Human-Animal Interactions and Their Relationships with Animal Welfare, Emotions, and Personality

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 98752

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Production Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Clinical Skills Building, 11877-85 Street NW, Calgary, AB T3R 1J3, Canada
Interests: human-animal interaction; cattle temperament; farm animal welfare; applied farm animal ethology; sustainable livestock systems

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Guest Editor
Department of Zoology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora 36036-900, Brazil
Interests: applied ethology; animal welfare; domestic animals; human-animal interactions; temperament

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human–animal interaction (HAI) involves any contact between humans and animals, and includes different aspects such as tactile, visual, olfactory, and auditory perception. These interactions can take place, even with domesticated and wild animals, in a myriad of environments such as farms, residences, laboratory, and zoos. The HAI can be categorized as positive, neutral, or negative in nature by the way humans perform their contact with animals. Animals may react spontaneously to human characteristics, or they may learn to associate the human presence and behavior with the type of practices used toward them. Moreover, HAIs can result in physiological and behavioral changes in animals, thereby influencing animal welfare, fitness, and, in the case of farm animals, the productive performance. The interfaces between HAI and animal welfare may also be explored under the scope of the mental states and emotions of both animals and humans. The way that animals respond to humans is also influenced by their personality, which is the individual behavioral differences that are repeatable over time and across situations. The connections between HAI and personality may be addressed by using behavior, physiology, mental states, animal learning, and cognition. We welcome original manuscripts focusing on the effect of HAI on physiology, behavior, and mental states of domesticated and wild animals in different contexts such as farms, work, sports, residences, laboratory, and zoos.

Dr. Maria Camila Ceballos
Prof. Dr. Aline Sant’Anna
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • behavior
  • emotions
  • human-animal interaction
  • mental states
  • personality
  • physiology
  • production
  • temperament
  • welfare

Published Papers (20 papers)

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18 pages, 2425 KiB  
Article
Can Dogs’ Origins and Interactions with Humans Affect Their Accomplishments? A Study on the Responses of Shelter and Companion Dogs during Vocal Cue Training
by Maria Luiza A. Fonseca and Angélica S. Vasconcellos
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051360 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3651
Abstract
The inclusion of life history as a possible influential factor is pivotal in studies on behavior, welfare, and cognition. Shelter dogs have usually experienced a life involving poor social interactions with humans. Thus, we aimed to investigate the behavioral responses of shelter dogs [...] Read more.
The inclusion of life history as a possible influential factor is pivotal in studies on behavior, welfare, and cognition. Shelter dogs have usually experienced a life involving poor social interactions with humans. Thus, we aimed to investigate the behavioral responses of shelter dogs (SDs) and companion dogs (CDs) during the training of two vocal cues (“sit”, “paw”), as well as the possible associations between their responses and the behaviors of trainers. We studied 15 SDs and 15 CDs in up to eight five-minute training sessions. Dogs’ and trainers’ behaviors were recorded and analyzed (through GLM, GLMM, correlation and Mann–Whitney tests). Shelter dogs responded to more cues per session, with shorter latencies and fewer repetitions of cues. Moreover, SDs spent more time wagging their tails. Dogs’ sex and trainers’ behaviors were also associated with differences in dogs’ responses. The use of a reproachful tone of voice was associated with a greater number of cues responded to, shorter latencies, and fewer repetitions of cues. However, this type voice/discourse was also linked to a greater exhibition of non-training behaviors (e.g., exploring the room or jumping on the trainer), and to dogs spending less time next to the trainer and wagging their tails. On the other hand, the use of a neutral tone of voice and laughter, besides being linked to performance, was also associated with longer durations of tail wagging. Furthermore, the duration of the trainers’ orientation to dogs was correlated with the orientation of the dogs to the trainers. Our data suggest that, even when having experienced social deprivation from humans, SDs’ capacities to learn vocal cues were preserved, possibly due to ontogenic homeostasis processes. Shelter dogs’ greater interest in the sessions may be also credited to their socially-deprived routine. Our outcomes also point to an association between friendly interactions during training and dog performance and excitement, which suggests that such interactions may have the potential to improve SD welfare. Full article
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19 pages, 1000 KiB  
Article
Effect of Finishing Diet and Lairage Time on Steers Welfare in Uruguay
by Marcia del Campo Gigena, Juan Manuel Soares de Lima, Gustavo Brito, Xavier Manteca, Pilar Hernández and Fabio Montossi
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051329 - 7 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2585
Abstract
The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of two different pasture-based finishing strategies and lairage time on steers welfare in Uruguayan conditions. Sixty Hereford (H) and Braford (B) steers were assigned to two different diets for finishing purposes: (D1) native [...] Read more.
