Environmental enrichment can be a useful tool to reduce belly nosing behaviors in early weaned piglets. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of environmental enrichment on behavior, salivary cortisol, and productivity of piglets weaned at 14 days of age. The study assigned 112 piglets (line Camborough 22 of PIC) into 2 treatments, control and enriched, and observed them for 192 hr in 3 periods: 14 to 28 days of age (Phase 1), 28 to 42 days of age (Phase 2), and 42 to 54 days of age (Phase 3). The study obtained saliva samples in each phase from 56 piglets selected randomly from each group for cortisol determination. Comparisons between both treatments and phases included the following: proportion of time belly nosing, latency of approaching a person, average levels of salivary cortisol, and daily weight gain. Belly nosing was higher and latency of approaching a person lower in the control group than in the enriched one (p < .05 and p < .01). Belly nosing was lower in Phase 3 (p < .05); latency of approaching a person was higher in Phase 1 with respect to Phase 2, and this was higher with respect to Phase 3 (p < .01). There were no differences in salivary cortisol levels between treatments or phases. Weight gain was higher in the enriched group (p < .001). Environmental enrichment in piglets weaned at 14 days of age resulted in a reduced proportion of time nosing, reduced latency of response to humans, and better growth than piglets in barren environments.
Trends in nonhuman animal shelter intake and outcomes for dogs and cats in Metro Denver, CO, between 1989 and 2010 were assessed by linear regression analyses of data from 4 of the largest facilities covering 3 counties. The data were analyzed for trends on 3 scales: actual numbers per year, number per 1,000 residents per year, and as a percentage of total intake. Approximately 21,000 dogs and 16,000 cats were taken into the shelters in 2010, representing a 24% decrease for each since 1989. For dogs on a per-1,000-residents basis, intake decreased by 44%, euthanasia by 77%, and adoption by 13%; the live release rate (LRR) increased by 39%. For cats on the same scale, there was a 53% decrease in intake until 1998 followed by an 11% increase through 2010, and an 82% decrease in euthanasia until 2000 followed by a 24% increase through 2010. Adoption of cats per 1,000 residents remained unchanged, but the overall LRR for cats doubled during the study period. Substantially increasing trends in the transfer of dogs and cats from shelters to rescue organizations reflect efforts to optimize adoptions.
The 2001 UK foot and mouth disease (FMD) crisis is commonly understood to have been a nonhuman animal problem, an economic industrial crisis that was resolved after eradication. By using a different lens, a longitudinal ethnographic study of the health and social consequences of the epidemic, the research reported here indicates that 2001 was a human tragedy as well as an animal one. In a diary-based study, it can be seen that life after the FMD crisis was accompanied by distress, feelings of bereavement, fear of a new disaster, loss of trust in authority and systems of control, and the undermining of the value of local knowledge. Diverse groups experienced distress well beyond the farming community. Such distress remained largely invisible to the range of "official" inquiries into the disaster. That an FMD epidemic of the scale of 2001 could happen again in a developed country is a deeply worrying prospect, but it is to be hoped that contingency plans are evolving along with enhanced understanding of the human, animal, and financial cost.
This literature review documents trends in the use of mice in prolonged pain research, defined herein as research that subjects mice to a source of pain for at least 14 days. The total amount of prolonged pain research on mice has increased dramatically in the past decade for the 3 pain categories examined: neuropathic, inflammatory, and chronic pain. There has also been a significant rise in the number of prolonged mouse pain studies as a proportion of all mouse studies and of all mouse pain studies. The use of transgenic mice has also risen significantly in prolonged pain research, though not as a proportion of all mice used in prolonged pain research. There has not been significant overall change in the number of mice being used per study for any of the 3 pain categories or for any of 3 common pain inducement models: chronic constriction injury, partial sciatic nerve ligation, and complete Freund's adjuvant. Finally, although most authors referred to approval of experiments by an institutional nonhuman animal use committee, there were no references to the "3Rs" in a random selection of 55 papers examined. Given the proportionally high volume of mice used in invasive research and the gravity of studies that inflict lasting pain, these trends raise serious questions about whether the 3Rs principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement are being appropriately implemented by researchers and institutions.
In Disney/Pixar's phenomenally popular animated film Finding Nemo (Stanton, 2003), one of the central themes of fish welfare was highlighted when the moorish idol, Gill, commented, "Fish aren't meant to be kept in a box, kid. It does things to you." The notion that fish might have the capacity to suffer in captivity (Chandroo, Duncan, & Moccia, 2004a, 2004b) links to the larger question of sentiency, which remains a fundamental tenet when justifying concerns for nonhuman animal welfare (Dawkins, 2006; Huntingford et al., 2006). Although terrestrial nonhuman-animal welfare has been discussed and explored for many years, the development of aquatic animal welfare concepts and approaches remains relatively new and beyond public awareness (Braastad, Damsgård, & Juell, 2006; Broom, 2007; Farmed Animal Welfare Council, 1996; Fisheries Society of the British Isles, 2002; Håstein, Scarfe, & Lund, 2005; Iwama, 2007; Schreck, 1981).
