E.K. Visser

Wageningen University, Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands

Are you E.K. Visser?

Claim your profile

Publications (30)22.24 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the present study, a web-based questionnaire was used with the aim to investigate perceived relevance of 14 behavioural traits in horses regarding quality of match between horse and rider. The responses of approximately 2800 participants indicate a high interest in the topic. All traits were considered relevant by at least 50% of the respondents. ‘Easy to bring to new environments’ was the trait indicated as relevant by the highest proportion (85%) of respondents, followed by ‘spirited and forward’ (84%) and ‘tolerant towards humans’ (80%). Respondents’ age as well as preferred equitation discipline was shown to have a profound influence on perception of relevance (P < 0.05). The results suggest a need for methods to objectively evaluate individual differences in behavioural traits to enable selection of horses to optimize horse–rider match.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A – Animal Science
  • E.K. Visser · F. Neijenhuis

    No preview · Article · Jan 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Het project “Animal Welfare Check Points” heeft als doel het ontwikkelen van protocollen voor het beoordelen van het welzijn van slachtdieren tijdens het selecteren en voorbereiden op het primaire bedrijf, tijdens transport en op de slachterij. In de tweede fase van het onderzoek (2013) zijn gegevens verzameld om een idee te krijgen van de gemiddelden en spreiding van de welzijnsparameters in de praktijk. Daarnaast zijn ervaringen opgedaan met de toepassing van de protocollen in de praktijk, en waar nodig zijn protocollen verder aangescherpt.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Horses are used for a wide variety of purposes from being used for recreational purposes to competing at an international level. With these different uses, horses have to adapt to numerous challenges and changes in their environment, which can be a challenge itself in continuously safeguarding their welfare. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of health disorders with clinical examination and identify possible risk factors of health disorders affecting horse welfare in professional husbandry systems in the Netherlands. With the use of fixed protocols for recording health aspects in horses, 150 horse farms voluntarily participating in the study were assessed by trained assessors. On each farm 20 horses were clinically examined, in total almost 3000 animals. This study recorded on basis of the clinical examinations: the respiratory system (i.e. abnormal breathing (1%), coughing (1%), nasal discharge (1.9%)), body condition (i.e. 18.8% fat body condition and 6.4% poor body condition), locomotion (14.5% exhibited irregularity of locomotion and 4.8% were lame), back palpation (a light response 22.6% and moderate to severe response 8.4%), mouth (i.e. irregularities on mouth corners (3.4 %) and bars (3.4 %)), and ocular discharge (12%). Risk factor analysis, stepwise using mixed model regression, demonstrated several risk factors for health aspects. Horses used for instruction (riding lessons) were almost two times more at risk to develop moderate to severe back pain compared to horses used for recreation (OR = 0.54) or for competition (OR = 0.61). Horses used for instruction (riding school lessons), breeding or recreation all had a higher risk for irregular locomotion or lameness compared to competition horses (OR = 0.42, OR = 0.55, OR = 2.14 respectively). Horses used for recreation were more prone to have a higher Body Condition Score compared to horses used for breeding (OR = 3.07) and instruction (OR = 2.06). The prevalences of health problems and the identified risk factors are valid for the horses in the present study in which farms voluntarily participated. Furthermore, the results may provide the basis for horse welfare and health programs on farm and horse industry levels. With the development of a valid welfare monitoring system for the horse industry, the welfare of horses can be increased through improving awareness and stimulating changes in management.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Animal Science
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The presence and severity of lung lesions recorded post-mortem is commonly used as an indicator to assess the prevalence of respiratory problems in batches of bovines. In the context of a welfare monitoring based on on-farm measures, the recording of clinical signs on calves at the farm would be more convenient than the recording of lung lesions at slaughter. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between clinical respiratory signs at farm and post-mortem analyses of lung lesions observed at slaughter in veal calves. If clinical signs were a good predictor of lung lesions it could be possible to integrate only those measures in a welfare monitoring system. One-hundred-and-seventy-four batches of calves were observed 3 times: at 3 and 13 weeks after arrival of the calves at the unit and at 2 weeks before slaughter. For each batch a maximum of 300 calves was observed and the proportions of calves showing abnormal breathing, nasal discharge and coughing were recorded. Post-mortem inspection was carried out on a sample of lungs belonging to calves from the observed batches. Each examined lung was classified according to a 4-point scale for pneumonia from healthy lung (score 0) to severe lesions (score 3). The clinical signs recorded infra vitam were significantly correlated with moderate and severe lung lesions for observations at 13 weeks and 2 weeks before slaughter and the level of the correlation was highly variable (r(sp) from 0.16 to 0.40). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were created and the area under the curves showed that batches with a high proportion of lungs with moderate or severe lesions could not be accurately detected by the three clinical signs of respiratory disorders. These results suggest that both clinical signs and post-mortem inspection of lung lesions must be included in a welfare monitoring schemes for veal calves.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In deze brochure worden verschillende paardenhouderijsystemen vergeleken op belangrijke duurzaamheidsaspecten. In de afgelopen jaren zijn er enkele nieuwe paardenhouderijsystemen op de markt gekomen, zoals de ‘Hit actief stal’ (bewegingsstal) en ‘Paddockparadijs’. Deze nieuwe systemen claimen duurzamer te zijn, waarbij het welzijn van de paarden voorop staat. Daarnaast zijn bij een aantal systemen een hogere arbeidsefficiëntie en lagere investeringskosten belangrijke uitgangspunten. Om de systemen te kunnen vergelijken en vast te stellen of deze systemen bijdragen aan een verduurzaming van de paardenhouderij is allereerst een beschrijving nodig van de traditionele systemen en de nieuwe systemen. In deze brochure worden de traditionele- en nieuwe paardenhouderijsystemen beschreven en vergeleken.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study aimed at assessing the prevalence of poor rumen development, presence of rumen plaques, rumen papillae hyperkeratinization, and abomasal lesions in veal calves and to investigate risk factors for their occurrence at the farm level. Within a wide cross-sectional study, a sample of 170 veal farms representative of the European veal meat production systems was considered in the 3 major producing countries (99 in the Netherlands, 47 in France, and 24 in Italy). An average of 59 ± 10 (SD) rumens and abomasa belonging to calves from a single batch per farm were inspected at the abattoir by trained observers to assess the incidence of these gastrointestinal disorders. Potential risk factors for their occurrence related to farm management, housing, and to the feeding plan were obtained by a questionnaire submitted to the stockperson. Prevalence of poor rumen development (almost no papillae present), rumen plaques, and hyperkeratinization were 60.4, 31.4, and 6.1% of rumens, respectively, whereas abomasal lesions in the pyloric area were recorded in 74.1% of abomasa. Independent variables related to the feeding system confirmed to be the main risk factors for the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders in veal calves. However, additional risk sources for each given problem were identified among housing and management variables. The provision of a low amount of solid feed (≤ 50kg of dry matter/head per cycle) was a relevant risk for rumen underdevelopment. Rumen wall alterations (plaques and hyperkeratinization) and abomasal lesions were instead associated with the administration of large quantities of solids (151-300 kg of dry matter/head per cycle) in calves receiving milk replacer during the entire fattening cycle. Among the types of solid feed, cereal grain acted as a preventive measure for low rumen development, whereas it was a risk factor for the occurrence of rumen plaques, papillae hyperkeratinization, and abomasal lesions. Some housing and management options adopted to improve veal calf welfare (i.e., higher space allowance and use of heating) were associated with lower risk for gastrointestinal disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of Dairy Science
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ongerief bij rundvee, varkens, pluimvee, nertsen en paarden in Nederland is geïnventariseerd en vergeleken met een vergelijkbare analyse in 2007. In het algemeen is het ongerief verminderd, maar in geringe mate ten opzichte van het totaal aan ongerief. De rapportage is gebaseerd op gegevens t/m 2010.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011
  • E.K. Visser · Karin Karlas · Deurzen · Reenen · C.G

    No preview · Article · Jul 2010 · Journal of Veterinary Behavior Clinical Applications and Research
  • D Alberghina · C Giannetto · E K Visser · AD Ellis