The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of two different pasture-based finishing strategies and lairage time on steers welfare in Uruguayan conditions. Sixty Hereford (H) and Braford (B) steers were assigned to two different diets for finishing purposes: (D1) native pasture plus corn grain (1% of live weight) (H n = 15, B n = 15) and (D2) high-quality pasture (H n = 15, B n = 15). The average daily gain was registered every 14 days, and temperaments were individually assessed one week before slaughter by three individual tests: crush score, flight time and exit speed, building a multicriterial temperament index (TIndex). Animals were slaughtered the same day in two groups (50% from D1 and 50% from D2 in each group) after traveling for 3.5 h and staying 15 (long lairage) and 3 h (short lairage) in the lairage pens, respectively. The behaviors were observed during lairage, and physiological indicators were used to assess stress at the farm after transport, after lairage and at slaughter. Bruises incidence and final pH were registered at the abattoir as a means of assessing the overall animal welfare. Calmer animals had higher average daily gains with no differences either between diets or between breeds. Calmer animals also had a lower stress response during all preslaughter stages, regardless of the time in lairage. Transport did not imply psychological stress (cortisol) for any slaughter group, but physical stress was evident after transport in both groups through NEFA and CPK increases. Bruise incidences did not differ between lairage groups. The short lairage group did not have enough time to cope with the environment before slaughter, with the consequent deleterious effects on the carcass pH. Animals from the long lairage group had a higher metabolic response shown through NEFA values, but they had enough time to rest and recover overnight, reaching final pH values lower than 5.8, considered the upper limit of the normal range. According to this experiment, with pasture-based animals without fasting on the farm and after 3.5 h of transportation, a resting period of 15 h in lairage should be better than a 3-h one. Full article
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21 pages, 2319 KiB  
Article
Effect of Different Finishing Strategies and Steer Temperament on Animal Welfare and Instrumental Meat Tenderness
by Marcia del Campo, Xavier Manteca, Juan Manuel Soares de Lima, Gustavo Brito, Pilar Hernández, Carlos Sañudo and Fabio Montossi
Animals 2021, 11(3), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030859 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3048
Abstract
The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of different fattening systems from pasture to concentrate and temperament on animal welfare (AW) and meat quality (MQ). Eighty-four Hereford steers were randomly assigned to the following groups: T1, pasture (4% of animal [...] Read more.
The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of different fattening systems from pasture to concentrate and temperament on animal welfare (AW) and meat quality (MQ). Eighty-four Hereford steers were randomly assigned to the following groups: T1, pasture (4% of animal live weight: LW); T2, pasture (3% LW) plus concentrate (0.6% LW); T3, pasture (3% LW) plus concentrate (1.2% LW); T4, an ad libitum concentrate treatment. Temperament was assessed by three individual tests: crush score, flight time, and exit speed, building a multicriterial temperament index (TIndex). The flight zone was also registered for each treatment. AW was assessed through the integration of indicators of productivity, physiology, and behavior, as well as by monitoring the health status within each treatment. Shear force was registered for MQ. Differences in average daily gain were due to the different energetic composition of the diets (T4 > T3 > T2 > T1) and were not attributable to animal welfare problems. Animals from T4 had the higher average daily gain (ADG) but welfare was negatively affected, being evident through physiological indicators, the restriction or deprivation of relevant behaviors, diet-related diseases, and mortality. T1, T2, and T3 did not appear to compromise animal welfare. However, strict preventive measures and monitoring should be taken during the habituation process and when using any new diet that includes concentrate, because of possible dietary diseases. Shear force values were lower in T1. None of the animals in our experiment were excitable or aggressive, but there was a positive response to handling in all treatments. In addition, regardless of diet, calmer animals had higher average daily gain and lower shear force values; thus, temperament appears to have a significant influence on productivity and meat quality. Full article
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21 pages, 1195 KiB  
Article
Emotional States of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Kept for Animal–Visitor Interactions, as Perceived by People Differing in Age and Knowledge of the Species
by Ilaria Pollastri, Simona Normando, Barbara Contiero, Gregory Vogt, Donatella Gelli, Veronica Sergi, Elena Stagni, Sean Hensman, Elena Mercugliano and Barbara de Mori
Animals 2021, 11(3), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030826 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2614