Records on sheltered dogs were collected from 3 municipal dog shelters situated in different regions of the Czech Republic from 2010 to 2013. A total of 3,875 dogs were analyzed in this study. Among these, 1,614 dogs were subsequently reclaimed (lost dogs) and 2,261 dogs were abandoned and offered for adoption. The ratio of purebred dogs and crossbred dogs differed significantly when comparing lost (66.4% vs. 33.6%) and abandoned dogs (35.0% vs. 65.0%). The median time until lost dogs were reclaimed was 1 day, and it was not affected by purebred status. The median time until abandoned dogs were adopted was 23 days. In abandoned dogs, purebred status had a significant effect on the time the dog spent at the shelter before adoption. The median time until adoption for crossbred dogs was 27 days, whereas the median time until adoption for purebred dogs was 19 days. The breed group influenced the length of stay (LOS) in abandoned dogs. Small companion dogs had the shortest LOS (median = 15 days) and guard dogs had the longest LOS (median = 25 days).
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) allows rope casting and the tying of legs for nonhuman animal slaughter without stunning. The handling and welfare of bovine livestock (Bos indicus and Bubalus bubalis) were studied in 8 local abattoirs in 5 districts of Bangladesh. A total of 302 animals were evaluated. At the local abattoirs, approximately 1/3 of the cattle and water buffalo were either emaciated or injured/sick. The size and vigor of the animals determined the casting method. Small and weak animals were cast on concrete floors by lifting a foreleg followed by pushing, or simply by twisting the head of the animal and then binding the legs with rope. Vigorous animals such as buffalo were cast using ropes and human force. Bleeding was slow and flaying was sometimes initiated before the animals were unconscious. Pulling and tearing of the trachea and pouring of water into the exposed trachea shortly after cutting were also observed in some cases. The overall animal handling was unnecessarily rough and the OIE standards were not implemented. Animals are subjected to considerable mistreatment, and there is an urgent need for the training and education of the staff in abattoirs concerning humane slaughtering practices as well as a need to build modern slaughtering plants in Bangladesh.
This study evaluated the application of positive reinforcement training (PRT) as an intervention for abnormal behaviors in singly housed laboratory rhesus macaques at 2 large primate facilities. Training involved basic control behaviors and body-part presentation. The study compared baseline behavioral data on 30 adult males and 33 adult females compared with 3 treatment phases presented in counterbalanced order: 6 min per week of PRT, 20 or 40 min per week of PRT, and 6 min per week of unstructured human interaction (HI). Within-subject parametric tests detected no main or interaction effects involving experimental phase. However, among a subset of subjects with levels of abnormal in the top quartile of the range (n = 15), abnormal behavior was reduced from 35% to 25% of samples with PRT but not with HI. These results suggest that short durations of PRT applied as enrichment for this species and in this context may not in itself be sufficient intervention for abnormal behavior because levels remained high. However, it may be appropriate as an adjunct to other interventions and may be best targeted to the most severely affected individuals.
As part of a behavioral intervention program that identifies and treats individual nonhuman primates exhibiting abnormal behavior, five individually housed pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina) were provided with multiple cage toys in an effort to reduce high levels of abnormal behavior. Ten 30-min observations of each subject were conducted during the baseline condition and again after novel toys were presented, both loose inside the cage and attached to the outside of the cage. The new toys were used during 27% of the observation time. Kong Toys were used most consistently by the macaques during the 5-week observation period. Significant decreases in abnormal behavior and cage-directed behavior, as well as significantly increased enrichment use, were evident after the toys were added. Several of the toys were destroyed quickly, and individual differences were evident in the levels of enrichment use and abnormal behavior. Providing multiple manipulable toys as enrichment for pigtail macaques was effective in reducing abnormal behavior and was an important part of an environmental enrichment program for monkeys who could not be housed socially.
There are a limited number of studies dealing with abnormal behavior in caged birds kept as pets. However, these studies demonstrate the presence of abnormal behavior in both songbirds and parrots. Ethological studies on these birds, as well as studies on domestic and zoo birds, indicate that inappropriate rearing and housing conditions may lead to behavioral abnormalities. Together these data indicate that behavioral abnormalities occur among both wild-caught and domesticated pet birds. The severity and magnitude of these abnormalities is probably underestimated, and there is a need for systematic studies on the nature, origin, variability, species-specificity, and reversibility of behavioral problems in pet birds. Abnormal behavior in caged birds may to some extent be prevented and reduced by environmental enrichment. However, most enrichment studies are anecdotal and not based on a thorough analysis of the behavioral abnormalities, which may lead to measures resulting in a reduction of symptoms rather than the underlying causes. Although it is likely that several of these problems could be reduced by modifying rearing and housing conditions, the current insights into the causal mechanisms underlying abnormal behavior of domesticated and wild-caught pet birds are limited, as are the insights into the possibilities of preventing or curing abnormal behavior.