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Concentrations of tryptophan (TRP) and serotonin (5-HT) in plasma were measured in 36 moderately trained Dutch warmblood horses after eight weeks on a high fibre (n=18) or high starch (n=18) diet. Samples were taken three hours after feeding, when the horse was at rest, either at 11.00 or 14.00 hours. Plasma 5-HT and pH were significantly higher in horses fed a high fibre diet than those fed a high starch diet (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively), and significantly higher levels of TRP were found in mares than geldings (P<0.05). Plasma 5-HT may therefore be a good marker of serotonergic activity.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
  • E.K. Visser · Dierendonck · P. McGreevy
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Only a small handful of novel studies have been published since the 2006 Lausanne meeting on hyperflexion. Unfortunately, these studies have tended to be marred serious flaws in methodology, limited numbers or unhelpful parameters used. This leads to the conclusion that there is still insufficient scientific evidence to confirm unequivocally whether or not there are welfare issues involved in training techniques using hyperflexion.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
  • E. K. Visser · Wijhe-Kiezebrink van M. C
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hoe brengen de paarden in Nederland hun dag door? Er zijn geen kengetallen die dat verraden en dus moeten we constateren dat we daar weinig van weten. De paardensector zelf en het ministerie van LNV willen hier verandering in brengen en gaven onderzoekers Kathalijne Visser-Riedstra, Maudia van Wijhe-Kiezebrink en Francesca Neijenhuis de opdracht een protocol 'Dagprogramma paard' op te stellen.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
  • E. Kathalijne Visser · Andrea D. Ellis · Reenen · C.G
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effect of stabling for the first time on the behaviour and welfare of young and naïve horses has not yet been studied in detail. In this study we examined the effect of two typical housing systems on their subsequent behavioural and physiological responses upon first time stabling. Thirty-six 2-year-old Dutch warmbloods, 18 geldings and 18 mares were included in the study. Half of the horses were stabled in individual stables (10.5 m2) and the other half in pair housing (48 m2 for two horses). The study lasted 12 weeks. At the end of the study the physiological and temperamental responses of the horses on the different treatments was tested using a CRF challenge test (to test the HPA-axis function) and a Novel Object test (to test temperamental differences) respectively. Especially in the first week after stabling pair housed horses spent more time eating whereas individually housed horses spent more time either standing vigilant or sleeping. Stress-related behaviours like neighing, pawing, nibbling and snorting were all displayed significantly more frequently in the individually housed horses (P < 0.01). At the end of the study 67% of the individually housed horses was seen performing one or more stereotypies (P < 0.01). The cortisol response and ACTH response on the CRF challenge test were lower for horses in the individually housed boxes. It is suggested that this depression in socially isolated animals is caused by a desensitisation of the HPA axis in response to stress-induced elevations in ACTH and cortisol. In general there was no effect of the treatment on the reactivity of the horses during the Novel Object test. However, there were significant relations between the responses of horses in the Novel Object test and in the stable environment. It is concluded that sudden isolated stabling is stressful to young and naïve horses, resulting in a high prevalence of stereotypies and abnormal behaviours. This study also provided some support for the notion that social stress in horses may be associated with a blunted adrenocortical response to CRF challenge. The finding that responses of horses to a behavioural test are correlated with home environment behaviours suggests that individual horses exhibit consistent behavioural traits across different contexts, and opens the possibility of using behavioural tests in horses to predict more general underlying behavioural characteristics.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Applied Animal Behaviour Science
  • Source
    Martine Hausberger · Hélène Roche · Séverine Henry · E. Kathalijne Visser
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite a long history of human-horse relationship, horse-related incidents and accidents do occur amongst professional and non professional horse handlers. Recent studies show that their occurrence depend more on the frequency and amount of interactions with horses than on the level of competency, suggesting a strong need for specific research and training of individuals working with horses. In the present study, we review the current scientific knowledge on human-horse relationships. We distinguish here short occasional interactions with familiar or unfamiliar horses (e.g. veterinary inspection) and long-term bonds (e.g. horse-owner).