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate how three groups of people of differing ages, and with differing knowledge of the species, perceived the emotional state of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed in captive and semi-captive environments. Fifteen video-clips of 18 elephants, observed [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate how three groups of people of differing ages, and with differing knowledge of the species, perceived the emotional state of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed in captive and semi-captive environments. Fifteen video-clips of 18 elephants, observed during three different daily routines (release from and return to the night boma; interactions with visitors), were used for a free choice profiling assessment (FCP) and then analyzed with quantitative methods. A general Procrustes analysis identified two main descriptive dimensions of elephant behavioral expression explaining 27% and 19% of the variability in the children group, 19% and 23.7% in adults, and 21.8% and 17% in the expert group. All the descriptors the observers came up with showed a low level of correlation on the identified dimensions. All three observers’ groups showed a degree of separation between captive and semi-captive management. Spearman analyses showed that stereotypic “trunk swirling” behavior correlated negatively with first dimension (free/friendly versus sad/bored) in the children’s group; second dimension (agitated/confident versus angry/bored) amongst the adults; and first dimension (active/excited versus agitated/bored) amongst the experts. More studies are needed to investigate other potential differences in assessing elephants’ emotional states by visitors of different ages and backgrounds. Full article
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12 pages, 428 KiB  
Article
Why Can’t I Resist Those “Puppy Dog” (or “Kitty Cat”) Eyes? A Study of Owner Attachment and Factors Associated with Pet Obesity
by Anthony E. Coy, Jeffrey D Green and Anna Maria C. Behler
Animals 2021, 11(2), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020539 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3926
Abstract
Attachment theory posits that patterns of interaction derived from the attachment system provide a starting point for understanding how people both receive and provide care. Extending this theory to human-animal interactions provides insights into how human psychology affects pets, such as pet obesity. [...] Read more.
Attachment theory posits that patterns of interaction derived from the attachment system provide a starting point for understanding how people both receive and provide care. Extending this theory to human-animal interactions provides insights into how human psychology affects pets, such as pet obesity. The goal of this study was to determine how attachment anxiety and avoidance might contribute to pet obesity. We assessed 563 pet owners’ attachment-related anxiety and avoidance, as well as additional attachment-related constructs (emotional rejection, evaluation concern, caregiving, and attentiveness to a pet). We also assessed various factors associated with pet obesity, including weight, body condition, daily treats, and daily interaction. The results indicate that dog owners high in attachment anxiety are concerned about how their pet may evaluate them, leading to more caregiving and attentiveness that results in more treats given per day, and a larger body condition (but not weight). In addition, owners high in attachment avoidance may seek to downplay the possibility of the dog negatively evaluating them, thus providing more negligent care. These findings suggest that attachment plays a unique role in shaping the pet-caregiver relationship and influences various elements that contribute to pet obesity, particularly in dogs. As such, the findings may lend a novel perspective to strategies for reducing pet obesity and provide a framework for future research into pet health. Full article
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20 pages, 1378 KiB  
Article
Effects of Human Presence and Voice on the Behaviour of Shelter Dogs and Cats: A Preliminary Study
by Adele Tuozzi, Christine Arhant, Kristina Anderle, Jessica Backes, Catherine Cords, Viola Magierski, Jean-Loup Rault and Ines Windschnurer
Animals 2021, 11(2), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020406 - 5 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4980
Abstract
Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and cats during a prerecorded reading condition in the [...] Read more.
Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and cats during a prerecorded reading condition in the absence or presence of an unfamiliar human (without direct physical contact). Fourteen dogs and twenty-one cats were observed in their enclosure in the two conditions in a counterbalanced order. Behaviours such as scratching the door, gaze direction and location in relation to the audio source/human were analysed from video recording for 10 min per condition. Dogs spent more time in their bed (p < 0.047) and looking at the auditory source (p < 0.004) when a human was present. Cats showed door scratching and rubbing when a human was present (p < 0.043), whereas they tended to spend more time in the vertical dimension (p = 0.051), where the hiding boxes were located, during auditory stimulation without a human present. These results show that the presence of a human induces greater interest compared to just audio stimulation in shelter dogs and cats but may induce frustration likely due to not being able to physically interact in some animals. Full article
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24 pages, 1942 KiB  
Article
Temperament, Plasticity, and Emotions in Defensive Behaviour of Paca (Mammalia, Hystricognatha)
by Selene S. C. Nogueira, Sérgio L. G. Nogueira-Filho, José M. B. Duarte and Michael Mendl
Animals 2021, 11(2), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020293 - 24 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2559
Abstract
Within a species, some individuals are better able to cope with threatening environments than others. Paca (Cuniculus paca) appear resilient to over-hunting by humans, which may be related to the behavioural plasticity shown by this species. To investigate this, we submitted [...] Read more.
