Insights on Donkey, Mule, and Horse Welfare - Causes, Solutions, and Prospects

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019) | Viewed by 81757

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Interests: disasters; welfare; equine; neonatal; neurology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Donkeys, mules, and horses have played a central role in societies throughout history. These animals were central to agriculture, transportation, warfare, and played vital roles in building cities and roads before the development of the automobile. Today there are an estimated 100 million working horses, mules, and donkeys worldwide. In wealthier societies of North America, Western Europe, and Japan equids are involved in sport and performance, and personal ownership as companion animals. In contrast, most horses, mules, and donkeys are working draft animals in the rest of the world, serving an entirely different function in civilization.  The awareness of the welfare needs in all these diverse and culturally different environments has been a growing concern worldwide. Welfare science seeks to obtain relevant research to answer questions to improve the lives of equids in their various roles around the world and expand welfare beyond the five freedoms toward a goal of a life worth living.

Entities such as the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) have recently expanded their efforts in support of the welfare of equids by creating formal agreements with coalitions of animal welfare organizations  (ICFAW), representing over 150 organizations dedicated to improving the welfare of equids. The complex interactions of equids involve government, human interaction, environments affected by climate change, environmental regulations, economics, sentience awareness,  and the human-animal bond.  Identification of new solutions to welfare issues can come from research. Sciences which can aid improvement of the welfare of these animals include behavior, ethics, nutrition, feeds and feeding, infectious diseases, farrier education, dentistry, disaster response, education, parasitology, preventive and internal medicine, among others.  

Additionally, it is becoming apparent that there are welfare issues in the management of feral horses and donkeys. The successful adaptations of equids, especially in arid and semi-arid lands has led to controversies, such as overpopulation on government lands, right to exist in new environments, and the value of megafauna in the “rewilding” of lands where humans have lived for millennia.  When considered with the issues of unwanted horses, performance horse medication, transportation of equids, equid slaughter, training methodology, racehorse breakdown, equine abuse and neglect, and the lives of working horses, there is apparently an opportunity for research and discussion in a wide welfare context.

This special issue is seeking information including reviews, and original research on causes, solutions, and prospects for improved welfare of horses, donkeys and mules. We seek to obtain a greater understanding of the factors affecting the qualities of life of these animals which are so important economically and for the pleasure of their presence in the lives of many humans.

Prof. John Madigan
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Welfare
  • Donkey
  • Mule
  • Horse
  • Equid
  • Suffering
  • Working
  • Behavior
  • Ethics
  • Nutrition
  • Farrier
  • Dentistry
  • Preventive medicine

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 13473 KiB  
Article
Description of Placement Procedures for Common Methods Used in Equine Emergency Rescue Using a Simplified Loops System
by John Madigan, Lais Costa, Samantha Nieves, Molly Horgan, Kirsten Weberg and Monica Aleman
Animals 2019, 9(8), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080529 - 5 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5328
Abstract
Entrapped, stranded and recumbent equids often require emergency rescue. The success of the rescue is often affected by secondary injuries from struggling of the horse to rise and from injury secondary to attempted rescue by pulling on the head or limbs of the [...] Read more.
Entrapped, stranded and recumbent equids often require emergency rescue. The success of the rescue is often affected by secondary injuries from struggling of the horse to rise and from injury secondary to attempted rescue by pulling on the head or limbs of the equid. Therefore, having ready access to simplified rescue equipment which can be easily applied would be desirable. The devices currently available for these manipulations are not always readily available at the site of an incident. Here, we describe and illustrate the step-by-step use of a Loops System consisting of 183 cm round slings, which can be positioned on the recumbent horse utilizing commercially available and reasonably priced equipment. The Loops System is basically composed of four round slings placed in such a way that utilizes the skeletal system for support. The procedures are illustrated utilizing a recumbent life-size horse model or mannequin. We suggest that the Loops System kit may allow enhanced ability for responders to provide care to a recumbent horse. Full article
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8 pages, 1205 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Simplified Loops System for Emergency Rescue Lifting of the Stranded or Recumbent Horse
by John Madigan, Lais Costa, Samantha Nieves, Molly Horgan, Kirsten Weberg and Monica Aleman
Animals 2019, 9(8), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080511 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6648
Abstract
Stranded and recumbent equids often require emergency rescue, and a successful rescue often requires vertical lifting of the animal. Currently, the devices used for vertical lifting of equids are not readily available at an incident or urgent situation. The current study describes and [...] Read more.