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2008 · Applied Animal Behaviour Science
  • Source
    M Hausberger · H. Roche · S Henry · E.K. Visser
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite a long history of human¿horse relationship, horse-related incidents and accidents do occur amongst professional and non professional horse handlers. Recent studies show that their occurrence depend more on the frequency and amount of interactions with horses than on the level of competency, suggesting a strong need for specific research and training of individuals working with horses. In the present study, we review the current scientific knowledge on human¿horse relationships. We distinguish here short occasional interactions with familiar or unfamiliar horses (e.g. veterinary inspection) and long-term bonds (e.g. horse¿owner). An important aspect of the horse¿human relationship is to try and improve the development and maintenance of a strong positive relationship. Studies show that deficits in the management conditions (housing, feeding, possibilities for social contact, and training methods) may lead to relational problems between horses and humans. Different methods have been used to assess and improve the human¿horse relation, especially at the young age. They reveal that the time and type of contact all play a role, while recent studies suggest that the use of familiarized social models might be a great help through social facilitation We argue that an important theoretical framework could be Hinde's [Hinde, R., 1979. Towards Understanding Relationships. Academic Press, Londres] definition of a relationship as an emerging bond from a series of interactions: partners have expectations on the next interaction on the basis of the previous ones. Understanding that a relationship is built up on the basis of a succession of interactions is an important step as it suggests that attention is being paid to the ¿positive¿ or ¿negative¿ valence of each interaction as a step for the next one. A better knowledge of learning rules is certainly necessary in this context not only to train the horse but also to counterbalance the unavoidable negative inputs that exist in routine procedures and reduce their impact on the relationship. It appears clearly that research is needed in order to assess how to better and safely approach the horse (e.g. research in position, posture, gaze, etc.), what type of approaches and timing may help in developing a positive bond, what influence human management and care have on the relationship, and how this can be adapted to have a positive influence on the relationship. Also the interaction between rider and horse, the search for the optimal match between two individuals, is an aspect of the horse¿human relationship that requires attention in order to decrease the number of horse-riding accidents and reduced states of welfare. On the other hand, adequate knowledge is readily available that may improve the present situation rapidly. Developing awareness and attention to behavioural cues given by horses would certainly help decreasing accidents among professionals when interacting. Scientists therefore should play a major role in transmitting not only elements of the current knowledge of the ethology of the horse but also by helping developing observational skills
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2008
  • F.R. Leenstra · E.K. Visser · M.A.W. Ruis · Greef · K.H · A.P. Bos · Dixhoorn · I.D.E · H. Hopster
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Late 2007 the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality presented a Policy Document on Animal Welfare to the Parliament. In this report a number of building blocks on how to deal with farm animals are described. A discussion of similarities and differences in the perception of animal welfare from social and animal science perspective. An inventory of discomfort items, and their prioritizing for cattle, pigs, poultry, mink and horses and some steps to solve animal welfare problems. An integral design plan for several sectors, where integral design is most necessary to diminish discomfort to animals
    No preview · Article · Jan 2007
  • E.K. Visser · M. Zetterqvist · H.J. Blokhuis · Reenen · C.G

    No preview · Article · Jan 2007
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For a horse to succeed in a show-jumping career, the individual has to possess both excellent physical abilities as well as a suitable personality to perform under challenging conditions. Forty-one Dutch Warmblood horses were used to develop personality tests and correlations between test variables and early training performances in jumping were studied. In behavioural tests, during the first 2 years of the horses¿ lives, personality aspects like emotionality, reactivity to human and learning abilities were quantified. At the age of 3, horses were broken and received early training in show-jumping. The inter-relationship between several performance variables measured during this early training phase were studied using principal component analysis (PCA). Variables measured in the different personality tests (novel-object test, handling test, avoidance-learning test and a reward-learning test) showed no correlations, suggesting that these tests all triggered different aspects of a horse¿s personality. This study indicates that it is possible to predict a substantial part of the show-jumping performance of an individual horse later in life by personality traits earlier in life.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2003 · Applied Animal Behaviour Science
