Three recently developed and published schemes to evaluate the acceptability of proposed animal experiments are discussed and compared:1. The model developed at the request of the Dutch Veterinary Public Health Chief Inspectorate by the Department of Animal Problems of Leiden University (the 'Dutch Model');2. The model proposed by the Canadian, David G Porter (the 'Porter model');3. The model developed by the British Institute of Medical Ethics, published in 'Lives in the Balance: The Ethics of Using Animals in Biomedical Research' (the 'IME model').It is concluded that the Porter model although compact, does not have an acceptable level of discrimination; nor does it provide the researcher with any pragmatic tools to optimize the research design. The other models appear to be quite adequate for the different purposes for which they were developed. The Dutch model was developed to guide the evaluation procedure at the level of local institution-based committees (ie internal evaluation by colleagues), whereas the IME model will serve the professional officers of the United Kingdom Home Office Inspectorate (ie external evaluation).Finally, the pragmatic consequences of the three models are discussed with respect to two hypothetical cases.
This paper use the Missyplicity Project's detailed Code of Bioethics as a starting point for discussion of animal rights perspectives on cloning. Although funded by a couple in order to clone their pet dog, the project has more important collateral goals and forms part of a general line of research, that, if successful, promises enormous clinical benefits to humans. A particular type of animal rights perspective is described and used to evaluate this project. This perspective accepts a 'principle of axiological anthropocentrism' (PAA), according to which only human beings have certain interests, or a kind of value, which is of pre-eminent moral significance. The best-known animal rights views (those of Singer and Regan) are shown to be consistent with the PAA. This perspective also denies that potential characteristics qualify their possessors for the same type of moral respect as actualized characteristics. The balancing of potential benefits against risks to research subjects is discussed and it is concluded that, from the particular ethical perspective adopted in this paper, cloning research of this general type is not particularly problematic; and, given its stringent Code of Bioethics, only an abolitionist perspective could condemn the Missyplicity Project in particular.
Modern genetics has given us some very efficient tools with which to alter the characteristics of animals. To date, farm animal breeders have mainly used these tools to increase productivity. Thus, each new generation of farm animals matures faster, yields more milk, or produces more meat or eggs, than the previous one. Despite these apparent benefits, modern farm animal breeding has had severe negative consequences, including effects on the quality of the animals' lives and biodiversity. The aim of this paper is to discuss the goals and consequences of farm animal breeding within an ethical context. First, a description of what has happened to broilers and dairy cattle as breeders have pursued the goal of ever more efficient production is given. Second, the ethical values that ought to underlie future breeding schemes are discussed. It is suggested that there are in fact two very different ethical approaches: the 'quality of life-based' approach and the 'preservationist' approach. A view combining elements from both approaches is advanced. Finally, an example is given of how it is possible, in practice, to pursue an ethically defensible breeding goal without compromising production efficiency.
Attitudes to animal biotechnology are diverse, partly because people have different viewpoints and often do not recognize or acknowledge this to be so. First, people adopt different ethical approaches. If an opponent of genetic manipulation says 'I don't like the idea of altering animals' biology' and a proponent replies '...but it is useful', they are failing to communicate, because one is asking whether the action is right or wrong, whereas the other emphasizes the consequences. Another approach focuses on the person carrying out the action. Many people have hybrid views combining elements of these different approaches. Second, people's concepts of welfare vary, emphasizing animal minds, bodies or natures--or a combination of these. A proponent who argues that a particular genetic change will not cause suffering is unlikely to reassure an opponent who puts more emphasis on naturalness than on feelings or health. An improved dialogue, in which people attempt to understand one another's viewpoints, may enable common principles to be established and practical measures to be taken that enable more cooperation in attempts to improve both human and animal welfare.
Human interaction as environmental enrichment for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and other primates is widely promoted and believed to be of value, but has been subject to little objective evaluation. This study assessed the effects of positive human interaction (eg relaxed treat feeding, playing, and other forms of social interaction compatible with personnel safety) on the behaviour of adult chimpanzees. Subjects were housed indoors in groups of two or three individuals. The level of interaction during routine care and management (ie in the process of cleaning, feeding, and monitoring) represented the baseline condition. The test condition involved a familiar caretaker spending an additional 10 minutes per day, 5 days a week, with each chimpanzee. This study was designed to assess carry-over effects of interaction on behaviour outside of the context of care staff presence. Therefore, in all phases of the study, data (97 hours of focal animal sampling) were collected only when caretakers were absent from the building. During the increased human interaction phase, the chimpanzees groomed each other more and showed lower levels of the following behaviours: regurgitation/reingestion, other oral abnormal behaviours, inactivity, and reactivity to the displays of neighboring groups. A trend toward reduced agonistic displaying was detected as well. Attempted interactions with the observer shifted significantly from predominantly aggressive to predominantly affiliative in nature. These results suggest that simple, unstructured affiliation between humans and chimpanzees should be a valued component of behavioural management.
Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders, epitomized by the the recent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in cattle and the emergence of a novel variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (vCJD) in humans. In prion disease, the agent of infection is believed to be composed of proteinaceous particles, termed prions, which are converted from a normal isoform into a pathogenic isoform during pathogenesis. A bioassay to detect pathogenic prions of BSE in bovine products consumed by humans was unattainable until the development of transgenic mice, due to the significantly lower susceptibility of wild-type mice to BSE. Transgenic mice have now been generated which express the bovine prion protein and are susceptible to BSE. Following an intracerebral injection with brain homogenate of BSE-infected cattle, transgenic mice develop numerous clinical signs of prion disease, including truncal ataxia (inability to coordinate the torso's muscular activity), increased tone of the tail, generalized tremor, and lack of a forelimb extensor response. In this study, the ethical score system devised by Porter (1992) was applied to the BSE bioassay as a tool for identifying welfare issues affecting animals used in the bioassay. We acknowledge that there are limitations to the use of the information arising from the application of the Porter scoring scheme for assessing the justification to proceed with any animal experiment; notwithstanding these problems, however, our application of the Porter model to the BSE bioassay enabled us to identify potential targets for refinement: pain involved, duration of distress and the duration of the experiment. This was despite lenient scoring for the duration of distress and pain experienced by the mice, and optimal scoring for the quality of animal care. The targets identified for refinement are discussed in relation to the method of inoculation, the duration of the bioassay, and the duration of the clinical phase, with the objective of exploring ways of reducing the severity of the bioassay.
This paper reports results from two workshops held in York, England that investigated public attitudes towards the welfare of broiler chickens. At the outset the majority of participants admitted that they knew little about how broiler chickens are reared and were shocked at some of the facts presented to them. Cognitive mapping and aspects of Q methodology were used to reveal the range of variables that participants believed affected chicken welfare, the causal relationships between those variables, and what variables were considered most and least important. While some participants focused on the importance of meeting basic needs such as access to food, water, light and ventilation, others highlighted the role of welfare regulations and public opinion. Factor analysis of the results from a ranking exercise identified two factor groups, “Factor one - The bigger picture” and “Factor two – Basic animal rights”. The findings demonstrate that some members of the public are both interested in learning about how their food is produced and concerned about the conditions faced by broiler chickens. Some are able to see clear links between public opinion and the welfare of farm animals, an important connection if consumer behaviour is to contribute towards improving animal welfare.