Stranded and recumbent equids often require emergency rescue, and a successful rescue often requires vertical lifting of the animal. Currently, the devices used for vertical lifting of equids are not readily available at an incident or urgent situation. The current study describes and evaluates the use of a simple lift device utilizing commercially available, and reasonably priced, equipment. The system, referred to as the Loop Vertical Lift System or Loops System, is basically composed of four round slings placed in such a way that utilizes the skeletal system for support. The study demonstrates the lifting of six standing, sedated adult horses for 3 min without adverse effects. In conclusion, this novel lift system is an affordable, practical and quick alternative to rescue a stranded or recumbent horse that requires a brief vertical lift of the animal. In contrast, for longer-term lifting and support, other devices such as the UC Davis Large Animal Lift, the Anderson Sling Support Device, or the Animal Rescue and Transport Sling (ARTS) should be used as deemed appropriate. Full article
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13 pages, 2797 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Report of the Caseload of Donkeys and Mules Presented to a Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital over a Ten-Year Period
by Lais R. R. Costa, Monica Aleman and Eric Davis
Animals 2019, 9(7), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070413 - 3 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2882
Abstract
Comprehensive reports of the caseload of donkeys and mules in veterinary hospitals in the United States are lacking. We compiled the information of the caseload of donkeys and mules at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis for a [...] Read more.
Comprehensive reports of the caseload of donkeys and mules in veterinary hospitals in the United States are lacking. We compiled the information of the caseload of donkeys and mules at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis for a ten-year period, from 2008 to 2017. The overall equid caseload was 94,147, of which 996 (1.06%) were donkeys and mules. Most of the neonates seen were mules. Most miniature donkeys were between 2 and 10 years of age, and standard donkeys and mules were 10 to 20 years old. The body condition scores were predominantly high, especially in donkeys. Most miniature and standard donkeys resided in sanctuary and rescue farms and their use was not stated. Most mules were used for riding, packing or driving. Medical complaints represented 62% of the total visits and wellness visits represented 38% of total visits. The donkeys and mules in the case population described here received a good standard of veterinary care with regular vaccinations, deworming, routine dental care, and treatment of ailments. Our study is the first report of the life expectancy, use, body condition, preventative health and veterinary medical care of a population of donkeys and mules in the western United States. Full article
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10 pages, 353 KiB  
Communication
Behavioral and Physiological Differences between Working Horses and Chilean Rodeo Horses in a Handling Test
by Paula Rosselot, Tiago Mendonça, Igor González and Tamara Tadich
Animals 2019, 9(7), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070397 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3389
Abstract
Non-invasive measures are preferred when assessing animal welfare. Differences in behavioral and physiological responses toward a stressor could be the result of the selection of horses for specific uses. Behavioral and physiological responses of working and Chilean rodeo horses subjected to a handling [...] Read more.