Stereotypic behaviors, indicating poor welfare and studied in a variety of species (especially carnivores), appear related to characteristics of current and past environments. Although North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) often develop abnormal, repetitive, possibly stereotypic behaviors, no published reports describe otter housing and management or characterize how these variables relate to abnormal repetitive behavior (ARB) occurrence. The first author developed surveys to gather data on housing, individual history, management, and the prevalence of ARBs in otters housed in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Consistent with anecdotal evidence that otters are prone to ARBs, 46% of river otters in the study exhibit them. ARBs were mostly locomotor and often preceded feeding. Exhibits where otters were fed and trained housed a greater percentage of nonhuman animals with ARBs. This study supports the Tarou, Bloomsmith, and Maple (2005) report that more hands-on management is associated with higher levels of ARBs because management efforts are only for animals with ARBs. Escape motivation, breeding season, feeding cues, and ability to forage may affect ARBs in river otters and should be investigated.
Despite a large body of safety data, concern exists that porcine zonae pellucidae (PZP) immunocontraception--used to manage wild horse populations--may cause out-of-season births with resulting foal mortality. Our study at Assateague, Maryland indicated the effects of immunocontraception on season of birth and foal survival between 1990 and 2002 on wild horses from Assateague Island. Among 91 mares never treated, 69 (75.8%) of foals were born in April, May, and June (in season). Among 77 treated mares, 50 (64.9%) were born in season. Of 29 mares foaling within 1 year after treatment (contraceptive failures), 20 (68.9%) were born in season. Of 48 mares treated for greater than 2 years then withdrawn from treatment, 30 (62.5%) of 48 foals were born in season. There were no significant differences (p <.05) between either treatment group or untreated mares. Survival did not differ significantly among foals born in or out of season or among foals born to treated or untreated mares. Data indicate a lack of effect of PZP contraception on season of birth or foal survival on barrier island habitats.
Considered signs of decreased welfare--abnormal behaviors such as self-injury and self-abuse among nonhuman primates housed in the laboratory--may put into question the validity and reliability of scientific research using these animals as models. Providing environmental enrichment decreases the incidence of some undesirable behaviors but is often unsuccessful at ameliorating the most severe types of abnormal behaviors. To prevent such behaviors from developing, it is important to identify risk factors that provide insight into the causes of certain abnormal behaviors. This study confirmed previous research identifying nursery rearing, single housing, and time spent in single housing as important risk factors. Results also indicate that the number of cage relocations affects the development of these behaviors. In addition, this study presents new data on comorbidity of several abnormal behaviors and discusses possible reasons for these patterns.
This article reports information abstracted from 200 randomly sampled animal abuse complaints that the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received in 1996, along with the results of 1 10 surveys that Massachusetts veterinarians completed concerning their experience with and attitudes and perceptions of animal mistreatment. In 1996, there were a total of 4,942 complaints of animal mistreatment, or 2.2 complaints per 1,000 households in Massachusetts. The majority of sampled complaints involved dogs (69.5%), cats (21.5%), or both. Almost all complaints involved husbandry-related neglect (62.0%), medical neglect (26.0%), or both. A violation of the law was observed by the investigating officer in 75 (37.5%) cases. The majority (78.9%) of veterinarians reported having observed at least 1 instance of animal abuse in their patients, although few encountered more than 5 cases (16.4%) during their years of practice. Almost all respondents (93.6%) agreed that veterinarians have an ethical responsibility to report suspicions of abuse, but a smaller number (44.5%) believed that this responsibility should be mandated.
Stress can compromise welfare in any confined group of nonhuman animals, including those in shelters. However, an objective and practical method for assessing the stress levels of individual dogs housed in a shelter does not exist. Such a method would be useful for monitoring animal welfare and would allow shelters to measure the effectiveness of specific interventions for stress reduction. In this pilot study, activity levels were studied in 13 dogs using accelerometers attached to their collars. Behavioral stress scores as well as urinary and salivary cortisol levels were measured to determine if the dogs' activity levels while confined in the kennel correlated with behavioral and physiological indicators of stress in this population. The results indicated that the accelerometer could be a useful tool to study stress-related activity levels in dogs. Specific findings included a correlation between the salivary cortisol and maximum activity level (r = .62, p = .025) and a correlation between the urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio and average activity level (r = .61, p = .028) among the study dogs. Further research is needed to better understand the complex relationship between stress and activity level among dogs in a kennel environment.