A technique measuring leukocyte (neutrophil) activity was used to examine differences between stress levels in a breeding colony of rhesus macaques housed in either a traditional caging system or open-rooms. The leukocyte activation test measured the degree to which blood from the two treatment groups could launch a further neutrophil response (superoxide production) to an in vitro challenge. Animals housed in a traditional caging system produced a significantly lower leukocyte response than animals housed in open-rooms, indicating that there was a higher level of stress associated with caged housing than open-room housing. This was not influenced by whether animals were physically restrained or trained to stand for a sedating injection. No differences were found between treatment groups in leukocyte numbers or composition. This study validates the use of the leukocyte activation test to assess physiological stress levels in non-human primates and demonstrates the animal welfare benefits of open-room housing over traditional laboratory caging systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The paper presents the method and findings of a Delphi expert survey to assess the impact of UK government farm animal welfare policy, farm assurance schemes and major food retailer specifications on the welfare of animals on farms. Two case-study livestock production systems are considered, dairy and cage egg production. The method identifies how well the various standards perform in terms of their effects on a number of key farm animal welfare variables, and provides estimates of the impact of the three types of standard on the welfare of animals on farms, taking account of producer compliance. The study highlights that there remains considerable scope for government policy, together with farm assurance schemes, to improve the welfare of farm animals by introducing standards that address key factors affecting animal welfare and by increasing compliance of livestock producers. There is a need for more comprehensive, regular and random surveys of on-farm welfare to monitor compliance with welfare standards (legislation and welfare codes) and the welfare of farm animals over time, and a need to collect farm data on the costs of compliance with standards. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Investigated whether socialization of the cat towards conspecifics and people influenced adaptation to 2 types of housing. Socialization in 169 rescued neutered 1–8 yr old cats was determined by 2 behavioral tests and a socialization questionnaire. Stress levels of the cats in the animal shelter single- and group-housing conditions were recorded by the non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score (M. R. Kessler and D. C. Turner, 1997). Cats non-socialized toward conspecifics (n-SC) were more stressed than cats socialized toward conspecifics (SC) in the group enclosure. During the 1st hr and on Days 6 and 7, n-SC cats were significantly less stressed under the single-housing condition. Other members of the group had a higher stress level when an n-SC cat entered the group. Among SC cats there was no difference in stress between housing conditions. Cats non-socialized toward people were more stressed than cats socialized toward people during the whole stay under both housing conditions. It was concluded that n-SC cats should be held under single-housing conditions. For SC cats, both conditions are equally recommended for stays of a few weeks. Shelter stays for cats not socialized toward people should be avoided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Individual differences in behavior may be examined at two levels. First, individuals may differ in terms of frequencies, durations and/or patterning of particular measures of their behavior. Second, individuals may differ in their temperament, the way they react to environmental change and challenge. Individual differences in temperament are particularly relevant to animal welfare studies, for the welfare of an individual largely depends on whether it can cope with environmental challenge. Whereas the study of individual differences in behavior at the first level may be achieved by using standard behavioral methods, the study of individual differences in temperament requires the use of more unusual methods, namely observers' ratings and behavioral tests. Observers' ratings provide information on subtle aspects of an individual's behavior that could otherwise be overlooked Behavioral tests facilitate comparisons between individuals in a more standardized way. It is suggested that both systems should be used together. Taking individual differences into account when designing experiments may help reduce variability in studies on welfare issues and understanding the causes of individual differences in temperament may allow us to reduce the incidence of some welfare problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Anthropocentric claims about the ways in which non-human animals interact in their social and non-social worlds are often used to influence decisions on how animals can or should be used by humans in various sorts of activities. Thus, the treatment of individuals is often tightly linked to how they are perceived with respect to their ability to perform behavior patterns that suggest that they can think—have beliefs, desires, or make plans and have expectations about the future. This article reviews some basic issues in the comparative study of animal minds and discusses how matters of mind are related to matters of welfare and well-being. Much comparative research still needs to be done before any stipulative claims can be made about how an individual's cognitive abilities can be used to influence decisions about how she or he should be treated. The author stresses the importance of (1) subjectivity and common sense along with the use of empirical data in making decisions about animal welfare, and (2) viewing subjective assessments in the same critical light that is used to evaluate supposedly objective scientific facts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This study explored the effect of auditory stimulation on the behavior and welfare of four zoo-housed, female Asian elephants (
Elephas maximus). All animals were exposed, in an ABA design, to two conditions of auditory stimulation: a 'control' (no auditory stimulation), and an 'experimental' condition, during which the animals were presented with a commercially-available CD of classical music. Each condition lasted for five days, with an interim period of two days between each condition (Study 1). The elephants' behavior was recorded every minute for four hours a day for the full five days of each condition using instantaneous scan-sampling. The procedure was repeated four months later (Study 2), for a shorter period of time (one day per condition, again using an ABA design) to assess whether the results are generalizable. Analysis of both studies revealed that the elephants spent significantly less of their time stereotyping during the experimental conditions than the control. None of the other behaviors recorded were influenced significantly by auditory stimulation. Overall, the findings from this study suggest that auditory stimulation, in the form of classical music, may be a useful method of reducing stereotypic behavior in zoo-housed Asian elephants, although more long-term work with a larger number of animals is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
To use behaviours as indicators of stress it is important to understand their underlying causation. For a prey animal in the wild, such as a sheep, behavioural responses have evolved to evade detection and capture by predators. The behavioural responses of the wild ancestors of domestic sheep to the threat of predation are characterised predominantly by vigilance, flocking, flight to cover and behavioural inhibition once refuge has been reached. Some limited defensive behaviours are seen, mainly in females with young against small predators. Vigilance and flight distance are affected by the animal's assessment of risk and are influenced by the environment, social group size, age, sex and reproductive condition, as well as by previous experience with potential predators. Under conditions of stress, domestic sheep show similar behavioural reactions to wild sheep, although the threshold at which they are elicited may be elevated. This is particularly evident when comparing less selected hill breeds with more highly selected lowland breeds, and suggests that a continuum of responsiveness exists between wild and feral sheep, through hill breeds to the lowland sheep breeds. However, this may be confounded by the previous experience of the breeds, particularly their familiarity with humans. Behavioural and neurobiological evidence suggests that, although the behavioural response to predators (vigilance, flight) is innate, the stimuli that elicit this behavioural pattern may have a learned component. Since vigilance and flight distances are affected by the animal's perception of threat, they may be useful indices of stress in sheep and, as graded responses, give some indication of the level of threat experienced by the sheep. Thus they may indicate the amount of fear or distress experienced by the sheep and hence hove the potential to be used in the assessment of welfare states. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Despite an auspicious start from which lasting theories were generated (e.g., critical periods hypothesis, Scott & Marston 1950), and despite recent modern technology enabling biological investigations of sensory development (e.g., EEG, fMRI), in the last fifty years little attention has been devoted to the development of puppies' (