Within a species, some individuals are better able to cope with threatening environments than others. Paca (Cuniculus paca) appear resilient to over-hunting by humans, which may be related to the behavioural plasticity shown by this species. To investigate this, we submitted captive pacas to temperament tests designed to assess individual responses to short challenges and judgement bias tests (JBT) to evaluate individuals’ affective states. Results indicated across-time and context stability in closely correlated “agitated”, “fearful” and “tense” responses; this temperament dimension was labelled “restless”. Individual “restless” scores predicted responses to novelty, although not to simulated chasing and capture by humans in a separate modified defence test battery (MDTB). Restless animals were more likely to show a greater proportion of positive responses to an ambiguous cue during JBT after the MDTB. Plasticity in defensive behaviour was inferred from changes in behavioural responses and apparently rapid adaptation to challenge in the different phases of the MDTB. The results indicate that both temperament and behavioural plasticity may play a role in influencing paca responses to risky situations. Therefore, our study highlights the importance of understanding the role of individual temperament traits and behavioural plasticity in order to better interpret the animals’ conservation status and vulnerabilities. Full article
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19 pages, 833 KiB  
Article
Do Domestic Pigs Acquire a Positive Perception of Humans through Observational Social Learning?
by Daniela Luna, Catalina González, Christopher J. Byrd, Rocío Palomo, Elizabeth Huenul and Jaime Figueroa
Animals 2021, 11(1), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010127 - 8 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4430
Abstract
Farm animals can perceive humans positively by observing another animal being positively handled. This study evaluated whether pigs acquire a positive perception of humans after observing either a high or low socially ranked conspecific receiving gentle handling. Seventy-five 21-week-old pigs were housed in [...] Read more.
Farm animals can perceive humans positively by observing another animal being positively handled. This study evaluated whether pigs acquire a positive perception of humans after observing either a high or low socially ranked conspecific receiving gentle handling. Seventy-five 21-week-old pigs were housed in 15 nursery pens (five pigs/pen) and randomly assigned to one of three pen treatments: Dominant Demonstrator Group (DDG), Subordinate Demonstrator Group (SDG) and Control Group (CG). Pigs from DDG and SDG observed a high and low socially ranked conspecific (“demonstrator”), respectively, while the demonstrator received gentle stroking and a sucrose solution for 10 min, twice a day for 5 weeks. Control group pigs received minimal human contact. Following treatment, the behavior and heart rate variability of non-demonstrator pigs were evaluated in response to a stockperson in an open-field test. Pigs from the DDG and SDG contacted the stockperson sooner (p < 0.001), spent more time investigating the stockperson (p < 0.05), accepted more stroking (p < 0.001) and exhibited a lower low/high frequency ratio (p = 0.015) compared to the CG. No differences in learning between the pigs from the DDG and SDG were found. These results suggest that pigs can learn to perceive humans positively through observational social learning, regardless of the demonstrator conspecific’s social rank. Full article
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21 pages, 1813 KiB  
Article
Are They Really Trying to Save Their Buddy? The Anthropomorphism of Animal Epimeletic Behaviours
by Cédric Sueur, Marie-Amélie Forin-Wiart and Marie Pelé
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122323 - 7 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6441
Abstract
Anthropomorphism is a natural tendency in humans, but it is also influenced by many characteristics of the observer (the human) and the observed entity (here, the animal species). This study asked participants to complete an online questionnaire about three videos showing epimeletic behaviours [...] Read more.