Feather pecking, commonly found in flocks of laying hens (Gallus gallus), is detrimental to bird welfare. Thought to cause this problem is the normal housing of layers without a floor substrate. Some evidence suggests that early substrate access decreases later feather pecking. However, there has been little research on the immediate effects of a change in substrate availability on bird welfare, although environmental modifications like this are often done when brooding and rearing laying hen chicks. To investigate this, the behavior of two strains of laying hen chicks was recorded for 4 weeks. The study kept the birds on either wire or peat moss for 14 days and then switched half the chicks to the other flooring. Early feather pecking was not significantly different for birds started on peat moss and switched to wire than for birds only on wire (p > .05). Because moving chicks from peat moss to wire did not cause additional welfare problems, the study recommends that chicks be kept on a substrate when young as feather-pecking levels are lower and immediate welfare is improved compared with birds kept only on wire.
Outdoor access is often cited as a critical component of appropriate housing for great apes in captivity, and although studies have shown that offering primates choices can improve welfare, choice to access specific areas has been empirically neglected. Behavioral data were collected on chimpanzees and gorillas housed in naturalistic enclosures while (a) restricted to an indoor enclosure and (b) permitted free access to an adjacent outdoor area. To isolate the factor of choice, only the sessions in which apes remained indoors were compared. With choice, chimpanzees showed more frequent social, F(1, 5) = 20.526, p = .006, and self-directed behaviors, F(1, 5) = 13.507, p = .014, and lower inactivity levels, F(1, 5) = 9.239, p = .029. Gorillas were more frequently inactive, F(1, 8) = 22.259, p = .002, and produced lower levels of object manipulation, F(1, 8) = 8.243, p = .021, and feeding, F(1, 8) = 5.407, p = .049. Results are consistent with an association between choice and the expression of species-typical and arousal behaviors in chimpanzees. The effects are less evident in gorillas, but this outcome may be buffered by the species' lower motivation to utilize the outdoor spaces. Findings highlight species-specific reactions to access to choice that may offer insight for enclosure design, management, and nonhuman animal welfare.
This article reports the first known study on dog breeding in an Afro-Caribbean community. The study obtained the information on 517 matings through interviews with dog caregivers. Few litters (6.8%) from mongrels (potcakes) resulted from planned matings, whereas 66.5% of matings between purebred dogs were planned. Confinement of the female is often inadequate, and roaming dogs may have been responsible for 24.8% of the litters. The lack of confinement of potcakes has resulted in the perception that potcakes are "responsible" for the companion animal (pet) overpopulation problem; however, potcakes made up the minority (29.4%) of the breeding females. Until regulations concerning dog breeding are introduced, caregivers can be expected to continue exploiting their nonhuman animals to supplement their incomes from the sale of puppies. A consequence of unregulated breeding may also be inbred offspring of "purebred" dogs as few self-styled "professional" breeders appeared to use dogs who were not their own.
Livestock vehicle accidents are rare but involve significant economic, human, and nonhuman farm animal losses. This study obtained information on the characteristics of accidents, the animals involved, and injuries to humans from newspaper reports about livestock vehicle accidents in Spain from January 2000 to December 2008. Most accidents involved pig transport (57%), followed by bovine (30%), poultry (8%), and sheep (5%). Driver mortality was not high (6%), and most accidents (76%) involved only the livestock vehicle, which often was overturned (64%) on a straight road transect (51%). Multivariate analysis of the data suggests 2 types of accidents, depending on the species transported. In the first cluster, 95.3% of the cases involved pig transport with articulated vehicles (60.5%). In the second cluster, 94.4% of the accidents involved small vehicles used for cattle transport (44.4%). The results of this study indicate that the characteristics of livestock vehicle accidents vary according to species. One of the main causes of accidents appears to be driver fatigue, which may be due to several factors such as intense workdays, poorly designed route plans, or high levels of pressure from companies.
In this study, it was hypothesized that different results would be obtained by canine behavior assessments performed within 24 hr of shelter intake (Day 0) and after a 3-day acclimation period (Day 3). Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming assessments were performed on 33 dogs at 2 municipal shelters. Agreements between Day 0 and Day 3 varied among subtests, and no consistent temporal patterns were observed. Weighted kappa statistics for each subtest ranged from .28 to .78, and percentage discordance was 0% to 18%. In a 2nd analysis, subtests skipped due to serious aggression were replaced with scores corresponding to serious aggression, and missing values for the Food subtest were replaced with scores for no aggression if the dog did not eat. For subtests skipped due to severe aggression, more than 50% of the dogs had scores indicating low aggression on the other assessment. Eight of 16 dogs who did not eat on Day 0 ate on Day 3; 2 showed aggression. Until the ideal time to test can be identified, it should be based on the individual dog's welfare status, and testing of dogs showing severe stress should be avoided.