Canis lupus f. familiaris) sensory abilities. Attention to puppies' sensory development is needed for both theoretical and applied purposes, because understanding puppies' early experiences depends on understanding their perceptual world. This paper reviews the chronology of sensory development in puppies, looking at each sense individually. It then examines the relationships among phases of sensory and neural development and the critical periods proposed by Scott and Marston (1950). With improved knowledge and awareness of canine sensory development, researchers and other practitioners that work with puppies can better assess and improve puppies' welfare. Therefore, this review should be of interest not only to researchers, but should also be of use to others that interact with dogs (e.g., shelter workers, dog breeders). By knowing what puppies are able to see, practitioners can visually enrich puppies' environments. By knowing what puppies are able to taste and smell, practitioners can better predict the preference-related impact of introducing dietary variation to puppies. Knowing when puppies are first, and best, able to hear, see, and otherwise sense people and other animals, practitioners can design and customise programmes of socialisation and systematic exposure of young puppies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the relationship between qualitative categories of sheep welfare and associated quantitative behavioural observations. Most scientific studies rely on quantitative measures, however to interpret those measures in terms of an animal's experience of welfare, the use of qualitative terminologies denoting various emotional states (eg fear, pain, distress) seems hard to avoid. This is especially so in cases where the same behavioural or physiological indicator could have different meanings for welfare; high levels of locomotion, for example, could indicate fear, aggression, or both. To resolve such dilemmas, scientists often resort to judging an animal's most likely state through direct observation; indeed qualitative characterisations are often intertwined with reported quantitative results. This paper reviews frequently used qualitative categories of sheep welfare and the behavioural context in which these categories are applied. Qualitative judgements of welfare tend to habitually be regarded as 'subjective', ie as anthropomorphic and unreliable; however from this review it appears that such judgements reflect the overall demeanour of an animal's behaviour, and as such may provide a useful empirical basis for the investigation of emotional expression in sheep, further development of a qualitative behavioural approach may provide a more complete picture of the expressive repertoire of sheep, and enhance our understanding of ways in which these animals experience well-being or distress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Stress cues can affect the welfare of animals in close proximity and are possibly useful non-invasive indicators of the emitters' welfare. To facilitate their study in murids, we tested whether rats' stress odours could be collected and stored using an enfleurage-type technique. 'Donor' rats were individually exposed to a compound stressor (carried
circa 75 m inside a novel container, then euthanised with rising carbon dioxide) while on blotting paper dotted with melted vegetable lard. These sheets were sealed, left at room temperature for 2-5 h, and then 'bioassayed' by a blind observer for their effects on conspecifics. Compared with control sheets (exposed to unstressed rats, to CO₂ alone, or untreated), stress-exposed sheets significantly affected the unconditioned behaviour of 16 pairs of detector rats trained to enter an arena from their home cage to obtain sucrose. When used to line this arena, the stress-exposed sheets significantly increased: i) rats' latencies to eat, to place front feet into, and to completely step into the arena and ii) shuttling movements between arena and home cage. These pilot data thus suggest that odours produced by stressed rats can be simply and successfully collected and stored for several hours, though certain potential confounds (eg urine volume) may conceivably be alternative explanations for the observed effects. Future work should control for urine volume, and assess whether fat is needed for optimal odour absorption by paper and for how long sheets can be stored at various temperatures. Much fundamental work is also still needed on the nature, functions, and sources of stress odours. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Investigated differential responses of 56 cotton-top tamarin monkeys to the fecal scent of predators and non-predators. Methylene chloride extracts were prepared from the feces of suspected predators (margay and tayra) and non-predators (capybara and paca) known to co-exist with the tamarins in the wild. The fecal extracts were presented to the tamarins on wooden dowels in their enclosures. Untreated dowel and dowel treated with methylene chloride served as controls. The tamarins exhibited high-anxiety responses to predator scent compared to non-predator scent. No sex differences were found but an age difference was apparent—younger tamarins were more curious than their elders. The response pattern was observed in captive-born individuals and was not affected by whether or not their parents were wild-caught or captive-born. This indicates that the discrimination of predator and non-predator scents is innate. The results suggest that in captive environments where both predator and prey species are kept, it is important that predators, and their feces, are not situated where prey species can detect their presence through olfaction, because prey species may suffer continual levels of heightened anxiety with possible detrimental effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Isolating an animal refers to the situation where the animal is physically fully demarcated from conspecifics without physical, visual, olfactory and auditory contact. Animals housed in separate cages In the same room are, although deprived of physical and visual contact, still In olfactory and auditory contact, and thus not totally isolated. During the fifties and sixties several studies claimed to show physiological and behavioural differences between individually and group housed rats and mice. The so-called 'Isolation Syndrome' characterised by changes in corticosterone levels, metabolism, growth, and behaviour was introduced, rather as a model for psychoneurosis than through any concern for animal welfare. Today, it is often stated as common knowledge in laboratory animal science textbooks that individual housing as well as isolation of rats and mice has an effect on physiology and behaviour It is, however, unclear whether this effect actually impairs animal welfare. The aim of this paper is to analyse studies on individual housing of mice and rats to evaluate whether there is documented proof that individual housing affects welfare, and, alternatively whether It is possible to house these animals individually without negative impact on welfare, e.g., by providing special housing improvements. A range of studies have shown that individual housing or isolation has effects on corticosterone, the open field behaviour, barbiturate sleeping time and the metabolism of different pharmaceuticals In the animals. However, this review of 37 studies in rats and 17 studies in mice showed divergence in test results difficult to explain, as many studies lacked basal information about the study, e.g., information on genetic strains and housing conditions, such as bedding, enrichment and cage sizes. Furthermore, test and control groups most frequently differed in cage sizes and stocking densities, and behavioural tests differed in ways which may very well explain the differences in results. Overall, there seemed to be an effect of individual housing, although it may be small, and it seems reasonable to assume that, through making small changes in the procedures and housing environments, the effects can be minimised or even eliminated. More well-controlled and standardised studies are needed to give more specific answers to the questions this Issue poses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)-baiting programmes are an important and often the only option for reducing the impact of invasive vertebrate pests on biodiversity and agricultural production in Australia and New Zealand. These programmes are generally recognised as being target specific, and environmentally and user safe. Nevertheless, although 1080 has few recognised long-term side-effects, its potential to disrupt endocrine systems has been recently raised, and there is some conjecture regarding the humaneness of 1080 for certain target species. However, the assessment of the humaneness of any vertebrate pesticide must be commensurate with its mode of action, metabolism, target specificity, and operational use. This has not always occurred with 1080, particularly regarding these aspects, and its overall effects. The actual risk faced by non-target species during baiting operations is not accurately reflected simply by their sensitivity to 1080. 1080 is not endocrine-disrupting or carcinogenic, and because of the lag phase before signs of poisoning occur, the time from ingestion to death is not a reliable indicator of its humaneness. Moreover, functional receptors and neurological pathways are required to experience pain. However, as 1080 impairs neurological function, mainly through effects on acetylcholine and glutamate, and as this impairment includes some pain receptors, it is difficult to interpret the behaviour of affected animals, or to assess their ability to experience discomfort and pain. This has implications for assessing the merits of including ameliorative agents in 1080 baits aimed at further improving welfare outcomes. We also suggest that the assessment of the humaneness of any vertebrate pesticide should follow the ethical pest control approach, and on this basis, believe that the use of 1080 to reduce the detrimental impacts of invasive vertebrates is ethical, particularly with respect to the expectations of the wider community.