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Behavioural tests as well as observers' ratings have been used to study horses' temperament. However, the relationship between the ratings and the responses in behavioural tests has not yet been studied in detail. The aim of the present study was to examine this relationship between ratings and responses. Eighteen mature Swedish Warmblood horses were subjected to 2 behavioural tests, one relating to novelty (novel object test) and one to handling (handling test). Subsequently, 16 of these horses were ridden by 16 equally experienced students, having no former experience with the horses. Immediately after each ride, the students scored the horse for 10 temperamental traits using a line rating method. It was shown that for each temperamental trait all 16 riders agreed on the ranking of the horses (0.212<W<0.505, P < 0.001). Correlations between behavioural and heart rate variables in the behavioural tests revealed that horses with a high level of locomotion or much restlessness behaviour exhibited high mean heart rate and low heart rate variability. In particular, heart rate variables in the behavioural tests were found to correlate with riders' rating scores. Furthermore, the underlying components of the handling test, retrieved with a principal component analysis (PCA) correlated with riders' rating scores while the underlying components of the novel object test did not. It is concluded that it is possible for a large panel of assessors to agree upon a horse's temperament and that objective measures from behavioural tests correlate significantly with temperamental traits assessed by a panel of assessors.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2003 · Equine Veterinary Journal
  • Source
    E.K. Visser · Reenen · C.G · M.B.H. Schilder · A Barneveld · H.J. Blokhuis
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To achieve optimal performance in equine sports as well as in leisure not only the physical abilities of the horse should be considered, but also the horse's personality. Besides temperamental aspects, like emotionality, or the horse's reactivity towards humans in handling situations, the learning ability of the horse is another relevant personality trait. To study whether differences in learning performance are consistent over time and whether individual learning performance differs between learning tests or is affected by emotionality, 39 young horses (Dutch Warmblood) were tested repeatedly in two learning tests. An aversive stimulus (AS) was used in one learning test (the avoidance learning test) and a reward was used in the other learning test (the reward learning test). During both learning tests behaviour as well as heart rate were measured. Each test was executed four times, twice when horses were 1 year of age, and twice when they were 2 years of age. Half of the horses received additional physical training from 6 months onwards. In both tests horses could be classified as either performers, i.e. completing the daily session, or as non-performers, i.e. returning to the home environment without having completed the daily session. There were some indications that emotionality might have caused non-performing behaviour, but these indications are not convincing enough to exclude other causes. Furthermore, there seem to be no simple relationships between measures of heart rate, behavioural responses putatively related to emotionality and learning performance. Horses revealed consistent individual learning performances within years in both tests, and in the avoidance learning test also between years. There was no significant correlation between learning performances in the avoidance learning test and the learning performances in the reward learning test. It is concluded that individual learning abilities are consistent over a short time interval for an avoidance learning test and a reward learning test and over a longer time for the avoidance learning test. Furthermore, results indicate that some horses perform better when they have to learn to avoid an aversive stimulus while others perform better when they are rewarded after a correct response. It is suggested that these differences may be relevant to design optimal individual training programmes and methods.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2003 · Applied Animal Behaviour Science