Cats exposed to novel environments initiate stress responses by behavioral and physiological changes that modify metabolism and lead to the collection of unreliable data. Fourteen cats (10 ± 2 months) were subjected to an 11-week acclimation procedure to adapt to restriction within chambers used for indirect calorimetry studies. Cats were acclimated to chambers in their home environments, to chambers in the study room, and to increasing periods of restriction within chambers. Ten additional cats (11 ± 1 month), used as controls, were subjected to a single 5-hr restriction without any prior exposure. Stress level, feed intake, fearfulness, and eliminations were recorded. Latencies to approach a novel object peaked on Weeks 4 and 8 (p < .05). Cat-Stress-Scores (CSS) declined with exposure and on Week 11, stress levels were low and consistent (p < .05). CSS was greater in unacclimated versus acclimated cats (p < .05). In conclusion, acclimation protocols prepare cats for repeated, temporary restriction within chambers, whereas short acclimations do not. A step-up acclimation procedure with behavioral indices of stress should be utilized to prepare cats for research that necessitates restriction.
Comments on the implications of genetic engineering for animal welfare. Welfare problems associated with techniques used to achieve genetic changes; Detrimental effects of genetic modifications to welfare; Modification of farm animals for biomedical products. Implications of genetic engineering for animal welfare are changing rapidly and need to be reviewed regularly. They include the welfare problems associated with techniques used to achieve genetic changes, which are similar to problems of other experimental approaches; these should be considered carefully, especially where techniques are used on a routine basis. When it comes to the genetic modifications themselves, some are detrimental to welfare, some are neutral, and some are beneficial; these results include direct effects of the intended change, side effects, and indirect effects. Currently, the two main applications are modification of farm animals for biomedical products--which appears to be largely neutral for welfare--and modification of mice as models for human disease, which results in suffering, often severe suffering. Beneficial applications are rare and still experimental or theoretical. The situation is similar with regard to the use of recombinant hormones and viruses; use of recombinant vaccines has potential for improving welfare, but may raise other ethical problems. Although few, if any, of these concerns are specific to genetic engineering, various factors combine to suggest that particular safeguards are needed in this field. These include the facts that changes can be produced rapidly and repeatedly, and that one of the driving forces behind genetic engineering is commercial exploitation of technology. In general, ethical evaluation still is done on a case-by-case basis, using the limited criteria seen as directly relevant to each case, rather than on a broader framework. There also is little public accountability, whereby the public can have confidence that such evaluation is being carried out properly. Calls for advisory "watchdog" committees to consider ethical questions on the use of animals are endorsed by this article. Furthermore, it is essential for public confidence in the safeguarding of animal welfare that the procedures of such committees should be well-publicized.
The 1985 amendment to the United States Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to promote psychological well being of primates in the laboratory represents an acknowledgment of an important welfare problem concerning nonhuman animals. How effective has this amendment been? Perhaps the best-known contributor to psychological distress in primates in the laboratory is nonsocial housing; yet, available analyses suggest that little progress has been made in avoiding single-caging of these animals. Another way to assess psychological well being is to examine rates of self-abusive behavior in laboratory primates. If the AWA has been effective, then post-AWA self-harm rates might be lower than pre-AWA rates. However, when we attempted to determine those rates from published studies, data were too sparse to allow a rigorous statistical analysis; of 139 studies reporting primate self-harming behavior, only 9 contained data allowing estimation of self-harming behavior rates. We conclude that the current system of laboratory animal care and record keeping is inadequate to properly assess AWA impacts on primate psychological well being and that more is required to ensure the psychological well being of primates.
This study investigated the physiological reactions of companion dogs (Canis familiaris) used in animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy by measuring salivary cortisol concentrations. The dog caregivers (owners) collected saliva samples (a) at 3 control days without therapeutic work, (b) directly before and after each therapeutic session during 3 consecutive months, and (c) again at 3 control days without therapeutic work. The study used an enzyme immunoassay to analyze the samples. Cortisol concentrations were significantly higher during therapy days than on control days. Dogs working during the first half of the day produced higher cortisol concentrations after therapeutic sessions than before, whereas dogs working in the afternoon produced lower cortisol concentrations. Cortisol concentrations were higher in short sessions than in long ones and increased relative to the number of therapeutic sessions done during the sampling period. The results indicate that therapeutic work was physiologically arousing for the dogs in this study. Whether these physiological responses are indicative of potentially negative stress or of positive excitement remains an open question.