Anthropomorphism is a natural tendency in humans, but it is also influenced by many characteristics of the observer (the human) and the observed entity (here, the animal species). This study asked participants to complete an online questionnaire about three videos showing epimeletic behaviours in three animal species. In the videos, an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque, respectively) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific that suddenly regained consciousness at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a robot dog being kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. Each video was followed by a series of questions designed to evaluate the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentaphobia (no attribution of intentions and beliefs, whatever the animal species) to full anthropomorphism (full attribution of intentions and beliefs by animals, to the same extent as in humans) and to measure how far the participants had correctly assessed each situation in terms of biological reality (current scientific knowledge of each species). There is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the mental states attributed to animals by humans and the real capability of animals. The heterogeneity of responses proved that humans display different forms of anthropomorphism, from rejecting all emotional or intentional states in animals to considering animals to show the same intentions as humans. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differed according to the species shown in the video and to human socio-demographic characteristics. Understanding the potential usefulness of these factors can lead to better relationships with animals and encourage a positive view of human-robot interactions. Indeed, reflective or critical anthropomorphism can increase our humanity. Full article
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17 pages, 1284 KiB  
Article
Beloved Whiskers: Management Type, Care Practices and Connections to Welfare in Domestic Cats
by Daiana de Souza Machado, Luana da Silva Gonçalves, Rogério Ribeiro Vicentini, Maria Camila Ceballos and Aline Cristina Sant’Anna
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122308 - 5 Dec 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4305
Abstract
The quality of cat care practices depends in part on the type of management applied, which either positively or negatively impacts cat welfare. This study investigated whether the type of cat management (indoor vs. outdoor) was related to other cat care practices adopted [...] Read more.
The quality of cat care practices depends in part on the type of management applied, which either positively or negatively impacts cat welfare. This study investigated whether the type of cat management (indoor vs. outdoor) was related to other cat care practices adopted by cat owners, associated with the quality of human-cat relationships and cat welfare. An online survey was distributed via social networks. Descriptive statistics, categorical Principal Component Analysis, Fisher’s Exact test and Chi-square test in contingency table were applied. A total of 16,302 cat owners returned the survey. Most Brazilian owners reported indoor management of their cats; this was related to owners living in apartments, more frequent use of cat care practices, and more interactions with their pets. Outdoor management was related to cats living in houses or farms, sleeping outdoors or around the neighborhood, and owners had fewer interaction with their pets. In conclusion, owners practicing indoor management seemed to be closer to their cats than owners reporting outdoor management. However, obesity and owner-reported behavioral problems were associated with indoor management. Full article
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11 pages, 4014 KiB  
Article
Development of a Facial Expression Scale Using Farrowing as a Model of Pain in Sows
by Elena Navarro, Eva Mainau and Xavier Manteca
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2113; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112113 - 14 Nov 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3531
Abstract
Changes in facial expression have been shown to be a useful tool to assess pain severity in humans and animals, but facial scales have not yet been developed for all species. A facial expression scale in sows was developed using farrowing as a [...] Read more.
Changes in facial expression have been shown to be a useful tool to assess pain severity in humans and animals, but facial scales have not yet been developed for all species. A facial expression scale in sows was developed using farrowing as a pain model. Five potential facial zones were identified: (i) Tension above eyes, (ii) Snout angle, (iii) Neck tension, (iv) Temporal tension and ear position (v), and Cheek tension. Facial zones were examined through 263 images of a total of 21 sows at farrowing, characterizing moments of non-pain (19 days post-farrowing; score 0), moderate pain (time interval between the delivery of two consecutive piglets; score 1) and severe pain (during active piglet delivery; score 2). Images were evaluated by a “Silver Standard” observer with experience in sows’ facial expressions, and by a group of eight animal welfare scientists, without experience in it, but who received a one-hour training session on how to assess pain in sows’ faces. Intra- and inter-observer reliability of the facial expression ranged from moderate to very good for all facial expression zones, with Tension above eyes, Snout angle, and Neck tension showing the highest reliability. In conclusion, monitoring facial expressions seems to be a useful tool to assess pain caused by farrowing. Full article
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17 pages, 505 KiB  
Article
Association between Attitude and Empathy with the Quality of Human-Livestock Interactions
by Andres Felipe Leon, Jorge Alberto Sanchez and Marlyn H. Romero
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081304 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3986
Abstract
The human-animal interactions are a key component of human and animal welfare. The quality of this interaction can therefore be assessed by measuring the reaction response of the animals to the handler’s behavior. The aim of this study was to investigate the association [...] Read more.