In a 2x2 factorial design, (n=6) sheep were either transported by road for 15h or kept in their home pens, and then either starved for 12h with access to water or offered hay and libitum, with access to water. All groups were offered hay and water 12h after transport. Behavioural observations and measurements of dehydration and feed restriction were made before, during, and for 24h post-transport, to evaluate the implications of these procedures for the welfare of sheep.After the journey, the immediate priority for the sheep was to eat. Consumption of hay increased water intake and reduced the time spent lying down. The plasma cortisol concentration was greater in sheep which had been starved during the 12h post-transport period, than in those offered hay during this time; and the plasma free fatty acid concentration was greater in sheep which had been transported than in those which had not. Although transported sheep kept without hay during the first 12h post-transport drank more water than those which had not been transported, the mean time before they drank was greater than 7h. During the transport period, there was less lying behaviour in transported sheep than in non-transported sheep but transported sheep did not lie down more post-transport than non-transported ones. This work suggests that sheep should be offered both feed and water after a 15h journey. However, when feed was not available after a 15h journey, drinking and resting did not appear to be immediate priorities.
The European Union (EU) has often been regarded as a prime mover in the cause of improved animal welfare. There is a great deal of European legislation to support this contention. This article discusses a recent case brought by the UK Government under Article 177 of the Treaty of Rome 1957 which challenges the assumption that EU law always favours animal welfare. We suggest that free trade is the driving force behind EU legislation and that where this conflicts with animal welfare, free trade is usually preferred.
Suitable systems for the assessment of animal welfare are in increasing demand. In Austria, the TGI 35 L Animal Needs Index is widely used and has been shown to be a feasible and reliable tool for animal welfare assessment on farms. Here we focus on the validity of TGI 35 L assessments, and explore the correlation between animal welfare as assessed by the TGI 35 L and animal health and behavioural parameters. From the results, it can be determined whether the criteria assessed by the TGI 35 L are preconditions for a high level of health and normal behaviour. Behaviour and health were examined in 11 cattle houses, totalling 169 animals. Behaviour was observed for two days on each farm. Data on resting behaviour, comfort behaviour, social behaviour, feed intake behaviour and eliminative behaviour were collected. Health was assessed using veterinary examinations carried out according to the General Clinical and the Orthopaedic Examination Proceedings. Significant correlations were found between the TGI scores and behaviour and health, including results for skin lesions and injuries. This indicates good validity of the TGI 35 L assessment system for cattle. A comprehensive system for the assessment of animal welfare on farms must comprise parameters of housing, climate, management and stockmanship, and animal-related parameters.
The aim of this study was a comparison of Animal Needs Index (ANI) data, derived from annual inspections by a control agency, with data collected from 164 selected on-farm flocks concerning feather damage, injuries, egg production, mortality, bodyweight, foot pad dermatitis, keel bone deviations and reactions towards humans (eg flock showed marked avoidance when the observer walked through the hen-house [yes/no]).Analysis of data showed a low number of significant correlations with total ANI scores and category scores: 1) Locomotion, 2) Social interaction, 3) Flooring, 4) Light, air and noise and 5) Stockmanship. Correlations found were low and total ANI score showed only a positive correlation with egg production at week 52. Category 3 scores correlated positively with egg production at week 70 and negatively with the percentage of hens with featherless areas and total pecking injuries. Category 5 scores showed positive correlations with egg production at week 52 as well as week 70 and negative correlations with mortality at week 52, the percentage of hens with featherless areas, pecking injuries < 0.5 cm and total pecking injuries.Flocks showing marked avoidance had a lower total ANI score and lower category 3 and category 5 scores.In conclusion, welfare-related animal-based parameters are poorly reflected by the ANI-35-L/2001. To assess animal welfare more adequately, animal-based parameters have to be considered additionally in a welfare assessment scheme.
The M-44 ejector ('ejector') has proven to be a highly target-specific means of delivering toxicants to the exotic European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in south-eastern Australia. Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) is a potent methaemoglobin (MetHb) forming compound in canids. A formulation of PAPP, dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) and condensed milk was investigated as a new toxicant formulation for delivery by the ejector. Dosage of eight foxes in the laboratory with a sequential dose demonstrated that the formulation caused a dose-dependent and rapid elevation of MetHb. A strong inverse correlation between MetHb and oxyhaemoglobin concentrations was detected in each case. The symptoms of the toxicosis in the laboratory included progressive cyanosis, lethargy and then collapse when MetHb levels reached 56-76%. A polynomial model was a good fit for describing the relationship between sub-lethal doses of PAPP and the resulting peak MetHb levels. In a pen trial, an ejector was fitted with a bait and loaded with a standard dose of 226 mg PAPP in the same formulation and set at one end of a pen. After voluntarily triggering the ejector, all five foxes in this trial became progressively more lethargic and either lay prostrate or collapsed after 14-25 min, and death was confirmed after a mean of 43 min. We compared some clinical features of PAPP toxicosis with 15 cases of lethal sodium fluoroacetate (1080) poisoning using 0.5 mg kg−1 1080. PAPP produced a mean time to death that was 7.7 times faster than 1080, with the onset of first symptoms being 15 times faster. It was associated with much less activity prior to death and convulsions, spasms and paddling commonly associated with 1080 poisoning after collapse were not detected during PAPP toxicosis. We conclude that the PAPP formulation appears to be a rapidly acting and apparently humane lethal agent for fox control when used in conjunction with the ejector.
We investigated the temporal associations between the severity of foot lesions caused by footrot (FR) and the severity of lameness in sheep. Sixty sheep from one farm were monitored for five weeks. The locomotion of each sheep was scored once each week using a validated numerical rating scale of 0-6. All feet were then examined, FR was the only foot lesion observed; the severity of FR lesions was recorded on a scale from 0 to 4. Sheep had a locomotion score > 0 on 144/298 observations. FR lesions were present on at least one foot on 83% of observations of lame sheep but also present on 27% of observations where sheep were not lame; 95% of these sheep with a lesion but not lame had FR score 1. The results from a linear mixed model with locomotion score as the outcome were that the mean (95% CI) locomotion score of 0.28 (0.02, 0.53) in sheep with no lesions increased by 0.35 (0.05, 0.65) in sheep with FR score 1 or 2 and by 1.55 (1.13, 1.96) in sheep with FR score > 2 at the time of the observation; indicating that as the severity of the lesion increased, the severity of lameness increased. One week before an FR score > 2 was clinically apparent, sheep had a locomotion score 0.81 (0.37, 1.24) higher than sheep that did not have an FR score > 2 in the subsequent week. One week after treatment with intramuscular antibacterials the locomotion score of lame sheep reduced by 1.00 (0.50, 1.49). Our results indicate a positive association between severity of FR lesions and locomotion score and indicate that some non-lame and mildly lame sheep have footrot lesions. Treatment of even those mildly lame will facilitate healing and probably reduce the spread of infection to other sheep in the same group.