Trapping, handling, and deployment of tracking devices (tagging) are essential aspects of many research and conservation studies of wildlife. However, often these activities place nonhuman animals under considerable physical or psychological distress, which disrupts normal patterns of behavior and may ultimately result in deleterious effects on animal welfare and the validity of research results. Thus, knowledge of how trapping, handling, and tagging alter the behavior of research animals is essential if measures to ameliorate stress-related effects are to be developed and implemented. This article describes how time-stamped location data obtained by global-positioning-system telemetry can be used to retrospectively characterize acute behavioral responses to trapping, handling, and tagging in free-ranging animals used for research. Methods are demonstrated in a case study of the common brushtail possum, a semiarboreal phalangerid marsupial native to Australia. The study discusses possible physiological causes of observed effects and offers general suggestions regarding simple means to reduce trapping-handling-and-tagging-related stress in field studies of vertebrates.
This study measured parameters of stress in recreational, trained horses (REC; n = 7) and elite (International Grand Prix level) trained, dressage horses (DRES; n = 5). The training of the DRES horses uses an unnatural head-neck position (Rollkur), whereas in the REC horses such training techniques are not common. The study measured stress by using heart rate variability analysis for 30 min postfeeding in the morning and 30 min postexercise after a morning training session. The study found no significant difference at rest between the REC and DRES horses. During the posttraining measurements, however, the DRES horses showed, among others, a less sympathetic and increased parasympathetic dominance. These results suggest that DRES horses tend to have less acute stress than do REC horses postexercise. The findings of this study suggest maintaining the health and well-being of DRES horses despite nonnatural, biomechanical positions.
In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita clearly revealed that even in the United States the welfare of companion animals and nonhuman animals in the wild, zoo, or aquarium was not considered within the evacuation plans for their human caretakers (owners). The lack of proper planning and trained individuals resulted in a huge loss of animal life as well as suffering and trauma to both animals and their owners. The present Canadian Federal Emergency Response Plan does not have adequate procedures for the evacuation of animals together with their owners, nor do Canada or the provinces and territories have a plan in place that consists of properly trained and equipped individuals to respond to this aspect of disaster management. The Canadian Veterinary Reserve (CVR) was thus organized at a national level to respond properly to disasters or emergencies of all types and thereby reduce animal suffering and loss of life. This article describes the formation of the CVR and its anticipated national role in addressing animal welfare during times of catastrophic need.
This study used a retrospective narrative procedure to examine the critical events that influence reactions and adjustment to euthanasia-related work of 35 employees who have stayed in the animal care and welfare field for at least 2 years. The study analyzed adjustment trajectory graphs and interview notes to identify turning-point events that spurred either a positive or negative change in shelter workers' psychological well-being. Analysis of the identified turning-point events revealed 10 common event themes that have implications for a range of work, personnel, and organizational practices. The article discusses implications for shelter, employee, and animal welfare.
Although the number of companion animal (pet) cats (Felis catus) in Australia is decreasing, there has not been a corresponding reduction in feline admissions to nonhuman animal welfare shelters. This study tracked 15,206 cat admissions to 1 large Melbourne shelter over a 12-month period. Data collected included factors believed indicative of the cats' source subpopulation, including body condition, injuries, and sociability. The majority (81.6%) of admissions were strays. Overall desexing levels were low (4%), even among caregiver (owner)-relinquished cats (12.8%). The high sociability of many stray cats and kittens suggests that many may be "semiowned" animals. Colony cats were typically thinner and in poorer health than other admissions. The pattern of kitten admissions suggests that many queens are producing 2 litters per season. The majority of cats admitted were euthanized, indicating that there is an oversupply of cats in Melbourne, Australia, and that strategies to reduce the euthanasia rate need to target the subpopulations of cats who contribute to the current oversupply.
The purpose of the study was to determine if brief exposure to a dog behaving badly or in a friendly manner affects subsequent perceptions of the target dog's and other dogs' adoptability. Participants viewed a videotape of an adoptable German shepherd behaving either aggressively or prosocially and were then asked to rate the characteristics and adoptability of the same and different dogs. The results showed that people who saw the aggressive behavioral schema perceived only the target dog and a dog of the same breed to be significantly less adoptable than dogs of other breeds (p<.01). Results of a principal components analysis showed participants perceived the adoptability of dogs to be related to "sociability": Adoptable dogs were more approachable, friendly, intelligent, and less dangerous and aggressive (p<.01). Brief exposure to a misbehaving dog prior to making a decision to adopt may unfairly penalize other dogs perceived to be similar to the misbehaving dog.
The return of a recently adopted companion animal places the nonhuman animal in jeopardy and may be painful and frustrating to the humans involved. However, if returners learn from the failed adoption experience, future adoptions may be more satisfactory for all concerned. In this study, 78 people who had adopted and returned dogs or cats to an animal shelter in a U.S. Midwestern city were interviewed regarding their reasons for return, reactions to the experience, and plans for future adoptions. Although some returners adjusted their pet ownership plans in potentially beneficial ways, most reacted by counseling greater forethought and planning before adopting. The last, although sound advice, had little to do with reasons for return, which primarily were problems that arose postadoption: pet behavior such as not getting along with other pets or children. Changing expectations about the development of new pet-family relationships and the provision of postadoption services might help adopters tolerate the adjustment period and handle problems without resorting to returning the animal.
