[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Incentives to care for nonhuman animals derive in part from the extent to which people depend on animals for food, for livelihood, and for cultural and psychological reasons as well as from the duty to protect animals in their care. When attention is turned to solving and preventing animal welfare problems at times of crisis, it becomes clear that those problems are also associated with problems for human welfare and environmental impact. The incidence and spread of animal diseases is affected by how animals are treated, and this can have very important effects. Similarly, during disasters caused by either natural or human-made events, outcomes for animals are important both in themselves and for their effects on humans and the environment. The need to plan and prepare to care for animals in advance of disease pandemics and disasters - and then to provide coordinated, measured management in response when such crises occur - requires collaboration between all agencies involved as well as increasing attention and resources.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Procedures that increase the sustainability of agriculture often result in animals being treated more humanely:both livestock in animal and mixed farming and wildlife in arable farming. Equally, procedures ensuring humane treatment of farm animals often increase sustainability, for example in disease control and manure management. This overlap between sustainability and humaneness is not coincidental. Both approaches can be said to be animal centered, to be based on the fact that animal production is primarily a biological process. Proponents of both will gain from recognition of commonality and development of cooperation. A collaborative approach to humane sustainable agriculture will benefit animals, people, and the environment.
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 01/2005; 18(3):293-303. DOI:10.1007/s10806-005-1490-9 · 0.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper is the report of a meetingthat gathered many of the UK's most senioranimal scientists with representatives of thefarming industry, consumer groups, animalwelfare groups, and environmentalists. Therewas strong consensus that the current economicstructure of agriculture cannot adequatelyaddress major issues of concern to society:farm incomes, food security and safety, theneeds of developing countries, animal welfare,and the environment. This economic structure isbased primarily on competition betweenproducers and between retailers, driving foodprices down, combined with externalization ofmany costs. These issues must be addressed by acombination of legislation, restructuring ofthe market, and use of public funds. Themeeting included workshops that made otherrecommendations for research and education. Themost urgent requirement is recognition thatchange is needed and development of a visionfor what that change must achieve.
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 06/2003; 16(4):395-408. DOI:10.1023/A:1025607929777 · 0.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the publication of Animal Machines (Harrison, 1964), there has been widespread public pressure in Europe--supported by European institutions--to "ban the battery cage." The European Union (EU) and national governments (particularly in Northern Europe) funded research on noncage systems for egg production and enriched cages. In 1986, the EU passed a Directive specifying a minimum size for cages, but public opinion--again particularly in the North--continued to require more. A market sector emerged that would pay more for noncage eggs. Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland passed more stringent legislation than the rest of Europe. A 1999 Directive with details based on advice from the EU's Scientific Veterinary Committee will phase out conventional laying cages but allow enriched cages. Implementation depends on various factors, including negotiations in the World Trade Organization. In the next 10 years, however, major changes to the housing of most laying hens in Europe almost certainly will occur. Similar changes in other countries will follow. As in Europe, change probably will be piecemeal, affected both by public pressure and by all sectors of society: producers, retailers, consumers, legislators, and the media.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twelve Isa Brown hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) were trained to open a locked door for access to a pen containing an enclosed nest box ('nest test') and to return to a home pen containing food, water, litter and a perch ('home test'). The door was connected to a computer-controlled load cell, which recorded work exerted on the door and unlocked the door when the hen had exceeded a predetermined workload. Following training, the workload was set at 10 Ns, and hens received one nest test per day at 80, 60, 40 or 20 min prior to oviposition, and then one home test per day after 1, 2, 3 or 4 h confinement in the nest pen. As oviposition approached, hens showed a higher work-rate for access to the nest pen, showed a shorter latency to use the nest box and spent a greater proportion of their visit time in the nest box. Hens also worked harder for the home pen, showed a lower latency to feed and spent more time feeding after their return as period of confinement increased. The hens' work-rate for the nest pen at 40 min prior to oviposition was comparable with their work-rate for the home pen after 4 h confinement, while their work-rate was at its highest in nest tests at 20 min prior to oviposition. The technique appears to be a valid means of assessing the importance of environmental resources, the values of which vary with time. The results suggest that hens place a higher value on gaining access to a discrete nest-site prior to oviposition than they do on gaining access to food following 4 h food deprivation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. A 3-year trial was carried out of cages for laying hens, occupying a full laying house. The main cage designs used were 5000 cm2 in area, 50 cm high at the rear and furnished with nests and perches. F cages had a front rollaway nest at the side, lined with artificial turf. FD cages also had a dust bath containing sand over the nest. H cages had two nest hollows at the side, one in front of the other. They were compared with conventional cages 2500 cm2 in area and 38 cm high at the rear. 2. Cages were stocked with from 4 to 8 ISA Brown hens per cage, resulting in varied allowances of area, feeder and perch per bird. No birds were beak trimmed. In F and FD cages two further treatments were applied: nests and dust baths were sometimes fitted with gates to exclude birds from dust baths in the morning and from both at night; elevated food troughs, with a lip 33 cm above the cage floor, were compared with standard troughs. 