] Read more.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) sets standards and guidelines for international animal welfare for the international livestock trade. The growing economic advancement in the East and Southeast Asian region suggested the potential benefit of a research study to examine stakeholders’ understanding of animal welfare during the transport and slaughter of livestock. A survey of stakeholders’ knowledge of livestock welfare in the transport and slaughter industries was conducted in four Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Thailand, in association with trainer and stakeholder workshops conducted in each country. The attitudes of participants towards animal welfare during slaughter and transport were also identified. Knowledge scores were in accordance with the respondents’ assessment of their own knowledge level. The biggest knowledge improvement was among Thai respondents, who tended to be younger and less experienced than in other countries. The respondents with the biggest improvement in knowledge scores were most likely to be involved in the dairy industry and least likely to be involved in the sheep and goat industries, with meat processors and those involved in pig or poultry production intermediate. The respondents who obtained their knowledge from multiple sources had most knowledge, but it increased the least after training. Connections between attitudes to improving animal welfare and knowledge were limited, being mainly confined to ambivalent responses about their attitudes. The study suggests that knowledge can be improved in animal welfare training programs focused on livestock welfare around transport and slaughter, but that local cultural backgrounds must be considered in designing the program. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae and Pre-Pupae Raised on Household Organic Waste, as Potential Ingredients for Poultry Feed
Animals 2019, 9(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030098
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae and pre-pupae could be satisfactorily raised on household organic waste and used as poultry feed, offering a potential sustainable way to recycle untapped resources of waste. The present study was conducted to determine if whole (non-defatted) BSF larvae [...] Read more.
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae and pre-pupae could be satisfactorily raised on household organic waste and used as poultry feed, offering a potential sustainable way to recycle untapped resources of waste. The present study was conducted to determine if whole (non-defatted) BSF larvae and pre-pupae raised on experimental household waste could substitute soybean meal and oil as ingredients for laying hen diets. While no significant differences in feed intake and the egg-laying rate of hens were observed throughout the experiment, egg weight and eggshell thickness were greater in the pre-pupae-fed group than in the other groups. Moreover, although diversity of the cecal microbiota was significantly higher in the pre-pupae-fed than in the control group, no significant differences in bacterial genera known to cause food poisoning were observed when comparing the treatment groups. Nonetheless, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium populations were significantly lower in the treatment than in the control group. Fat content in BSF was possibly related with the changes in the cecal microbiota. Hence, since BSF fat was deficient in essential fatty acids, special attention should be paid to the fat content and its fatty acid composition in the case of regular inclusion of BSF larvae and pre-pupae oil as an ingredient in poultry diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Open AccessArticle Husbandry Practices, Health, and Welfare Status of Organic Broilers in France
Animals 2019, 9(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030097
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Organic poultry production has increased sharply with growing consumer demand in the context of sustainable development. A study was conducted in 85 organic broiler flocks between 2014 and 2015 to describe the husbandry practices and the health and welfare status of organic broilers [...] Read more.
Organic poultry production has increased sharply with growing consumer demand in the context of sustainable development. A study was conducted in 85 organic broiler flocks between 2014 and 2015 to describe the husbandry practices and the health and welfare status of organic broilers in France, and to study farming diversity by comparing independent farms (Ind farms, n = 15) with direct sales to farms working with companies (Comp farms, n = 70). Each flock was visited at 3 and 11 weeks of age to collect data on farming conditions, health disorders, and mortality. Welfare notation of 30 broilers per flock and parasitic examination of 5 broilers per flock was also performed. Findings showed significantly different farming management between Ind farms and Comp farms, with smaller flocks on the Ind farms (476 broilers/house vs. 3062 broilers/house, p < 0.01) more frequently in mobile houses. The mean mortality rate was 2.8%, mainly involving digestive disorders. Helminths were detected in 58.8% of the flocks. On average, 21.9% and 5.8% of broilers in a flock had footpad dermatitis and dirty feathers, respectively. The health and welfare characteristics of organic broilers on Ind farms vs. Comp farms were not significantly different, except dirtier feathers and more footpad dermatitis on Ind farms (19.1% vs. 2.9%, p = 0.03 and 39.6% vs. 18.1%, p = 0.02, respectively), associated with poultry housing conditions in mobile houses (p < 0.01). This study provides greater insight into farming sustainability aspects related to the husbandry practices, and the health and welfare of organic broilers in France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Nest Defense Behaviors of Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) from Finland and Montana
Animals 2019, 9(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030096
Received: 24 December 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 2 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
As human impacts on wildlife have become a topic of increasing interest, studies have focused on issues such as overexploitation and habitat loss. However, little research has examined potential anthropogenic impacts on animal behavior. Understanding the degree to which human interaction may alter [...] Read more.