Non-invasive measures are preferred when assessing animal welfare. Differences in behavioral and physiological responses toward a stressor could be the result of the selection of horses for specific uses. Behavioral and physiological responses of working and Chilean rodeo horses subjected to a handling test were assessed. Five behaviors, number of attempts, and the time to cross a bridge were video recorded and analyzed with the Observer XT software. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), to assess the physiological response to the novel stimulus, were registered with a Polar Equine V800 heart rate monitor system during rest and the bridge test. Heart rate variability data were obtained with the Kubios software. Differences between working and Chilean rodeo horses were assessed, and within-group differences between rest and the test were also analyzed. Chilean rodeo horses presented more proactive behaviors and required significantly more attempts to cross the bridge than working horses. Physiologically, Chilean rodeo horses presented lower variability of the heart rate than working horses. Full article
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14 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Equine Activities Influence Horses’ Responses to Different Stimuli: Could This Have an Impact on Equine Welfare?
by Tiago Mendonça, Cécile Bienboire-Frosini, Izabela Kowalczyk, Julien Leclercq, Sana Arroub and Patrick Pageat
Animals 2019, 9(6), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060290 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5988
Abstract
The learning and cognitive challenges that horses may face differ according to the activities in which they are involved. The aim of this investigation was to study the influence of equine activities on the behavioral responses and autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity of [...] Read more.
The learning and cognitive challenges that horses may face differ according to the activities in which they are involved. The aim of this investigation was to study the influence of equine activities on the behavioral responses and autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity of adult horses. Forty-one horses were divided into four groups: dressage (9), jumping (10), eventing (13) and equine-assisted activity/therapy (9). A test was created to compare the horses’ behavioral and physiological responses to different stimuli. The goal was always to obtain a treat. To study the ANS activity, heart rate variability was assessed using the standard deviation of the R-R intervals (SDNN), square root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between successive interbeat-intervals (RMSSD) and low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF). To assess behavioral responses, video analysis was performed considering the following behaviors: exploration, interactions with another horse, and latency to approach. Significant differences in SDNN (DF = 3; F = 3.36; p = 0.0202), RMSSD (DF = 3; F = 4.09; p = 0.0078), LF/HF (DF = 3; F = 4.79; p = 0.0031), exploration (DF = 3; F = 5.79; p = 0.0013) and latency to approach (DF = 3; F = 8.97; p < 0.0001) were found among horses from different equine activities. The activity that adult horses practice appears to influence behavioral and physiological responses to different stimuli, thus impacting equine welfare. Full article
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13 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
Equine Welfare in Practice: A Collaborative Outreach and Education Program with Michigan State University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Universidad Veracruzana
by Harold C. Schott II, Alejandro Estrada-Coates, Miriam Alva-Trujillo, Annette D. Petersen, Marc A. Kinsley, Melissa M. Esser, Jose Casillas, Elena Garcia-Seco, Mauro Madariaga-Najera, José Antonio Fernando Martínez, Arturo Herrera-León and Mariano Hernández-Gil
Animals 2019, 9(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040164 - 13 Apr 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3717
Abstract
There is great need for veterinary care for working equids worldwide. Addressing this need provides an opportunity for veterinary students to gain primary care experience. An annual two week collaborative outreach and educational program with Michigan State University (MSU), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma [...] Read more.
There is great need for veterinary care for working equids worldwide. Addressing this need provides an opportunity for veterinary students to gain primary care experience. An annual two week collaborative outreach and educational program with Michigan State University (MSU), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Universidad Veracruzana (UV) was developed to provide care for working equids in rural Mexican communities. From 2017 to 2019 24 US veterinary students and 25 Mexican veterinary students, interns and residents examined, vaccinated and dewormed more than 2200 equids and performed more than 80 castrations, 100 rectal palpations for pregnancy diagnosis, 220 dental floats and 320 hoof trims. They also treated many wounds, sarcoids, vampire bat bites and tick infestations and also saw unusual cases including tetanus, eye injuries, nuchal bursitis, cervical vertebral malformation and suspected vesicular stomatitis. Development of the collaborative MSU-UNAM-UV Equine Welfare in Practice Clerkship required vision, learning, relationship building, creativity, fund-raising and perseverance to develop and agree on mutually beneficial objectives for all participants. The project is largely financed through private donations and supplies provided by pharmaceutical companies. The outcome has been a highly successful program that could be used as a model by other Colleges of Veterinary Medicine world-wide. Full article
19 pages, 2041 KiB  
Article
A Study of Traveller Horse Owners’ Attitudes to Horse Care and Welfare Using an Equine Body Condition Scoring System
by Marie Rowland, Tamsin Coombs and Melanie Connor
Animals 2019, 9(4), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040162 - 12 Apr 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6865
Abstract
Traveller horses are often perceived to be exposed to poor welfare due to Travellers’ traditional way of horsemanship. However, few studies have investigated Traveller horse welfare. Hence, the present study aims to explore Traveller horse owners’ attitudes to horse care and welfare. Semi-structured [...] Read more.