3. Management of the house was generally highly successful, with temperature control achieved by ventilation. Egg production was above breeders' standards and not significantly affected by cage design. More eggs per bird were collected when there were fewer birds per cage but food consumption also then tended to be higher. 4. The number of downgraded eggs was variable, with some tendency for more in furnished cages. Eggs laid in dust baths were often downgraded. Those laid at the back of the cage were frequently dirty because of accumulation of droppings. H nests were unsuccessful, with less than 50% of eggs laid in the nest hollows. However, up to 93% of eggs were laid in front rollaways, and few of these were downgraded. 5. Feather and foot damage were generally less in furnished than in conventional cages, greater where there were more birds per cage. With an elevated food trough there was less feather damage but more overgrowth of claws. In year 2, mortality was greater in cages with more birds. 6. Pre-laying behaviour was mostly settled in front rollaway nests. Dust baths were used more for pecking and scratching than for dust bathing. Comfort behaviour was more frequent in furnished cages than conventional, although still not frequent. Locomotion was strongly affected by number of birds per cage or by space per bird, being reduced by crowding. Most birds perched at night except in one treatment providing only 10.7 cm perch per bird. 7. Behaviour was more unrestricted and varied, and physical condition was better, in furnished than in conventional cages. However, egg production will cost more in furnished cages, partly because more eggs are downgraded. Dust baths must be fitted with gates that the birds cannot open from outside, but gates for nest boxes were found unnecessary. If a low perch is fitted it must be far enough from the back of the cage for birds to walk there. 8. Where there was less space per bird (more birds per cage) than the requirements in the 1999 European Commission Directive on laying hens, there were: fewer eggs per hen, but still above the breeders' target; lower food consumption; more feather and foot damage, but less than in conventional cages; higher mortality in one trial out of three; less freedom of movement. However, the results were still very good even with 8 birds per cage, and support the principle that furnished cages provide an acceptable way of protecting the welfare of laying hens.
British Poultry Science 10/2002; 43(4):489-500. DOI:10.1080/0007166022000004390 · 0.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This experiment investigated the ability of the domestic hen to predict a time interval of several minutes when given a reliable signal. This was achieved using the peak procedure method, an extension of a fixed interval (FI) schedule that gives partial reinforcement to identify temporal expectation on both sides of a remembered time for food delivery. Five birds were individually trained to peck a computer controlled touch screen. The screen displayed a symbol to signal the start of a trial and the first peck to the symbol after the FI of 6min had elapsed resulted in food being provided, the houselight in the roof of the pen illuminating, and the screen going blank. On probe trials the hens were not rewarded and the trial continued for 9min. The birds obtained on average 90% of available rewards on non-probe trials. On probe trials the response rate increased gradually reaching a maximum around the time of expected reinforcement of 6min. The birds showed a lowered level of response at the start of the interval. The percentage of the FI that had elapsed before 25% of the responses had occurred was consistently greater than 25%. The results indicate that domestic hens may have the ability to estimate the time to reward when given a reliable visual signal several minutes in advance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Weight gain, milk intake, starter intake and number of days with diarrhoea were measured for individually housed Holstein calves offered milk twice daily by bucket at 5% of body weight per feeding (n=11) or ad libitum from a teat (n=12) from birth until 4 weeks of age. Mean weight gains during the first 2 weeks were 0.36 and 0.85kg/day and during the next 2 weeks were 0.58 and 0.79kg/day respectively. These differences were probably the result of higher milk consumption by teat-fed versus bucket-fed calves, which occurred in all 4 weeks. Starter consumption was negligible until 3 weeks of age for both groups, but the bucket-fed calves consumed more than teat-fed calves (0.25 versus 0.11kg/day) during week 4. Milk drinking behaviour was studied in detail for eight teat-fed calves over 24h. Total feeding time was 47min. All individuals took their largest meals after new milk was provided in the morning (4.7kg at 6.4g/s) and after milk was added in the afternoon (3.2kg at 5.0g/s); 74% of total daily intake was consumed in these two meals. Calves that drank more also drank faster (r=0.78 for morning meals, 0.90 for afternoon meals). Intake rate varied little over the course of large meals, although it tended to decelerate towards the end of the meal. Calves consumed the first meal of the day in 13min, during which they were attached to the teat for 80% of the time. These meals comprised, on average, 25 individual sucking events of 25s duration, interspersed by gaps of 7s. Calves occasionally butted the teat, normally during the middle of the meal, and the frequency of butting correlated positively with intake rate (r=0.80). Feeding calves ad libitum from teats allows