A total of 107 ear samples from all the pigs that died during transport or lairage at two commercial abattoirs were collected during two months (February and July), in order to determine their halothane genotype (NN, Nn or nn). The frequencies of the three halothane genotypes among dead pigs were significantly different (P < 0.001), being 4.7%, 24.3% and 71.0%for NN, Nn and nn individuals, respectively. The frequencies of pre-slaughter deaths within each genotype were estimated to be 0.02%, 0.09% and 2.29% for NN, Nn and nn genotypes, respectively. According to these results, the removal of both nn and Nn genotypes would give rise to an eleven-fold reduction in the pre-slaughter mortality rate (from 0.22% to 0.02%). It is therefore suggested that, from an animal welfare point of view, the elimination of the halothane gene in existing breeding schemes would have a major beneficial impact.
Biotelemetry is a useful tool for the simultaneous measurement of several physiological and behavioural parameters in non-restrained, freely moving animals. However, the weight and volume of the implanted intra-abdominal transmitter may cause discomfort. The aim of this study was to assess body weight and behaviour of BALBIc and 129/Sv mice after implantation of an intra-abdominal transmitter. In order to measure more detailed behaviour, the automated behaviour observation analysis system (LABORAS™) was used. During the first days after surgery, body weight and the behaviours of climbing, locomotion and eating were found to decrease in both strains, whereas grooming and immobility increased. These changes were more pronounced in the transmitter animals than in the sham operated animals, however, indicating a temporary impairment in well-being. Within two weeks after surgery, the animals seemed to have fully recovered.
Chimpanzees (pan troglodytes) that are kept in captivity come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and a proportion of them have been subjected to maternal separation and social deprivation during development. The long-term effects of such practices have received little investigation. This study investigates whether the removal of infants from their mothers and/or other chimpanzees affects their activity levels and abnormal behaviours later in life. A total of 69 resocialised chimpanzees were studied at six zoos in the United Kingdom. Chimpanzees were categorised into one of three rearing conditions: reared by their mother in a group of conspecifics (MGR); reared with other conspecifics but separated from their mothers (RO); and reared apart from their mother or other conspecifics for a period of time during infancy (RA). Results indicate that 'socially deprived' individuals show reduced levels of normal activity, elevated levels of abnormal behaviours and a wider repertoire of abnormal behaviours. These differences were more pronounced in younger individuals, with adults from the three different rearing conditions performing abnormal behaviour patterns at comparable levels. It is concluded that human-rearing, either alone or with conspecifics, influences behaviour through suppression of normal activity levels as a result of separation and elevation of levels of abnormal behaviours as a mechanism for coping with maternal loss and restricted rearing. However, these effects are not irreversible and recovery of 'normal' behaviours may occur with access to an enriched social environment.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of roughage and shelter on certain welfare indicators in growing pigs that have access to ample straw and space. The effects of the two treatments were evaluated both by recording the pigs' use of the various areas of the pen and by measuring the frequency of two specific behaviours, 'aggression' and 'play', that are considered to be significant indicators of welfare in pigs. Seven replicates were used, each involving 96 pigs. The pigs were randomly allocated to eight experimental pens at 10 weeks of age, and were observed from 13 to 22 weeks of age. The two treatments, roughage and shelter. were distributed according to a 2 x 2 design in the pigs' outdoor runs, four of which were located on each side of the barn (north side versus south side). The pigs spent most of their time in the straw-provided areas, and the frequency of their aggressive behaviour was also the highest in these areas, suggesting that these locations were the most attractive to the pigs. The pigs with access to roughage showed a lower frequency of aggression (P < 0.05) and spent more time in the outdoor area where the roughage was placed than those pigs with no access to roughage (P < 0.05). No other effects of treatment were found on the length of time spent in the different pen locations. Play frequency decreased with age (P < 0.05) and with increasing temperature (P < 0.01). Moreover, when housed on the south side of the building, the pigs with access to shelter played more than those without (2.0 versus 1.0 events per hour [SE = 0.3]; P < 0.05); this suggests that the opportunity to regulate the body temperature by use of shade results in improved welfare. In conclusion, the pigs' behaviour indicated that their welfare was improved by free access to roughage and shelter.
This study investigated the influence of being reared with or without access to peat as well as the effects of losing or gaining substrate access on the dustbathing behaviour of young, domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus). There were four treatments, based on the period of time chicks had access to peat during rearing: (i) always (LL), (ii) never (NN), (iii) from 0 to 6 weeks of age (LN) and (iv) from 6 weeks of age onwards (NL). Observations on the number and length of dustbaths performed were made for six days with birds aged six weeks and 50% of the birds either lost or gained access to litter. The birds then remained in the same treatment conditions until 16 weeks of age, at which point the same behavioural observations were repeated. NL birds (which had just gained access to peat) were found to be quicker than LN birds (which had just lost access to peat) to perform a dustbath during the first observation period. A significant difference was seen in the variation of the duration of the dustbathing bouts; both LL and NL birds varied less in the lengths of their bouts than NN and LN birds over both observation periods. Hence, early rearing environment had less effect on birds' dustbathing behaviour than current access or lack of access to litter. The irregular dustbathing pattern exhibited by birds that dustbathe without litter could be a sign of frustration; an indication that dustbathing without litter — unlike dustbathing in litter — does not provide the required feedback.
Six veterinary practices participated in a study of cats involved in road accidents. Of 127 cats, 93 survived, of which 58 had moderate to very severe injuries. The mean period of hospitalisation was five days and the mean length of veterinary treatment was 23 days. The cost of treatment was less than £400 for 84% of cats. Owners of 51 surviving cats completed questionnaires within three to five months of the accident. The mean time it took for their cats to recover was 47 days (n = 41; range 1-150 days). Eight cats had not recovered within five months, four of which had had a limb amputated. The severity of the cats' injuries correlated positively with the cost of treatment, length of hospitalisation and treatment, and time to recovery (rs ≥ 0.69, P < 0.001). Behavioural changes were noted in 34 cats; 23 were described as being more nervous, going outdoors less, or being more fearful of cars, roads or going outdoors. Half of the owners treated their cat differently: 17 restricted the time their cat spent outdoors and 11 worried more about their cat. The effects of the accident on the owner's emotions and finances were measured using a scale from 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). Most owners registered a score of 5, 6 or 7 for effect on emotions and 1, 2 or 4 for effect on finances; the scores were not correlated. Road accidents are an important cause of poor welfare in cats and their owners.
A number of alternative farrowing systems have recently been developed, some of which have been more successful at improving welfare and productivity than others. It is argued that for a system to be successful it should meet with the behavioural requirements of the sow at this time. A number of studies have been carried out to observe the natural behaviour patterns of the peri-parturient sow in a wide range of environmental conditions. These studies have shown that during each phase of peri-parturient behaviour there are a number of key environmental features and conditions which are important to the sow. These include the social environment, shelter, nesting material and offspring interaction. This information can be useful in the design of farrowing systems. A review of the literature indicated that the more these conditions are met, the more readily the sow can adapt to the system, leading to improvements in maternal behaviour and piglet production.