Adoption of companion animals retired from biomedical research projects can provide an alternative, humane method for their disposition. For more than a decade, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has allowed investigators to arrange for the adoption of nonhuman animals used in their research. This report directed a survey to caregivers (owners) of 458 cats adopted over a 6-year period. The survey determined (a) retention rate of adopted cats in their original homes, (b) characteristics of adopters and cats, (c) adopters' initial expectations and subsequent experiences with the cats, (d) quality of the humananimal bond, and (e) adopters' perceptions of the adoption process. Completed surveys totaled 275 (60.0% response rate) with a median follow-up interval of 38 months. Of cats surveyed, 91.3% were still in their original homes, 91.0% had seen a veterinarian following adoption, and 80.4% were highly valued family members. The procedures followed to place cats in appropriate homes satisfied the vast majority of adopters surveyed. These results suggest that adoption into private homes is a viable alternative for cats who have completed research studies.
Between 1971 and 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adopted out nearly 225,000 horses and burros in the wild (wild horses and burro) who were removed from public lands (BLM, 2009). The inability of the BLM to adopt out wild horses as quickly as they are removed and recurring reports that many wild horse adoptions fail suggests that a better understanding of the adoption program is warranted. This study surveyed and interviewed 38 New Englanders who collectively adopted 68 wild horses directly from the BLM during the last 15 years. Adopters who participated in the study generally described their experiences as positive. They desired a range of horses in terms of age, gender, and color; they were flexible when deciding the activities that best suited their horses. Adopters' past knowledge of, and experience with, horses appeared not to play a major role in the success of the adoption. However, willingness to seek assistance and the availability of support were crucial for many of them. Based on the findings, the study made recommendations for better marketing of the program and improvement of the quality of adoptions.
Nonhuman animal welfare professionals have been critical of adoption programs that do not charge a fee for adult cats, despite the high euthanasia rate for cats due to a reported lack of homes. The argument against the free cat adoptions cites a devaluation of the cat, which may affect the adopter's perceived value of the cat and subsequent care. It may also attract low-income adopters who are perceived as unable to fulfill the financial responsibility of acting as caregiver (owner) of a companion animal (pet). This study examined adopters' attachment to their cats in relation to the payment or waiver of an adoption fee using the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale and perception of the shelter. No significant differences were found between groups on either measure. Programs such as this create an opportunity to positively affect cats in animal shelters by finding more homes; programs such as this also affect cat overpopulation by putting more altered cats into the community.
This study examined which characteristics of dogs available at a large rehoming organization in the United Kingdom influenced prospective adopters' choices. The revealed preference data used to model "consumer" choice were from the Dogs Trust rehoming web pages. The analysis of the probability of adoption involved a logistic regression model with multiple imputation. The factors that had a significant impact on the adopters' choices were age, size, pedigree status, coat length, behavior (e.g., fearfulness, adjustment issues), friendliness (toward children, dogs, and other pets), and training. This study offers a quantitative analysis of adopters' preferences that could prove to be useful for shelter personnel and researchers interested in the analysis of companion animal markets.
This study investigated how the current economic recession (since December 2007) has affected dog and cat relinquishment, adoption, and euthanasia at the Anti-Cruelty Society animal shelter in Chicago, Illinois. The study compared temporal patterns of the investigated statistics before (2000-2007) the start of the current recession with the patterns after the start of the recession (2008-2010). The results showed that once the guardianship (ownership) of a nonhuman animal had been established, the recession did not greatly affect the owner's decision on relinquishment-except for the relinquishment of senior dogs, which may be associated with increased costs of care. However, an unfavorable economic environment may have reduced adoption of animals. The consequences of a decline in adoptions might be reflected in an increase in the proportion or number of sheltered animals euthanized. This study demonstrated how monitoring changes in temporal patterns in these shelter statistics can help guide animal shelters to better prepare for the current recession.
A survey in Ibiúna, Sao Paulo, Brazil, of caregivers (owners) who adopted shelter dogs assessed length of ownership, proportion of male and female dogs adopted, and owners' characteristics. It addressed breeding, neutering, vaccination, and veterinary care. It used no testing to provide a good "match" between dog and future owner. Of adopted dogs, 58% were male. Only 36% of owners were located. Mean ownership length was 14.8 months (95% confidence interval = 12.4 to 17.2 months), estimated through a survival analysis method. Of adopted dogs, 40.9% lived with their owners; 34.9% had died (some had lived on the streets); 15.0% were donated; 4.3% ran away; 3.2% were returned to the city shelter. Of interviewees, 57% reported no difficulties with the adoption; 23.1% cited the animal's illness and death as the main difficulty. For contraception, 87 owners (46.7%) chained dogs to prevent contact with other animals; 56.5% were against neutering. Reasons given were compassion (58.1%), unnecessary procedure (11.4%), cost (9.5%), and behavior change (4.8%). This research motivated a design for Ibiúna shelter dog adoption to improve the proportion of successful adoptions.