Traveller horses are often perceived to be exposed to poor welfare due to Travellers’ traditional way of horsemanship. However, few studies have investigated Traveller horse welfare. Hence, the present study aims to explore Traveller horse owners’ attitudes to horse care and welfare. Semi-structured interviews and discussion groups examined 14 Irish Traveller horse owners’ attitudes and approach to horse ownership. Additionally, a body condition scoring (BCS) instrument was assessed for its accuracy and ease of use when applied by Traveller horse owners. Additionally, the BCS system was used to assess 18 horses. Results show that Travellers have a good understanding of horses’ natural behaviours and environment, which is reflected in their management practices. However, barriers to improved welfare are land availability, since landowners are often reluctant to lease to Travellers, and the impoundment of horses as a consequence of fly grazing, under the Control of Horses Act 1996 (Ireland). Furthermore, Travellers regarded the BCS as a useful tool, but would require training to apply the scoring successfully. The results suggest that attitudes and management practices are favourable, but Travellers have limited means to overcome barriers. Therefore, it is necessary to increase capacity building and assist with the acquisition of land. Full article
19 pages, 249 KiB  
Article
Living the ‘Best Life’ or ‘One Size Fits All’—Stakeholder Perceptions of Racehorse Welfare
by Deborah Butler, Mathilde Valenchon, Rachel Annan, Helen R. Whay and Siobhan Mullan
Animals 2019, 9(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040134 - 31 Mar 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 8040
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to explore the perceptions held by British racing industry stakeholders of factors influencing racehorse welfare. Ten focus groups were held across the UK with a total of 42 stakeholders from a range of roles within racehorse care [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to explore the perceptions held by British racing industry stakeholders of factors influencing racehorse welfare. Ten focus groups were held across the UK with a total of 42 stakeholders from a range of roles within racehorse care including trainers, stable staff and veterinarians. Participants took part in three exercises. Firstly, to describe the scenarios of a ‘best life’ and the minimum welfare standards a horse in training could be living under. Secondly, to identify the main challenges for racehorse welfare and thirdly, to recall any innovative or uncommon practices to improve welfare they had witnessed. Using thematic analysis, eight themes emerged from the first exercise. Two strands, factors that contribute to maintaining health and the horse-human relationship ran through all eight themes. Across all themes horses living the ‘best life’ were perceived as being treated as individuals rather than being part of a ‘one size fits all’ life when kept under minimum welfare standards. Health was both perceived as the main challenge to welfare as well as one open to innovative practices such as improved veterinary treatments. Data obtained, informed by the knowledge and expertise of experienced stakeholders, combined with practical animal welfare science will be used to develop the first British racehorse welfare assessment protocol. Full article
13 pages, 405 KiB  
Article
Welfare Quality of Breeding Horses Under Different Housing Conditions
by Silvana Popescu, Eva A. Lazar, Cristin Borda, Mihaela Niculae, Carmen D. Sandru and Marina Spinu
Animals 2019, 9(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030081 - 5 Mar 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5137
Abstract