Finding a responsible method of population control that does not compromise animal welfare is a pressing problem for zoological institutions and conservation breeding programmes. This is exemplified by the conservation breeding programme of the golden-headed lion tamarin, Leontopithecus chrysomelas. The number of golden-headed lion tamarins in captivity is currently being limited by, among other means, the use of contraception. We have conducted a study on the effects of contraceptive methods used in golden-headed lion tamarins. Data were collected through the distribution of a survey. The use of Melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants in females was by far the most widespread contraceptive method. It was very effective in preventing reproduction, provided that females were not pregnant at the time of implantation. Pregnancies that had commenced before MGA implantation were carried to term and resulted in viable infants, as far as noted. However, the degree of reversibility was very low and, if females did conceive after MGA implantation, infant survival was lower than expected. The widespread use of MGA implants in golden-headed lion tamarins (and probably other species) should be seriously reconsidered. Alternative methods of population control should be investigated. Possible options include the use of other contraceptive methods, limiting the number of offspring through natural factors and the use of euthanasia under very strict conditions. Animal welfare implications associated with the use of euthanasia are discussed.
The reversibility and flexibility of contraceptive methods generally allow for improved genetic and demographic management of captive populations. Earlier studies have produced conflicting results regarding the restoration of reproduction after using melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants in golden-headed (Leontopithecus chrysomelas, GHLT) and golden lion tamarins (L. rosalia, GLT): two closely related species that are physiologically and genetically very similar. The present study investigates the nature of this inter-species difference, presents new data on GHLTs and compares this with published data on GLTs. Analyses showed that around 34% of the GHLTs resumed breeding after their MGA implants were removed or had expired. Non-implanted GHLTs (control group) were significantly more likely to reproduce than females previously treated with an MGA implant regardless of whether the implant was removed or left to expire. Younger and porous female GHLTs in the control group were more likely to start reproducing. In implanted females, only parity had an impact with porous females being more likely to resume breeding than non-porous females. In contrast, data published on GLTs indicate that 75% of GLT females resume breeding, and that removing the implant increases the probability of reproduction occurring. Available data suggest that the observed inter-specific differences are related to differences in the weights of the implants used for the two species. For GHLTs, adjusting MGA doses and/or the sizes of the implants currently administered may be required in order to preserve the reproductive potential of individuals. Apart from potentially negative medical and welfare consequences for individual GHLTs, the reduced reversibility of MGA implants also impacts on management practices used to achieve the objectives of conservation breeding programmes. Finally, this study stresses the importance of evaluating the suitability of contraceptive methods at a species-specific level.
Members of the cat family are highly motivated to hunt, but in captivity are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. This inability to hunt may reduce their welfare. In this study we used a moving bait to stimulate and release hunting motivation in two captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Essentially our enrichment device consisted of a dead rabbit, hung from a pulley, just above the ground, moving down a 34 metre length of wire by the force of gravity. We observed the cheetahs for 140 minutes per day over three sequential food presentation periods: Baseline (10 consecutive days), Device (10 consecutive days) and Post-device (5 consecutive days). The moving bait significantly increased the frequency of sprinting (hunting) and time spent performing observations. It significantly decreased time spent in affiliation and feeding. These effects were also observed at times other than when the moving bait was presented. Thus, a moving bait allows captive cheetahs to perform 'natural-looking' hunting in captivity.
As part of a translocation project, 28 Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) were captured from the wild and transported to the Barcelona Zoo for veterinary evaluation, quarantine and intraperitoneal implantation of telemetry devices. Eleven animals were injected with the long-acting neuroleptic (LAN) perphenazine enanthate at the time of capture and the remaining animals served as a control group. During their time in captivity, which averaged 23 days, all of the animals were bled three times. Haematological and biochemical parameters were evaluated, including red blood cell count (RBC), haemoglobin (Hb), white blood cell count (WBC), blood urea, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (AP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatine kinase (CK), albumin, and serum cortisol. No significant differences were found between treated and control otters except for monocyte count, which was higher in treated animals. Time after capture had an effect on many parameters. RBC and Hb decreased at first and then increased, while WBC and segmented neutrophils decreased over time. Most of the biochemical parameters considered to vary in relation to stress, including AST, ALT, CK, AP and LDH, decreased over time, suggesting that the stress responses of the animals decreased throughout the period of captivity. However, no significant change in serum cortisol levels was noted. The lack of effect of perphenazine treatment on haematological parameters should encourage further research on other stress indicators applicable to wild animals, such as behaviour or faecal cortisol concentration. Finally, the results obtained in this study suggest that, when captive conditions are adequate, keeping wild-caught animals in human care for a period of time prior to their release into the wild can be beneficial. However, further studies taking into account other welfare indicators would be useful.
Wild badgers (Meles meles) in Wytham woods, Oxfordshire, are routinely trapped, transported to a central field laboratory, studied and released as part of an on-going population study. These procedures have been carefully developed to minimise impact on the badgers' welfare; however they are potentially stressful, and, as part of our on-going welfare refinements, and our exploration to develop methods for quantifying stress in wild mammals, we studied the effects of transport stress on neutrophil activation in wild trapped badgers. Blood samples were obtained from 28 badgers. We compared three transport regimes: transported (n = 9), transported and rested for at least 30 mins (n = 11), and not transported (n = 8). Total and differential white cell counts were carried out and neutrophil activation was measured by the nitroblue tetrazolium test. Our goal was primarily to validate neutrophil activity as an indicator of stress, on the basis that the transport treatment was expected to be more stressful than the non-transport treatment. There were significant increases in % activated circulating neutrophils in response to transport. This study supports the proposition that stress affects circulating neutrophil numbers and the state of their activation, as determined by the nitroblue tetrazolium reduction assay, and therefore adds weight to the idea that neutrophil activation is a potential measure of stress in wild animals.
Maternal behaviour in free-ranging sows is normally performed in an isolated nest that the sow has built during the pre-parturient period. Consequently there is much concern over the use of restrictive farrowing crates, in which manipulable substrates are often not provided, for parturient sows under commercial conditions. This study examined the impact of the provision of space and substrate on the performance of maternal behaviour by gilts (primiparous sows) on physiological indicators of stress and on the progress of parturition. Gilts had an indwelling jugular catheter implanted 12 days before their expected farrowing date. At 5 days before expected farrowing, 34 gilts were plac ed in one of four farrowing treatments: crate without straw (C, n = 8), crate with straw (CS, n = 9), pen without straw (P, n = 9) or pen with straw (PS, n = 8). Behavioural observations of gilts and piglets were made during an 8 h period after the expulsion of the first piglet. Blood samples were taken via a catheter extension to minimise disturbance throughout the parturition period. Gilts in all treatments were most active in the first 2 h: performing more standing/walking, substrate-directed and piglet-directed behaviour. This active phase was followed by inactivity and passivity, as has been seen in free-ranging sows. However, this temporal profile of behaviour was more pronounced in the penned gilts (P and PS), which were more active during the first 2 h than the crated gilts (C and CS). Gilts in crates spent longer sitting throughout the 8 h period and tended to show more savaging of their piglets. Savaging gilts were found to be more active and responsive to piglets. The provision of straw did not alter gilt behaviour but did alter piglet behaviour, with piglets that were born into environments with no straw (C and P) spending more time next to the gilt's udder. The provision of straw increased the length of parturition (CS and PS), but this did not have detrimental effects on piglet survival. Plasma cortisol was unaffected by space or substrate, however, plasma ACTH was found to be highest in C gilts during the second hour of parturition. Plasma oxytocin was unaffected by space or substrate, however, there was a positive relationship between plasma oxytocin and unresponsiveness to piglets. In conclusion, it appears that farrowing crates thwart interactions between the gilt and her piglets, and that the provision of space during parturition, irrespective of straw availability, facilitates the performance of maternal behaviour that more closely resembles that performed by free-ranging sows.
