Animals2015, 5(2), 226-244; doi:10.3390/ani5020226 - published 10 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transport is a critical factor in modern pork production and can seriously affect swine welfare. While previous research has explored thermal conditions during transport, the impact of extreme weather conditions on the trailer thermal environment under industry practices has not been well documented; and the critical factors impacting microclimate are not well understood. To assess the trailer microclimate during transport events, an instrumentation system was designed and installed at the central ceiling level, pig level and floor-level in each of six zones inside a commercial swine trailer. Transport environmental data from 34 monitoring trips (approximately 1–4 h in duration each) were collected from May, 2012, to February, 2013, with trailer management corresponding to the National Pork Board Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) guidelines in 31 of these trips. According to the TQA guidelines, for outdoor temperature ranging from 5 °C (40 °F) to 27 °C (80 °F), acceptable thermal conditions were observed based on the criteria that no more than 10% of the trip duration was above 35 °C (95 °F) or below 0 °C (32 °F). Recommended bedding, boarding and water application were sufficient in this range. Measurements support relaxing boarding guidelines for moderate outdoor conditions, as this did not result in less desirable conditions. Pigs experienced extended undesirable thermal conditions for outdoor temperatures above 27 °C (80 °F) or below 5 °C (40 °F), meriting a recommendation for further assessment of bedding, boarding and water application guidelines for extreme outdoor temperatures. An Emergency Livestock Weather Safety Index (LWSI) condition was observed inside the trailer when outdoor temperature exceeded 10 °C (50 °F); although the validity of LWSI to indicate heat stress for pigs during transport is not well established. Extreme pig surface temperatures in the rear and middle zones of the trailer were more frequently experienced than in the front zones, and the few observations of pigs dead or down upon arrival were noted in these zones. Observations indicate that arranging boarding placement may alter the ventilation patterns inside the trailer.
Animals2015, 5(2), 214-225; doi:10.3390/ani5020214 - published 10 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gulls are commonly attracted to landfills, and managers are often required to implement cost-effective and socially accepted deterrence programs. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive program that integrated the use of trained birds of prey, pyrotechnics, and playback of gull distress calls at a landfill located close to a large ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) colony near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We used long-term survey data on bird use of the landfill, conducted behavioral observations of gulls during one season and tracked birds fitted with GPS data loggers. We also carried out observations at another landfill located farther from the colony, where less refuse was brought and where a limited culling program was conducted. The integrated program based on falconry resulted in a 98% decrease in the annual total number of gulls counted each day between 1995 and 2014. A separate study indicated that the local breeding population of ring-billed gulls increased and then declined during this period but remained relatively large. In 2010, there was an average (±SE) of 59 ± 15 gulls/day using the site with falconry and only 0.4% ± 0.2% of these birds were feeding. At the other site, there was an average of 347 ± 55 gulls/day and 13% ± 3% were feeding. Twenty-two gulls tracked from the colony made 41 trips towards the landfills: twenty-five percent of the trips that passed by the site with falconry resulted in a stopover that lasted 22 ± 7 min compared to 85% at the other landfill lasting 63 ± 15 min. We concluded that the integrated program using falconry, which we consider more socially acceptable than selective culling, was effective in reducing the number of gulls at the landfill.
Animals2015, 5(2), 206-213; doi:10.3390/ani5020206 - published 31 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Unusual behavior before earthquakes has been reported for millennia but no plausible mechanism has been identified. One possible way in which animals could be affected by pre-earthquake processes is via stress activated positive holes leading to the formation of hydrogen peroxide at the rock water interface. Aquatic and fossorial animals could be irritated by H2O2 and move down the concentration gradient. Here, we carry out avoidance tests with hydrogen peroxide in two model organisms; Daphniapulex and earthworms. Daphnia were found to move away from increasing concentrations of H2O2 but earthworms appeared unaffected. It is possible that earthworm swarming behavior, reported frequently before earthquakes, is caused by electric field shifts or another unknown mechanism, whereas zooplankton may be affected by increasing levels of H2O2.