This paper investigates the effect of different housing conditions on the welfare quality of breeding horses. Using a welfare protocol that included health and behavioral parameters, 330 stallions (kept in tie-stall housing) and 365 broodmares (kept in extensive, mostly free housing) were assessed. [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the effect of different housing conditions on the welfare quality of breeding horses. Using a welfare protocol that included health and behavioral parameters, 330 stallions (kept in tie-stall housing) and 365 broodmares (kept in extensive, mostly free housing) were assessed. The horses were categorized into four welfare categories (“not classified”, “acceptable”, “enhanced” and “excellent”), according to an individual welfare score calculated for each horse. The prevalence of stallions with dyspnea, tendon and joint swellings, abnormal gait and abnormal hoof horn quality was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of the broodmares. No significant difference (p > 0.05) was found in the human-related behavioral response of the two categories of breeding horses. The median individual welfare scores were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the broodmares than in the breeding stallions. The mares had “enhanced” and “excellent” welfare, while the stallions had “acceptable” and “enhanced” welfare. The results revealed differences in the horses’ welfare quality for the different housing conditions. Accordingly, it can be concluded that positive changes in housing management, such as free housing with the use of boxes, could improve the welfare quality of breeding stallions. Full article
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12 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
Austrian Veterinarians’ Attitudes to Euthanasia in Equine Practice
by Svenja Springer, Florien Jenner, Alexander Tichy and Herwig Grimm
Animals 2019, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020044 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5241
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
7 pages, 183 KiB  
Communication
Track Surfaces Used for Ridden Workouts and Alternatives to Ridden Exercise for Thoroughbred Horses in Race Training
by Ashleigh V. Morrice-West, Peta L. Hitchens, Elizabeth A. Walmsley and R. Chris Whitton
Animals 2018, 8(12), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120221 - 26 Nov 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3978
Abstract
Little is known about the types of surfaces used during training of Thoroughbred racehorses or methods of exercise used in addition to ridden track-work. Our aims were to (1) describe the types of surfaces used in the training of Thoroughbred racehorses and to [...] Read more.
Little is known about the types of surfaces used during training of Thoroughbred racehorses or methods of exercise used in addition to ridden track-work. Our aims were to (1) describe the types of surfaces used in the training of Thoroughbred racehorses and to (2) identify alternative approaches used to exercise horses in addition to, or in place of, ridden overground track-work. Information regarding surface and alternative exercise methods was collected as part of an in-person survey of training practices of 66 registered Thoroughbred trainers in Victoria, Australia. Sand and synthetic surfaces were used by 97% and 36% of trainers respectively for slow-workouts, with galloping on turf training tracks used in training regimens by 82% and synthetic by 58% of trainers. Of those trainers utilising turf tracks, only 34% of gallop training was completed on turf despite turf being the predominant racing surface. Almost 90% of trainers used alternatives to ridden exercise. There is substantial variation in training surface used and alternative types of exercise undertaken by Victorian trainers. Future research should focus on how such practices relate to injury risk, particularly as it relates to the importance of musculoskeletal adaptation to specific race-day surfaces. Full article
16 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Risk Factors for Transport-Related Problem Behaviors in Horses: A New Zealand Survey
by Barbara Padalino, Chris W. Rogers, Danielle Guiver, Janis P. Bridges and Christopher B. Riley
Animals 2018, 8(8), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080134 - 2 Aug 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4760
Abstract
Transport-related problem behaviors (TRPBs) are common in horses and can cause injury to both the horses and their handlers. This study aimed to identify possible risk factors for TRPBs to inform approaches to mitigate TRPBs incidence and enhance horse welfare. An online cross-sectional [...] Read more.