Commercial pigs kept outdoors are often given nose-rings, to inhibit rooting and minimize pasture damage. If rooting is a 'behavioural need' in the pig, and ringing is effective because it renders rooting painful, nose-ringing may be a threat to welfare. Thirty gestating sows were assigned to one of three conditions: unringed controls (UR); sows ringed with three, wire 'clip' rings through the snout rim (CR); or sows with one, rigid 'bull' ring (BR). They were observed on grass for 7h day-1 at intervals over 6 months. Ringing almost totally abolished penetration of the ground by rooting during the month after ringing (UR, CR and BR sows respectively spent 5.6%, 0.1% and 0.1 % of scan observations dig-rooting during this month; P < 0.001). These differences in recorded rooting were reflected in a much greater extent of pasture damage in paddocks containing UR sows. Rooting remained largely suppressed throughout the 6 months of observations in BR sows; but substantial recovery of this function occurred in CR sows by the sixth month, although much of this may be attributed to the fact that most sows lost at least some of their rings. Ringing also partially inhibited grazing (which accounted for 26.2%, 27.1% and 21.9 % of scans over the whole project in UR, CR and BR sows respectively; P < 0.05), nosing in straw, digging out wallows and stone-chewing (l8.3%, 9.5% and 9.2 % respectively of all scans in UR, CR and BR sows; P < 0.001). Ringed sows spent more time standing but otherwise inactive than did controls (0.8%, 1.7% and 4.0 % of all scans in UR, CR and BR sows respectively; P < 0.001), and displayed more straw-chewing, vacuum-chewing and digging at soil with the forepaw. We conclude that nose-ringing in pigs inhibited a range of functional activities, as well as rooting, and elicited more behaviours that suggest a degree of reduced welfare. BR sows displayed more of these effects than did CR ones, although these differences may be largely, but not entirely, due to a loss of clip rings over time.
Although the hunters known as 'terrier men' are known to playa significant role in the illicit and cruel persecution of the badger in Britain, very little information is available upon their activities. In this study, detailed records of the hunting practices of a single terrier man, covering a period of seven years, are analysed. This provides the first insight into the activities of illegal badger-digging groups, and also emphasizes the extreme stress that may be caused to quarry species during the practice of this illegal sport.
In rodents, cage cleaning increases cardiovascular and behavioural activity for several hours, which are commonly interpreted as stress responses. In mice, post-cleaning activity also includes aggression, which can cause serious injuries. This study was part of a long-term investigation into the effects of cage cleaning frequency on rat behaviour and welfare. Here we aimed to ascertain whether post-cleaning activity is stress- or aggression-related, thereby leading to recurrent acute reductions in welfare, or simply a result of non-aversive stimulation. Male Wistar (n = 160) and Sprague-Dawley (n = 160) rats, kept in four animal units, had their cages cleaned twice per week, once per week or once per fortnight, and were kept on one of two types of bedding. Behaviours were recorded in detail before and after cage cleaning for 20 weeks, as was the aversion-related Harderian gland secretion, chromodacryorrhoea ('red tears'). Cage cleaning caused decreased resting and increased feeding, walking, bedding manipulation and sheltering for at least 30 min after the disturbance. Skirmishing also increased markedly for 15 min after cleaning, but decreased thereafter to below baseline levels. Unlike in mice, all skirmishing was non-injurious and play-like. The frequency of cage cleaning did not affect the magnitude of this skirmishing peak, but rats that had their cages cleaned more frequently settled more quickly after cleaning. Surprisingly, chromodacryorrhoea decreased after cage cleaning; this could mean that rats find soiled cages stressful or alternatively, like many disturbances, cage cleaning might provoke frequent, curtailed bouts of grooming, thereby removing the secretion. Rats also manipulated aspen bedding more than paper bedding. Overall, we found no evidence that cage cleaning caused rats any acute decrease in welfare — a finding consistent with additional data we have obtained on the lack of preference by rats for soiled over clean cages, and a lack of long-term, behavioural and physiological responses to being cleaned frequently or infrequently.
Charolais × and Suffolk × Mule lambs of less than one week of age were castrated and tail docked using a standard rubber ring technique. After these procedures, their behaviour was monitored for 1 h. Their respiration rates and scrotal sac measurements were also recorded. Both breeds of lamb exhibited abnormal behaviour patterns following these procedures. The recumbent behaviour pattern of both breeds was remarkably similar but their standing behaviour differed markedly. The Charolais × lambs were significantly more active and had significantly higher respiration rates compared with the Suffolk × lambs. They also took a greater amount of time to recover to a normal posture. Their abnormal behavioural responses suggested that both breeds of lamb experienced acute pain following castration and tail docking, but the type of behaviour exhibited was breed-dependent. The findings suggest that different breeds of lamb may experience different levels of distress in response to the same husbandry procedure. Alternatively, they may simply reflect a difference in the character and temperament of the breeds studied.
The aim of this trial was to describe the behavioural, neuroendocrine, immune and acute phase stress responses in dogs undergoing elective surgery in normal, clinical practice conditions. Sixteen dogs were submitted to elective orchiectomy or ovariohysterectomy using a standardised surgical protocol. Each animal was confined to the Intensive Care Unit during pre- and post-surgery and perioperative behavioural, neuroendocrine, immune and acute phase responses were studied. Behavioural categories, cortisol, prolactin, white blood cell, C-reactive protein and haptoglobin variation were evaluated. Values at different times were compared with basal values shown by the dog in its usual environment. Communicative and explorative behaviours showed high occurrence pre-surgery and were inhibited post-surgery. Decreases in post-surgery activity, interactive behaviours and changes in waking/sleeping patterns were observed. The most sensitive marker of psychological stress, cortisol, in comparison with basal values, showed a significant increase both during pre- and post-surgery confinement in the ICU cage. Prolactin values were characterised by a significant decrease early into the post-surgery period. The immune response was characterised by long-term neutrophilia and monocytosis, but by short-term lymphopaenia and eosinopaenia, limited to the early post-operative period. With regard to the acute phase response, both C-reactive protein and haptoglobin showed a long-term increase, post-surgery. Changes in behavioural, haematological and biochemical markers showed that perioperative stress represents a major challenge to dog welfare.