As human impacts on wildlife have become a topic of increasing interest, studies have focused on issues such as overexploitation and habitat loss. However, little research has examined potential anthropogenic impacts on animal behavior. Understanding the degree to which human interaction may alter natural animal behavior has become increasingly important in developing effective conservation strategies. We examined two populations of northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) in Montana and Finland. Goshawks in Finland were not protected until the late 1980s, and prior to this protection were routinely shot, as it was believed that shooting goshawks would keep grouse populations high. In the United States, Goshawk were not managed as predator control. Though aggressive nest defense has been characterized throughout North America, goshawks in Finland do not show this same behavior. To quantify aggression, we presented nesting goshawks with an owl decoy, a human mannequin, and a live human and recorded their responses to each of the trial conditions. We evaluated the recordings for time of response, duration of response, whether or not an active stimulus was present to elicit the response (i.e., movement or sound), and the sex of the bird making the response. We used t-Test with unequal variance to compare mean number of responses and response duration. Our results suggested that goshawks in Montana exhibit more aggressive nest defense behaviors than those in Finland. While this could be due to some biotic or abiotic factor that we were not able to control for in a study on such a small scale, it is also possible that the results from this study suggest another underlying cause, such as an artificial selection pressure created by shooting goshawks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Different Environment Enrichments on Behaviour and Social Interactions in Growing Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030101
Received: 23 January 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
(1) Background: Pigs are active animals that require a suitable environment to be able to express their exploratory behaviour. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of different environmental enrichments on the behaviour, social interactions, salivary cortisol concentration and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Pigs are active animals that require a suitable environment to be able to express their exploratory behaviour. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of different environmental enrichments on the behaviour, social interactions, salivary cortisol concentration and body weight of pigs during the growing phase. (2) Methods: The investigation involved 75 pigs divided into three groups. The environmental enrichments were arranged as follows: Hanging metal chains for the control group; hanging metal chains and hanging logs for the second group; hanging metal chains and logs laying on the floor for the third group. Each group was video recorded twice a week for six weeks. The scan sampling technique was used. Salivary cortisol and live body weight were also recorded regularly. Parametric (ANOVA) and non-parametric statistics were used to analyse the data. (3) Results: Hanging logs were found to be more effective than logs laying on the floor at reducing aggression within the group tested, resulting in a more comfortable environment. Salivary cortisol concentration and growth did not show significant differences between the three groups. (4) Conclusions: The use of hanging logs affected some interactive patterns that resulted in decreasing the aggressive episodes of pigs, thereby providing a more comfortable environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Enrichment of Pigs)
Open AccessArticle Replacement of Fish Meal by Defatted Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) Larvae in Diet Improves Growth Performance and Disease Resistance in Red Seabream (Pargus major)
Animals 2019, 9(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030100
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) larvae are a potential alternative animal protein source for sustainable aquaculture. However, reports on the successful complete substitution of fish meal with yellow mealworm larvae in an aquaculture diet have been limited. In this study, we conducted [...] Read more.
Yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) larvae are a potential alternative animal protein source for sustainable aquaculture. However, reports on the successful complete substitution of fish meal with yellow mealworm larvae in an aquaculture diet have been limited. In this study, we conducted a feeding trial with red seabream (Pagrus major) being fed diets with partial or complete replacement of fish meal with yellow mealworm larvae defatted with a hexane–ethanol solution. Feed intake in red seabream increased in accordance with yellow mealworm larvae inclusion, and diets including 65% defatted mealworm larvae (complete replacement of fish meal) showed significant growth promotion. The addition of the oil fraction from mealworm larvae to diets resulted in growth reduction, despite meeting the nutritional requirements of red seabream. Moreover, the survival rate of red seabreams fed diets with partial replacement of fish meal with mealworm larvae was significantly higher in a challenge test with pathogenic Edwardsiella tarda bacteria. The present study demonstrated that yellow mealworm larvae are not merely an alternative animal protein, but have potential as functional feed ingredients for aquaculture production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle Paulownia Leaves as A New Feed Resource: Chemical Composition and Effects on Growth, Carcasses, Digestibility, Blood Biochemistry, and Intestinal Bacterial Populations of Growing Rabbits
Animals 2019, 9(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030095
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
This experiment was conducted to study the effects of paulownia leaf meal (PLM) as a nontraditional feed on the growth, carcasses, digestibility, blood chemistry, and intestinal microbiota of growing rabbits. Sixty rabbits (5-weeks old) were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments containing three [...] Read more.