The human-animal interactions are a key component of human and animal welfare. The quality of this interaction can therefore be assessed by measuring the reaction response of the animals to the handler’s behavior. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between attitude and empathy towards the animals with the quality of human-livestock interactions. Additionally, we aimed to investigate whether the quality of cattle handling deteriorates as the working day progresses. A total of 18 livestock handlers and 1514 Colombian commercial Zebu steers were evaluated. A questionnaire pack consisting of 50 questions regarding demographic information, attitude and empathy characteristics was applied, using a structured interview. Each handlers’ responses to positive and negative attitude and empathy questions were calculated to produce a composite score. Observations of human-animal interactions were made at three times during the day (5:00, 7:00 and 9:00), each observation lasting 30 min. The handlers had an average age of 39.4 ± 3.4 y (range = 18–66 y), with little schooling but a lot of experience in the trade (17.13 ± 14.21 y). During handling, hitting, prodding and hand raising predominated over other actions (p < 0.05), and in response, the cattle behaved by freezing and running. Significant differences were found in the interactions used by handlers depending on the time of day (p < 0.05). The empathy total score ranged from 20 to 100, and the attitude total score between 24 and 120. The average attitude and empathy scores for handlers were 85.05 ± 6.92 (mean ±SD; range, 73–97) and 74.61 ± 4.72 (mean ±SD; range, 65–83), respectively. It has been concluded that there is an association between handlers’ attitudes and empathy towards animals and the quality of human-animal interaction during pre-slaughter. Full article
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10 pages, 1604 KiB  
Article
Study on the Public Perception of “Community-Owned Dogs” in the Abruzzo Region, Central Italy
by Alessandra Paolini, Sara Romagnoli, Maria Nardoia, Annamaria Conte, Romolo Salini, Michele Podaliri Vulpiani and Paolo Dalla Villa
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071227 - 19 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4777
Abstract
The Abruzzo Regional Law Nr. 47/2013, following a circular from the Italian Ministry of Health and OIE recommendations, allows the local municipalities to release free-roaming dogs (FRDs) caught on the territory once the local veterinary services (LVSs) have rated the dogs as unowned [...] Read more.
The Abruzzo Regional Law Nr. 47/2013, following a circular from the Italian Ministry of Health and OIE recommendations, allows the local municipalities to release free-roaming dogs (FRDs) caught on the territory once the local veterinary services (LVSs) have rated the dogs as unowned and not aggressive, have neutered them, as well as identified them through a microchip and a visible collar. The responsibility of these “community-owned dogs” (CODs) falls under the mayor of the local municipality that can entrust their custody to qualified people. The present study was conducted in the Abruzzo region, located in central Italy, to investigate public perception towards CODs, and in particular whether their presence is perceived as a problem or a benefit by the local communities. The data were collected by both direct interviews and an online survey, based on a questionnaire developed by a multidisciplinary team. The questionnaire was distributed in 31 municipalities sampled on the basis of the urbanization rate, and 497 people were interviewed over a 9-month period. More than half of the respondents (54%) stated that CODs can contribute to the control of stray dogs. The majority (83%) believed that a greater commitment is needed to involve the local communities on issues regarding CODs. The findings of this study highlighted the general difficulty for people to distinguish stray dogs from CODs that are not fully known, as evidenced by the fact that 59% of the respondents did not know the aforementioned Regional Law that defines and regulates the presence of the CODs. Full article
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10 pages, 1108 KiB  
Article
A Preliminary Study toward a Rapid Assessment of Age-Related Behavioral Differences in Family Dogs
by Eniko Kubinyi and Ivaylo B. Iotchev
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071222 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4240
Abstract
Over the last few years, several efforts have been undertaken to characterize the aging process in dogs. In the present study, we evaluate a short protocol measuring dogs’ cognitive, social, and physical capacities. Our aim was to develop a feasible test battery, with [...] Read more.
Over the last few years, several efforts have been undertaken to characterize the aging process in dogs. In the present study, we evaluate a short protocol measuring dogs’ cognitive, social, and physical capacities. Our aim was to develop a feasible test battery, with minimal pre-training requirements, no complex devices, and which is set outdoors (i.e., a specific testing room is not needed). As ageing in dogs is usually associated with a decrease in activity, we also assessed the personality trait activity/excitability with a dog personality questionnaire. Four subtests proved sensitive to the dogs’ age. In particular, old dogs displayed less approaching and following behaviors toward an unknown but friendly human, showed both less avoidance and interest toward a novel object, looked less at the owner when faced with an unsolvable problem, and performed worse on the short-term memory task. Previous test procedures for investigating age-related changes involve expensive and/or complicated devices and extensive pre-training. The main advantage of the proposed battery is to reduce costs and efforts in veterinary assessments. Further tests in same-breed, large samples and between dogs with mild and severe cognitive impairments will be needed in order to further validate the battery. Full article
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9 pages, 1495 KiB  
Article
Behavioral Therapy and Fluoxetine Treatment in Aggressive Dogs: A Case Study
by Rosangela Odore, Diego Rendini, Paola Badino, Giulia Gardini, Giulia Cagnotti, Valentina Meucci, Luigi Intorre, Claudio Bellino and Antonio D’Angelo
Animals 2020, 10(5), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050832 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 9180
Abstract
Canine aggression is a major concern, affecting millions of people worldwide, and treatment can be challenging even for skilled veterinarians. Empiric use of fluoxetine is sometimes attempted, although few data regarding long-term effects in aggressive dogs are available. The aim of the study [...] Read more.