Two experiments were carried out to determine the effect of different teeth resection methods on skin temperature, concentrations of the acute phase proteins C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA), and cortisol in piglets. In Experiment 1, piglets from 60 litters were assigned to three treatments where the 'needle' teeth were clipped (CLIP), ground (GRIND) or left intact (INT) within 12 h of birth; skin temperature was measured immediately afterwards. Fourteen pigs were selected in each treatment for blood sampling at 1 day and 29 days-of-age for the determination of concentrations of CRP, SAA and cortisol. In Experiment 2, a 2 × 2 factorial design was used to determine the effect of teeth clipping and time spent out of the farrowing crate post-clipping on skin temperature. Piglets from 60 litters had their teeth clipped (CLIP) or left intact (INT) and were returned to the farrowing crate immediately or after 1 min. Skin temperature was measured after piglets were returned to the farrowing crate and after 10 min. In Experiment 1, CLIP and GRIND piglets had significantly lower skin temperatures than INT piglets; skin temperature was also significantly reduced in CLIP piglets in Experiment 2. Skin temperature did not differ between time-out groups. Plasma levels of CRP and SAA did not differ between treatments on day 1; however, concentrations of both proteins were significantly higher on day 29. CLIP pigs had significantly higher concentrations of CRP in comparison with GRIND pigs on day 29. Stress caused by teeth resection provoked a transient reduction in skin temperature. Furthermore, both resection methods caused infection and/or inflammation, but to a similar degree as that caused by leaving the teeth intact. These results indicate that the welfare of piglets is better in the short term if their teeth are left intact; however, if teeth resection is necessary grinding can be recommended in preference to clipping.
For cats, appropriate housing conditions and a quick adjustment to new surroundings should be promoted during temporary stays in animal shelters and boarding catteries. In this study the development of stress in 140 boarding cats during a two-week stay under single-, pair- and group-housing conditions in a boarding cattery was investigated and compared with the stress levels of 45 control cats which had been at the animal shelter for several weeks. Signs of stress were recorded by a non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score.Overall, the levels of stress in boarding cats declined during the two weeks of boarding, with a pronounced decline in the first days, but did not reach the stress levels of the control group by the end of the second week of housing. In the second week, the average stress level of about one third of all boarding cats was rated higher than 'weakly tense' with 4 per cent of cats rated even higher than 'very tense'. Neither housing style (single, paired or grouped) nor age had an influence on stress levels.It was concluded that about two thirds of the boarding cats adjusted well to the boarding cattery during a two-week stay, while for the other third, temporary boarding was more stressful. For 4 per cent of the animals the two-week stay in a boarding cattery was classified as inappropriate because no reduction of their high stress levels occurred.
One commonly used method of managing confiscated wild primates in Latin American countries is to release rehabilitated individuals back to their natural habitats. However, little information has been collected from confiscated animal releases, so no clear guidelines have been developed to measure the success of this type of procedure. In most countries, the collection of critical post-release data is too costly and time-consuming for it to be incorporated into the routine procedures of institutions managing confiscated fauna. Therefore, this project was carried out in conditions similar to those of other Colombian and Latin American rehabilitation centres. A group of eight confiscated and rehabilitated brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) was released in Los Llanos Orientales in Colombia, and monitored for 6.5 months to determine their adaptation and survival after release. Results were analysed according to how the animals adapted to their new environment in terms of foraging, feeding, locomotion, sleeping, social interactions between the group and with other animals and species, predation, orientation, and establishment of a territory. The results show that the short-term adaptation and survival of the group 6.5 months after release was successful. Five of the eight animals remained together, two separated, and only one was lost during the first month. Implications for animal well-being are discussed.
Brushtail possums, Trichosurus vulpecula, are New Zealand's most serious vertebrate pest, facilitating the spread of bovine tuberculosis to livestock, and causing severe damage to native flora and fauna. Possum control has become a national research priority, involving the use of large numbers of captive possums. Successful adaptation of these animals to captivity is important for the welfare of the possums and for the validity of experimental results. The objective of this study was to determine, by behavioural means, the time individually caged possums required for adaptation to captivity. We used a simple behavioural measure - a possum's daily response to a caregiver at feeding (a feeding test) - to assess changes in the behaviour of possums after arrival in captivity. We also recorded changes in possum body weight throughout this period. Initially most possums 'avoided' the caregiver, but within 7 days more than 80 per cent of animals no longer avoided. 'In den' and 'approach' behaviour rapidly increased for the first 14 days in captivity, after which den use became less common as more possums 'approached' the caregiver. By day 29 of captivity, more than 80 per cent of the possums 'approached' the caregiver. The possums' body weight did not change significantly during the first 14 days in captivity, but had increased significantly by day 28, and continued to increase for at least 6 weeks after capture. These data suggest that most possums adapt to captivity within 4 weeks. For the welfare of possums and the reliability of experimental results, we recommend that possums are not used in experiments until at least 4 weeks after capture.
Animal welfare is multidimensional; its assessment relies on complementary measures covering all dimensions. Welfare Quality® constructed a multicriteria evaluation model for its assessment at unit level (farms, slaughterhouses). Four welfare principles are distinguished ('Good feeding', 'Good housing', 'Good health', and 'Appropriate behaviour'). An animal unit receives four principle scores (expressed on a 0-100 value scale). These scores are aggregated together to form the overall assessment by sorting animal units into predefined welfare categories boundaried by reference profiles. A unit is assigned to the welfare category above the profile it is considered at least as good as. Several assignment procedures were tested on a set of 69 dairy farms and compared with observers' general impressions. The welfare categories, reference profiles and assignment procedure were defined in consultation with social scientists, animal scientists and stakeholders. Four welfare categories were defined: 'Excellent', 'Enhanced', 'Acceptable', and 'Not classified'. The reference profiles were set at 80, 55 and 20, corresponding to aspiration values for Excellent, Enhanced and Acceptable. The assignment procedure resulted from a compromise between theoretical opinion on what should be considered excellent, enhanced or acceptable, and what can realistically be achieved in practice: to be assigned to a given category, a unit must reach its aspiration value on 2 or 3 of the 4 principles, and not score below the aspiration value for the next lowest category on the other principle(s). The model can be used for several purposes, including identifying welfare problems on a farm to advise farmers, or checking compliance with certification schemes.
It has been claimed that the present farming environment does not meet foxes' needs for social behaviour. In this study we measured the welfare of farmed blue foxes, Alopex lagopus, housed in two different social and spatial conditions: i) traditional housing (group T) where a male and a female cub were housed together and their vixen alone in standard (I.2m2)fox cages; and ii) family housing (group F) where a vixen and her five cubs were housed together in a connected six-cage system (7.2m2). Production-related welfare parameters (weight gain and the incidence of bite wounds on fur) as well as physiological ones (adrenal mass and serum cortisol response to ACTH administration) were measured in these two groups.No differences were found in any of the measured parameters between the vixens housed in traditional and family units. In cubs, there was less difference between the sexes in weight gain in group F than in group T, and a significantly lower weight gain was evident only in group T female cubs. The serum cortisol level in response to an ACTH challenge was higher in group T cubs and independent of the sex of the animal, while heavier adrenals were observed in group T male cubs only. We conclude that the enlarged cage system combined with group housing had some beneficial effects on the measured performance- and welfare-related indicators in blue fox cubs.