The Internet has radically changed how dogs are advertised for adoption in the United States. This study was used to investigate how different characteristics in dogs' photos presented online affected the speed of their adoptions, as a proof of concept to encourage more research in this field. The study analyzed the 1st images of 468 adopted young and adult black dogs identified as Labrador Retriever mixed breeds across the United States. A subjective global measure of photo quality had the largest impact on time to adoption. Other photo traits that positively impacted adoption speed included direct canine eye contact with the camera, the dog standing up, the photo being appropriately sized, an outdoor photo location, and a nonblurry image. Photos taken in a cage, dogs wearing a bandana, dogs having a visible tongue, and some other traits had no effect on how fast the dogs were adopted. Improving the quality of online photos of dogs presented for adoption may speed up and possibly increase the number of adoptions, thereby providing a cheap and easy way to help fight the homeless companion animal population problem.
Shelter dogs typically undergo preadoption assessment for suitability as companions. Dogs who pass are available for adoption. Available resources determine whether dogs who fail are euthanized or rehabilitated. Accurate assessment of shelter-dog behavior is imperative to protect community welfare and dogs in the shelter system and to ensure potentially dangerous dogs are not rehomed and suitable companions not wrongly euthanized. This study reviewed a sample of Australian nonhuman animal shelters assessment protocols to determine adoption suitability. The study observed more than 50 assessments in 8 shelters, collected materials relating to the observed assessments, and interviewed 26 shelter workers who assess dogs. The results showed that Australian shelters use a variety of protocols to assess adoptability. Although shelters do their best to ensure meaningful results, assessments developed in-house predominate and lack standardization in content and methodology; none have been adequately evaluated in the peer-reviewed literature. This does not necessarily mean invalid or inappropriate assessments; rather, it indicates the need for behavioral scientists to assist in developing standardized and scientifically validated protocols for assessing shelter dogs' behavior and adoption suitability.
The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to investigate determinants of adoption of cats and dogs from a large municipal animal shelter. The subjects were 4,813 cats and 3,301 dogs impounded by the Sacramento County Department of Animal Care and Regulation and offered for adoption September 9, 1994 to May 26, 1995. The study constructed models predicting the conditional probability of adoption using logistic regression and a final multiple logistic regression model from variables found to be important predictors of adoption. Age, sex, coat color, and reason for relinquishment were major determinants of adoption in cats. Age, sex, coat color, reason for relinquishment, breed, purebred status, and injury status were major determinants of adoption in dogs. Shelter personnel could utilize this information to increase the adoption of frequently overlooked animals. Alternatively, shelters could use this to focus their resources on animals with characteristics the public prefers.
Governmental and other agencies may require dog caregivers (owners) to provide breed identification of their dogs. This study compares breed identification by adoption agencies with identification by DNA analysis in 20 dogs of unknown parentage. Of the 20 dogs who had been adopted from 17 different locations, the study identified 16 dogs as having (or probably having) 1 or 2 specific breed(s) in their ancestry. DNA analysis of these dogs indicated that 25% (4/16) did in fact contain genetic evidence of an adoption agency's identified breed as one of the predominant breeds in a dog's ancestry. DNA analysis did not detect all specified breeds in 14 of these dogs. That is, 87.5% of the dogs identified by an adoption agency as having specific breeds in their ancestry did not have all of those breeds detected by DNA analysis. The discrepancies between opinions of adoption agencies and identification by DNA analysis suggest that it would be worthwhile to reevaluate the reliability of breed identification as well as the justification of current public and private policies pertaining to specific dog breeds.
Nonprofit equine rescue organizations in the United States provide care for relinquished horses and may offer adoption programs. With an estimated 100,000 "unwanted" horses per year and few municipal shelters providing wholesale euthanasia, there is a need to minimize the number of unwanted horses and maximize their successful transition to new caregivers. This study's objectives were to characterize the relinquishing and adoptive owners interacting with nonprofit rescue organizations. Nonprofit organizations (n = 144) in 37 states provided information by survey on 280 horses relinquished between 2006 and 2009, from which 73 were adopted. Results show the majority of relinquishing owners were women, whereas adoptive owners were primarily families or couples. Most relinquishing owners had previous equine experience and had owned the horse for 1 to 5 years; about half owned 1 other horse. Three quarters of the adoptive owners possessed additional horses housed on their property. The primary use for rehomed horses was for riding or driving. These findings will serve to help develop effective education programs for responsible horse ownership and optimize acceptance criteria and successful adoption strategies of horses by nonprofit organizations.