Canine aggression is a major concern, affecting millions of people worldwide, and treatment can be challenging even for skilled veterinarians. Empiric use of fluoxetine is sometimes attempted, although few data regarding long-term effects in aggressive dogs are available. The aim of the study was to investigate clinical effectiveness of fluoxetine (1.5 mg/kg/die PO) combined with a behavior modification program for treatment of canine dominance-related aggression. Circulating levels of fluoxetine, norfluoxetine, and serotonin (5-HT) were also measured. Eight dogs with a diagnosis of dominance aggression (owner-directed) were enrolled. Before treatment (T0), and after one (T1), two (T2), four (T3), and six (T4) months of fluoxetine administration, clinical outcomes were graded using a five-point frequency scale (0–4), and blood samples were collected to measure fluoxetine/norfluoxetine (high-performance liquid chromatography) and 5-HT (ELISA) levels. Following treatment, a decrease in behavioral test scores was observed at T1–T4. Increasing concentrations of circulating fluoxetine and norfluoxetine were measured throughout the follow-up. Correlation between norfluoxetine levels and clinical scores was observed at T4. Starting from T1, a significant decrease in 5-HT levels was observed. Our data suggest that fluoxetine (1.5 mg/kg/day) when associated with behavior treatment is effective in controlling canine aggression over a six-month period, and that, in dogs norfluoxetine levels seem reliable in predicting clinical efficacy. Full article
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17 pages, 1107 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Stroking Styles on Behaviour and Cardiac Parameters in Heifers
by Annika Lange, Sandra Franzmayr, Vera Wisenöcker, Andreas Futschik, Susanne Waiblinger and Stephanie Lürzel
Animals 2020, 10(3), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030426 - 4 Mar 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4864
Abstract
Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in cattle includes different body regions and is probably [...] Read more.
Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in cattle includes different body regions and is probably guided partly by the receiver. Thus, we compared heifers’ (n = 28) reactions to stroking with the experimenter either reactively responding to perceived momentary preferences of the heifers or exclusively stroking the ventral neck. Independently of the stroking style, longer durations of neck stretching and contact occurred during stroking, supporting our hypothesis of a positive perception of stroking. We did not confirm the predicted decrease in heart rate and increase in heart rate variability, but instead found a slightly increased mean heart rate during stroking. The different stroking styles elicited differences in the heifers’ ear positions: “reactive” stroking led to longer durations of low ear positions during stroking, while during “ventral neck” stroking, the duration of back up increased. However, no other behaviours differed significantly between different stroking styles, indicating that the exact manner of stroking applied in our treatments seemed to be less important in the promotion of positive affective states in cattle through gentle human–animal interactions. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

13 pages, 577 KiB  
Review
Animal Personality and Conservation: Basics for Inspiring New Research
by Cristiano Schetini de Azevedo and Robert John Young
Animals 2021, 11(4), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041019 - 4 Apr 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 6149
Abstract
The number of animal species threatened with extinction are increasing every year, and biologists are conducting animal translocations, as one strategy, to try to mitigate this situation. Furthermore, researchers are evaluating methods to increase translocation success, and one area that shows promise is [...] Read more.
