Special Issue "A Multidisciplinary Approach to Unveil the Link between Animal Welfare and Antimicrobial Use in Captive Animals"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessia Diana
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, University of Padua, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
Interests: behaviour; animal welfare; zoo animals; animal cognition; antimicrobials; swine; beef cattle; behavioural ecology; wildife conservation; social behaviour
Dr. Maria Rodrigues da Costa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Epidemiology Research Unit, Department of Veterinary and Animal Science, Northern Faculty - Scotland’s rural College (SRUC), IV2 5NA Inverness, Scotland, UK
Interests: pig production; epidemiology; animal health; animal welfare; antimicrobial use; antimicrobial resistance; public health; one health; one welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The over/mis-use of antimicrobials (AMU) in veterinary medicine is considered to be one of the major contributors to the development of antimicrobial resistance; a worldwide human and animal health threat. Evidence of resistant bacteria has been described in captive species (i.e., farm, lab, companion, and zoo animals). Thus, effective strategies are needed to promote more prudent and effective antimicrobial stewardship. Providing accurate data on AMU and potential risk factors is a pivotal step towards achieving this goal. Despite the acknowledged relationship between animal health, animal welfare and performance, the role of animal welfare in the reducing AMU has been poorly investigated. Some preliminary research is available on farm animals, whereas knowledge is sparse for zoo, companion, and lab animals.

Employing multiple disciplines (e.g., animal behaviour, animal cognition, computational ethology, epidemiology, and social sciences) in investigating this topic may represent a key tool in better understanding such a relationship, while also providing additional info on AMU in captive species. This in turn, will be useful for the development of new strategies for the more judicious management of AMU in veterinary medicine.

Original manuscripts, reviews and case studies that address the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to unveil the link between animal welfare and AMU in captive species are welcomed in this Special Issue. Presenting the most recent research on this topic will allow for a better understanding and investigation of the gaps presented above.

Dr. Alessia Diana
Dr. Maria Rodrigues da Costa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animal cognition
  • animal welfare
  • antimicrobial use
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • behaviour
  • companion animals
  • farm animals
  • multidisciplinary approach
  • precision livestock farming
  • zoo animals

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Relationship between Animal Welfare and Antimicrobial Use in Italian Dairy Farms
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092575 - 02 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1110
Abstract
Information regarding the relationship between animal welfare (AW) and antimicrobial use (AMU) in dairy cows is limited. The current study aimed to investigate this relationship on Italian farms and to identify potential targets of AMU reduction. The study was performed at 79 Italian [...] Read more.
Information regarding the relationship between animal welfare (AW) and antimicrobial use (AMU) in dairy cows is limited. The current study aimed to investigate this relationship on Italian farms and to identify potential targets of AMU reduction. The study was performed at 79 Italian dairy farms housing over 15,000 cows during 2019. AW was scored with an on-farm protocol assessing farm management and staff training, housing systems, and animal-based measures. AMU was estimated using a defined daily dose per kg of animal biomass (DDDAit/biomass) for Italy. The median AW score was 73% (range: 56.6–86.8%). The median AMU was 4.8 DDDAit/biomass (range: 0–11.8). No relationship between the total AMU and AW was found. Management and staff training were positively associated with the use of the European Medicines Agency’s category B antimicrobials, which are critical for human medicine, and with intramammary products for dry cow therapy. In those farms, antimicrobial stewardship should aim to reduce the category B antimicrobials and selective dry cow therapy. Our results underline the importance of implementing both an integrated monitoring system (AW, AMU, etc.) and antimicrobial stewardship tailored to the specific needs of each dairy farm. Full article
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Review

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Review
Linking Animal Welfare and Antibiotic Use in Pig Farming—A Review
Animals 2022, 12(2), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020216 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Preventative measures, such as biosecurity and vaccinations, are essential but not sufficient to ensure high standards of health in pig production systems. Restrictive, barren housing and many widely used management practices that cause pain and stress predispose high-performance pigs reared in intensive systems [...] Read more.
Preventative measures, such as biosecurity and vaccinations, are essential but not sufficient to ensure high standards of health in pig production systems. Restrictive, barren housing and many widely used management practices that cause pain and stress predispose high-performance pigs reared in intensive systems to disease. In this context, antibiotics are used as part of the infrastructure that sustains health and high levels of production in pig farms. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global emergency affecting human and animal health, and the use of antibiotics (AMU) in intensive livestock farming is considered an important risk factor for the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria from animals to humans. Tackling the issue of AMR demands profound changes in AMU, e.g., reducing their use for prophylaxis and ending it for growth promotion. In support of such recommendations, we revise the link between animal welfare and AMU and argue that it is crucial to sustainably reduce AMU while ensuring that pigs can live happy lives. In support of such recommendations, we aimed to revise the link between animal welfare and AMU in pigs by analysing stress factors related to housing and management and their impact on pig welfare. In particular, we reviewed critical management practices that increase stress and, therefore, pigs’ susceptibility to disease and reduce the quality of life of pigs. We also reviewed some alternatives that can be adopted in pig farms to improve animal welfare and that go beyond the reduction in stress. By minimising environmental and management stressors, pigs can become more immunocompetent and prepared to overcome pathogenic challenges. This outcome can contribute to reducing AMU and the risk of AMR while simultaneously improving the quality of life of pigs and, ultimately, maintaining the pig industry’s social license. Full article
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