Animals2015, 5(2), 193-205; doi:10.3390/ani5020193 - published 31 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Manure management in livestock makes a significant contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions in the Agriculture; Forestry and Other Land Use category in South Africa. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions are prevalent in contrasting manure management systems; promoting anaerobic and aerobic conditions respectively. In this paper; both Tier 1 and modified Tier 2 approaches of the IPCC guidelines are utilized to estimate the emissions from South African livestock manure management. Activity data (animal population, animal weights, manure management systems, etc.) were sourced from various resources for estimation of both emissions factors and emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. The results show relatively high methane emissions factors from manure management for mature female dairy cattle (40.98 kg/year/animal), sows (25.23 kg/year/animal) and boars (25.23 kg/year/animal). Hence, contributions for pig farming and dairy cattle are the highest at 54.50 Gg and 32.01 Gg respectively, with total emissions of 134.97 Gg (3104 Gg CO2 Equivalent). Total nitrous oxide emissions are estimated at 7.10 Gg (2272 Gg CO2 Equivalent) and the three main contributors are commercial beef cattle; poultry and small-scale beef farming at 1.80 Gg; 1.72 Gg and 1.69 Gg respectively. Mitigation options from manure management must be taken with care due to divergent conducive requirements of methane and nitrous oxide emissions requirements.
Animals2015, 5(2), 173-192; doi:10.3390/ani5020173 - published 26 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Common to many of the repeated issues surrounding animals in disasters in the U.S. is a pre-existing weak animal health infrastructure that is under constant pressure resulting from pet overpopulation. Unless this root cause is addressed, communities remain vulnerable to similar issues with animals they and others have faced in past disasters. In the US the plight of animals in disasters is frequently viewed primarily as a response issue and frequently handled by groups that are not integrated with the affected community’s emergency management. In contrast, animals, their owners, and communities would greatly benefit from integrating animal issues into an overall emergency management strategy for the community. There is no other factor contributing as much to human evacuation failure in disasters that is under the control of emergency management when a threat is imminent as pet ownership. Emergency managers can take advantage of the bond people have with their animals to instill appropriate behavior amongst pet owners in disasters.
Animals2015, 5(2), 161-172; doi:10.3390/ani5020161 - published 25 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Objective—Feline upper respiratory infection (URI) is a common, multi-factorial infectious disease syndrome endemic to many animal shelters. Although a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in shelter cats, URI is seldom formally monitored in shelter cat populations. Without monitoring, effective control and prevention of this often endemic disease is difficult. We looked at an integrated case management software system a for animal care organizations, widely used in shelters across the United States. Shelter staff routinely enter information regarding individual animals and disease status, but do not commonly use the software system to track frequency of disease. The purpose of this study was to determine if the software system a can be used to track URI frequency and selected risk factors in a population, and to evaluate the quality and completeness of the data as currently collected in a shelter. Design (type of study)—Descriptive Survey. Animals (or Sample)—317 cats in an animal shelter. Procedures—Reports from the software system a containing data regarding daily inventory, daily intake, animal identification, location, age, vaccination status, URI diagnosis and URI duration were evaluated. The reports were compared to data collected manually by an observer (Ann Therese Kommedal) to assess discrepancies, completeness, timeliness, availability and accuracy. Data were collected 6 days a week over a 4 week period. Results—Comparisons between the software system a reports and manually collected reports showed that 93% of inventory reports were complete and of these 99% were accurate. Fifty-two percent of the vaccination reports were complete, of which 97% were accurate. The accuracy of the software system’s age reports was 76%. Two-hundred and twenty-three cats were assigned a positive or negative URI diagnosis by the observer. The predictive value of the URI status in the software system a was below 60% both for positive and negative URI diagnosis. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—data currently collected and entered into the software systems in the study shelter, was not useful for tracking URI frequency and risk factors, due to issues with both data quality and capture. However, the potential exists to increase the practicality and usefulness of this shelter software system to monitor URI and other diseases. Relevant data points, i.e., health status at intake and outcome, vaccination date and status, as well as age, should be made mandatory to facilitate more useful data collection and reporting.