This experiment was conducted to study the effects of paulownia leaf meal (PLM) as a nontraditional feed on the growth, carcasses, digestibility, blood chemistry, and intestinal microbiota of growing rabbits. Sixty rabbits (5-weeks old) were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments containing three amounts of PLM (0%, 15%, and 30%). The results showed that PLM has a higher content of ether extract, organic matter, methionine, tyrosine, histidine, manganese, and zinc than alfalfa hay. Body weight gain decreased when 30% PLM was provided. The best feed conversion ratio was recorded in the rabbits fed 15% PLM. A notable increase in high-density lipoprotein levels with a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein was noted in the rabbits fed the PLM diets. Total fungi and Enterobacteriaceae and total bacterial count in the feed were significantly reduced because of PLM. In the cecum, coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae species, and total bacterial count declined in the rabbits fed the PLM diets. Conclusively, up to 15% PLM can be used in rabbit diets without any deleterious effects on the performance, nutrient digestibility, and blood constituents. In addition, dietary inclusion of PLM has the potential to reduce cecal pathogenic bacteria in rabbits. Full article
Open AccessArticle Parasitic Nematode and Protozoa Status of Working Sheepdogs on the North Island of New Zealand
Animals 2019, 9(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030094
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
Working farm dogs in New Zealand may have a high parasitic challenge because of access to raw meat and close contact with other dogs. This cross-sectional study aimed to estimate the percentage of dogs with gastrointestinal nematode and protozoan parasite lifecycle stages present [...] Read more.
Working farm dogs in New Zealand may have a high parasitic challenge because of access to raw meat and close contact with other dogs. This cross-sectional study aimed to estimate the percentage of dogs with gastrointestinal nematode and protozoan parasite lifecycle stages present in their feces and to identify factors associated with the presence of parasites. A single researcher collected information about the dogs and their management via a questionnaire, body condition scored (BCS) the dogs, and collected fecal samples to determine the parasite burden. Fecal samples were collected from 171 dogs and 40% (95% CI 33.0% to 47.7%) contained parasite ova or (oo)cysts. There was no association between BCS and the presence of nematodes and parasites (p = 0.74) in the feces. The percentage of dogs with parasites present in their feces was not associated with BCS or the frequency with which anthelmintic drugs were reportedly administered (p = 0.61). The high percentage of dogs with parasites are of concern for the health of the dogs and their owners, given the zoonotic potential of some parasites. Further, research should also focus on understanding why reporting giving anthelmintic drugs at least every three months did not eliminate the infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Topics of Current Concern for Companion Animals)
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Open AccessArticle Uterine Involution and Reproductive Performance in Dairy Cows with Metabolic Diseases
Animals 2019, 9(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030093
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 2 February 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of metabolic diseases on uterine involution and reproductive performance during the postpartum period. Multiparous Holstein dairy cows (n = 50) were divided into four groups based on whether they were healthy ( [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of metabolic diseases on uterine involution and reproductive performance during the postpartum period. Multiparous Holstein dairy cows (n = 50) were divided into four groups based on whether they were healthy (n = 14), or had lipomobilization (n = 14), hypocalcemia (n = 11), and hyperketonemia (n = 11). Transrectal palpation and transrectal B-Mode sonography were carried out on days 7, 14, 21, 30, 45 and 60 after parturition. Cows with metabolic disease had a greater (p < 0.05) uterine size as assessed transrectally compared with cows without metabolic disease. Sonographic measurements revealed a greater (p < 0.05) horn diameter and endometrial thickness in cows of the metabolic disease groups than in the healthy cows. Metabolic disease affected (p < 0.05) the milk yield, percentage of service per pregnancy, days to first ovulation and days open. In conclusion, metabolic disease affected the uterine involution and fertility during the postpartum period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Microarray Analysis Suggests Transcriptomic Response May Not Play a Major Role in High- to Low-Altitude Acclimation in Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus)
Animals 2019, 9(3), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030092
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 10 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
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Abstract
The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) is a small rodent species with a wide range of vertical distribution in Taiwan, extending from the sea level to 3100 m altitude. This species has recently suffered from habitat loss in high-altitude areas due to [...] Read more.
The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) is a small rodent species with a wide range of vertical distribution in Taiwan, extending from the sea level to 3100 m altitude. This species has recently suffered from habitat loss in high-altitude areas due to orchard cultivation, which may have resulted in mouse migration from high to low altitude. To investigate whether there is any physiological mechanism involved in altitude acclimation, rat cDNA microarray was used to compare transcriptomic patterns of the skeletal muscle tissues taken from individuals native to the high-altitude environment and those transferred to the low-altitude captive site. Of the 23,188 genes being analyzed, 47 (33 up-regulated and 14 down-regulated) were found to have differential expression (fold change > 4 or < −4, ANOVA p < 0.05). However, after multiple testing correction with a false discovery rate (FDR), only the result for Tnfrsf12a was found to be statistically significant (fold change = 13, FDR p < 0.05). The result was confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR). The expression of Tnfrsf12a possibly relates to the skeletal muscle biology and thus can be correlated with altitude acclimation. However, finding only one gene transcript with significant alteration suggests that transcriptomic response may not play a major role in high- to low-altitude acclimation in harvest mouse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle The Development and Evaluation of ‘Farm Animal Welfare’: An Educational Computer Game for Children
Animals 2019, 9(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030091
Received: 9 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
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Abstract
Many children growing up in urban areas of Western countries have limited contact with and knowledge of farm animals and food production systems. Education can play an important role in children’s understanding of farm animal welfare issues, however, most education provided focuses on [...] Read more.