The number of animal species threatened with extinction are increasing every year, and biologists are conducting animal translocations, as one strategy, to try to mitigate this situation. Furthermore, researchers are evaluating methods to increase translocation success, and one area that shows promise is the study of animal personality. Animal personality can be defined as behavioral and physiological differences between individuals of the same species, which are stable in time and across different contexts. In the present paper, we discuss how animal personality can increase the success of translocation, as well as in the management of animals intended for translocation by evaluating personality characteristics of the individuals. Studies of the influence of birthplace, parental behavior, stress resilience, and risk assessment can be important to select the most appropriate individuals to be released. Finally, we explain the two methods used to gather personality data. Full article
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19 pages, 934 KiB  
Review
Researching Human-Cattle Interaction on Rangelands: Challenges and Potential Solutions
by Maggie Creamer and Kristina Horback
Animals 2021, 11(3), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030725 - 7 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3699
Abstract
Human-animal interaction (HAI) research spans across many scientific fields and animal taxa. For livestock species, HAI research tends to focus on animals that are managed in close proximity with humans such as poultry, dairy cattle, and swine. Given the nature of rangeland cattle [...] Read more.
Human-animal interaction (HAI) research spans across many scientific fields and animal taxa. For livestock species, HAI research tends to focus on animals that are managed in close proximity with humans such as poultry, dairy cattle, and swine. Given the nature of rangeland cattle production, HAI research with beef cattle often occurs in and around the processing environment. This high arousal context may skew behavioral and physiological responses by the animals due to the potentially negative interaction. The aim of this review is to describe cattle production on rangelands, examine the considerations and limitations of current HAI research used to evaluate interaction quality or traits of rangeland cattle, identify contexts in which rangeland cattle interact with humans, and provide recommendations for improving future HAI research with rangeland cattle. Current research delineating individual differences in response to humans by beef cattle occur during routine husbandry and management on rangelands (pragmatic) and in a research context (experimental). Human-cattle interactions can be distinguished based on the quality and goal of the interaction into four broad categories: human presence, human approach, human contact, and restraint. Limitations of HAI research with rangeland cattle are identified and reconciled by recommendations for HAI research that can take place outside of the processing environment (i.e., while cattle are ruminating, resting or grazing on rangelands). Full article
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23 pages, 312 KiB  
Review
Temperament in Domestic Cats: A Review of Proximate Mechanisms, Methods of Assessment, Its Effects on Human—Cat Relationships, and One Welfare
by Isadora de Castro Travnik, Daiana de Souza Machado, Luana da Silva Gonçalves, Maria Camila Ceballos and Aline Cristina Sant’Anna
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091516 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 11178
Abstract
Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences. In this review, the main aspects of cat [...] Read more.
Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences. In this review, the main aspects of cat temperament research are summarized and discussed, based on 43 original research papers published between 1986 and 2020. We aimed to present current advances in cat temperament research and identify potential gaps in knowledge, as well as opportunities for future research. Proximate mechanisms, such as genetic bases of temperament, ontogenesis and developmental factors, physiological mechanisms, and relationships with morphology, were reviewed. Methods traditionally used to assess the temperament of cats might be classified based on the duration of procedures (short- vs. long-term measures) and the nature of data recordings (coding vs. rating methods). The structure of cat temperament is frequently described using a set of behavioral dimensions, primarily based on interindividual variations in cats’ responses toward humans and conspecifics (e.g., friendliness, sociability, boldness, and aggressiveness). Finally, cats’ temperaments have implications for human–animal interactions and the one welfare concept. Temperament assessment can also contribute to practical aspects, for example, the adoption of shelter cats. Full article

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

14 pages, 1187 KiB  
Commentary
The Cohabitation of Humans and Urban Cats in the Anthropocene: The Clash of Welfare Concepts
by Filip Jaroš
Animals 2021, 11(3), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030705 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4454
Abstract
Urban environments are inhabited by several types of feline populations, which we can differentiate as feral cats, free-roaming pets, and confined pets. Due to a shift in the cultural representation of cats from pest controllers to companion animals, cats living semi-independently of humans [...] Read more.
Urban environments are inhabited by several types of feline populations, which we can differentiate as feral cats, free-roaming pets, and confined pets. Due to a shift in the cultural representation of cats from pest controllers to companion animals, cats living semi-independently of humans are perceived increasingly negatively, while the pet population has become the object of intense care. A regulative approach converges with a concern for welfare in the operation and educational campaigns of municipal shelters, which through their implementation of neutering policies have proven to be key players in the contemporary relation of urban cats and humans. The generally widespread notion of cat welfare associated with a secure life comes into tension with the fact that the psychobiological needs of feral cats are significantly different than those of pets. It becomes apparent that individual interactions between humans and cats in urban environments in the Anthropocene are increasingly influenced by the intervention of institutions that can be characterized as seeking to administer the wild. Full article
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