them to determine their own intake patterns while improving performance compared to conventional bucket feeding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dairy calves are commonly vocal after separation from the cow and during the following weeks while they are fed milk. This study examined the functional and motivational basis for such vocalizations. In one experiment, we found that 14 newborn calves called on average (±S.E.M.) 31.4 (±7.0) times per day when fed according to conventional management (i.e. twice daily for a total of 5l during 24h). In contrast, when calves were fed every 4h and received 8l of milk per day they called only 5.0 (±3.4) times over that period. Calls were also higher in fundamental frequency when calves were fed conventionally than when fed more milk, more often (120.6±2.2 versus 109.0±3.1Hz). In a second experiment, we found that 19 five-week-old calves deprived of milk called on average 9.9 (±2.1) times during a 3h period compared to 0.3 (±0.5) times when they had ad libitum access to milk. These results indicate that the vocalizations of milk-fed calves are related to milk feeding practices and that vocal behaviour may be useful in developing methods of separation and weaning that are less distressing for the calf. Analysis of call duration, fundamental frequency and frequency of maximum amplitude indicated that calls of calves in both experiments were individually distinctive, providing a potential basis for recognition of calves by cows.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vocalizations during competition among nursing piglets were studied to investigate their possible effects, functions and implications for welfare. In Expt 1, two experimental piglets in each of 14 litters were temporarily deprived of milk by covering their preferred teats on the sow’s udder. These piglets spent more time away from their teats than two control piglets, and vocalized frequently in the 2 min before milk ejection. Frequency of vocalization showed no consistent change over time within nursings; nor did it change in successive nursings despite the fact that hunger presumably increased. In Expt 2, tape recordings of intense vocalizations (screams) produced by piglets competing at the udder were played to 22 litters while they were nursing; each litter was played its own recording, a recording from another litter and silence as a control. Of 51 nursings analysed, 14 were terminated without milk ejection, all during playbacks. When the sow did nurse successfully during a playback, nursing was shorter (138 s) than during the silent controls (179 s). Both these responses by the sow might be expected to advance the next nursing. Piglets rarely showed any apparent response to screaming either from their littermates or from the loudspeaker. These results suggest that the calls function mainly as a signal to the sow that some piglets are being excluded from the current nursing episode.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two experiments examined the effect of age and diet on behavioural responses of piglets to separation from the sow. In Experiment 1, the vocalizations of piglets were recorded during short term (10 min) isolation from the sow and litter-mates at 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks of age. From each of 10 litters, two piglets were assigned to each of the four age groups. Piglets of all ages vocalized intensely during isolation, but call rate was lower with older piglets, especially for high-frequency calls (>500 Hz). When returned to the sow, piglets made distinctive `quacking' vocalizations, and older piglets produced fewer of these calls than younger piglets. Experiment 2 involved two treatments: weaning age and diet quality. Piglets were weaned at either 2 weeks of age and onto a diet formulated for piglets of this age, or at 4 weeks of age and fed either a diet typically provided for piglets of this age or a more palatable and nutritionally complex diet. Three piglets from each of 16 litters were assigned to each of the three treatment groups. We monitored vocalizations over the first 3 days after weaning, and measured the incidence of belly-nosing during the subsequent week. Piglets weaned onto the standard diet at 4 weeks produced high-frequency calls (>500 Hz) at a significantly higher rate than those weaned onto the more complex diet, but there was no effect of diet on the incidence of belly-nosing. Piglets weaned at 2 weeks produced more high-frequency calls and performed more belly-nosing than piglets weaned at 4 weeks onto either diet. Thus the behavioural response to separation is greater at younger ages both when the period of separation is too short for diet to be a factor (Experiment 1) and when younger piglets are provided with a specialized diet that allows them to achieve acceptable weight gain after weaning (Experiment 2). These results indicate that separation distress and frustration of suckling motivation are significant problems when piglets are weaned at less than 4 weeks of age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although they have many disadvantages for welfare, including for behavior, laying hen cages also have advantages. For example, aggression and cannibalism (or the need for beak trimming to prevent these) are usually less than in other systems, benefiting both the birds and the producer. There have been three approaches to reducing other behavioral problems. First, the design of conventional cages has been improved, which has had favorable effects on some aspects of behavior, such as feeding. Second, cages for larger groups of birds have been tested; for example, the getaway cage has increased behavioral freedom but has also increased problems such as aggression and cannibalism. Third, novel cages have been designed for conventional group sizes. Many of the behavioral problems-for producers, birds, or both--occurring in conventional cages can be reduced or prevented by increasing cage area (including width) and height and by providing a nest box, dust bath, and perch. Some of these modifications could be implemented at negligible cost to the producer. Others will be commercially viable if premium prices are available for eggs or if legislation on housing of laying hens changes.