Many children growing up in urban areas of Western countries have limited contact with and knowledge of farm animals and food production systems. Education can play an important role in children’s understanding of farm animal welfare issues, however, most education provided focuses on pets. There is a need to develop new farm animal welfare interventions for young children. This study examines the process of designing, developing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a new theoretically-driven digital game to teach children, aged 6–13 years, about farm animal welfare. ‘Farm Animal Welfare’ aimed to promote children’s knowledge about animal welfare, promote beliefs about animal sentience, and promote positive attitudes and compassion. A quasi-experimental design was carried out, using self-report questionnaires that children (n = 133, test = 69, control = 64) completed in the classroom. Test and control groups were from different schools and the control group did not engage in the intervention. Findings indicate a positive impact on beliefs about animal minds, knowledge about animal welfare needs, and knowledge about welfare in different farming systems, but there was no change in compassion or attitudes about cruelty. This study presents the first evaluation of a digital animal welfare education intervention for children, demonstrating the benefits of incorporating ‘serious games’ into farm animal welfare education. The findings will inform future practice around farm animal welfare education interventions for primary school children. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Production Phase Affects the Bioaerosol Microbial Composition and Functional Potential in Swine Confinement Buildings
Animals 2019, 9(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030090
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 10 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
Bioaerosols from swine confinement buildings (SCBs) pose a challenge to public health,
and microorganisms within the SCBs bioaerosols originate from swine feces, of which the microbial
composition is associated with the production phase. The present study adopted the whole
metagenome shotgun sequencing approach, [...] Read more.
Bioaerosols from swine confinement buildings (SCBs) pose a challenge to public health,
and microorganisms within the SCBs bioaerosols originate from swine feces, of which the microbial
composition is associated with the production phase. The present study adopted the whole
metagenome shotgun sequencing approach, to assess the effects of the production phase on the
composition and functional potential of microbial populations in SCBs bioaerosols. Most annotated
proteins were assigned into domain bacteria, within which the predominant phylum was Firmicutes.
The taxonomical profiles of bioaerosols from different types of piggeries showed that buildings
housing weaning piglets (WP) exhibited higher abundances of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria than
buildings housing finishing pigs (FP), gestating sows (GS), farrowing sows (FS), and breeding boars
(BB). Regarding the functional potential, the WP bioaerosol had more genes involved in the protein
turnover and fewer genes involved in the carbohydrate metabolism than bioaerosols from other
types of SCBs. Furthermore, production phase influenced the antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs)
profile of the SCBs bioaerosols. Bioaerosol microbiome of BB, shared a high similarity with GS, and
WP bioaerosol microbiome was more similar to FP than other types of SCBs. Our study suggests
that the production phase plays a key role in the SCBs bioaerosol microbiome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Dietary Carbohydrate-to-Protein Ratio on Gut Microbiota in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)
Animals 2019, 9(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030089
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
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Abstract
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a carnivorous fish species whose productive performance tends to be suboptimal when fed low-cost carbohydrate rich meals. It is of interest to study the dynamics of gut microbiota communities in salmonids fed high carbohydrate diets since [...] Read more.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a carnivorous fish species whose productive performance tends to be suboptimal when fed low-cost carbohydrate rich meals. It is of interest to study the dynamics of gut microbiota communities in salmonids fed high carbohydrate diets since gut microbes are referred to as key players that influence the metabolism and physiology of the host. A study was conducted to determine the effect of feeding a high carbohydrate diet to Atlantic salmon in gut microbiota communities. A medium carbohydrate (15% wheat starch)/medium protein (MC/MP) diet or a high carbohydrate (30% wheat starch)/low protein (HC/LP) diet was fed to triplicate tanks (28 fish each) during four weeks. We conducted an in-depth characterization of the distal intestine digesta microbiota using high-throughput sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria were the major phyla determined in either experimental group. Phylum Planctomycetes, class Planctomycetia, order Planctomycetales and genus Lactococcus were significantly more abundant in fish fed the HC/LP diet compared with fish fed the MC/MP diet. Our study suggests feeding a carbohydrate rich meal to salmon exerts a low impact on the structure of gut microbial communities, affecting mostly low-abundance bacteria capable of metabolizing anaerobically carbohydrates as a major energy-yielding substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
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