Transport-related problem behaviors (TRPBs) are common in horses and can cause injury to both the horses and their handlers. This study aimed to identify possible risk factors for TRPBs to inform approaches to mitigate TRPBs incidence and enhance horse welfare. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted to explore the prevalence of TRPBs and their association with human-, training- and transport management-related factors in New Zealand. The survey generated 1124 valid responses that were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and logistic regression analyses. Having at least one horse with TRPB was reported by 249/1124 (22.2%) respondents during the two previous years. Of these, 21/249 (8.4%) occurred during pre-loading, 78/249 (31.3%) during loading, 132/249 (53.0%) while travelling, and 18/249 (7.3%) during unloading. Our findings indicate that the use of negative reinforcement and positive punishment as training methods, using a whip or food for loading, and travelling in a straight load trailer/float while offering food were associated with a higher likelihood of TRPBs. Cross-sectional studies cannot determine causality and findings should be interpreted with caution, and evaluated in further experimental studies. The authors suggest that education on appropriate training methods for transport, and vehicle selection may mitigate the risk for TRPBs in horses. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

16 pages, 1625 KiB  
Review
Comparing and Contrasting Knowledge on Mules and Hinnies as a Tool to Comprehend Their Behavior and Improve Their Welfare
by Amy McLean, Angela Varnum, Ahmed Ali, Camie Heleski and Francisco Javier Navas González
Animals 2019, 9(8), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080488 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 6127
Abstract
Mules and hinnies are the hybrids between donkeys (Equus asinus) and horses (Equus caballus). For centuries, mankind has used them for agrarian purposes, the military, or recreation. Contrasting literature with behavioral observations, we seek a better behavioral understanding andthus [...] Read more.
Mules and hinnies are the hybrids between donkeys (Equus asinus) and horses (Equus caballus). For centuries, mankind has used them for agrarian purposes, the military, or recreation. Contrasting literature with behavioral observations, we seek a better behavioral understanding andthus comprehensive solutions for their welfare enhancement. Over the past 6 years, we have assessed physical and behavioral welfare in over 900 mules by surveying owners from Egypt, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and the U.S. These mules participated in shows, brick kiln work, cart-pulling, packing, tourism, and cattle herding. Observations are discussed alongside facts from the literature. Unfortunately, their behavior has been misunderstood by many, and harsh treatment and equipment has been used to control them. Few studies have attempted to define or use learning theory to understand how and why mules and hinnies behave as they do. Hence, understanding their health considerations, natural behavior, and training theory is crucial for those who work with them.Solutions to welfare improvement partially lie in an individual’s ability to handle mules and hinnies from birth, and to proceed slowly through training. Conclusively, this review sets forth a clearer understanding of these hybrids’ behaviors and promotes positive handling, allowing their access to more routine healthcare and ultimately, a higher welfare standard. Full article
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16 pages, 3693 KiB  
Review
A Review of the Appropriate Nutrition Welfare Criteria of Dairy Donkeys: Nutritional Requirements, Farm Management Requirements and Animal-Based Indicators
by Federica Raspa, Laura Cavallarin, Amy K. McLean, Domenico Bergero and Emanuela Valle
Animals 2019, 9(6), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060315 - 1 Jun 2019
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4421
Abstract
Data are available in the scientific literature concerning the quality and usefulness of donkey milk for human consumption. However, there is a lack of studies related to the understanding of the welfare of dairy donkeys. The only attempt, at a European Union level, [...] Read more.
Data are available in the scientific literature concerning the quality and usefulness of donkey milk for human consumption. However, there is a lack of studies related to the understanding of the welfare of dairy donkeys. The only attempt, at a European Union level, to assess the welfare of donkeys is that of the Animal Welfare Indicator’s (AWIN) welfare assessment protocol for donkeys, where the appropriate nutrition welfare criteria have been assessed, but only through the evaluation of the body condition score. However, several other indicators that take into account the importance of good feeding welfare principles should be considered for the correct management of dairy donkeys. Therefore, it is hoped that this review of the available scientific literature will be useful to help establish a set of appropriate welfare requirements and indicators for the management of dairy donkeys. The review is aimed at identifying and discussing other requirements and indicators, such as nutritional requirements, farm management requirements and animal-based indicators, which may be important for the correct assessment of the appropriate nutrition welfare criteria and to establish best practices for the feeding of dairy donkeys. Full article
15 pages, 253 KiB  
Review
Why Should Human-Animal Interactions Be Included in Research of Working Equids’ Welfare?
by Daniela Luna and Tamara A. Tadich
Animals 2019, 9(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020042 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 6713
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
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