Provision of shelter for horses kept on summer pasture is rarely considered in welfare guidelines, perhaps because the benefits of shelter in warm conditions are poorly documented scientifically. For cattle, shade is a valued resource during summer and can mitigate the adverse effects of warm weather on well-being and performance. We found in a previous study that horses utilized shelters frequently in summer. A shelter with a roof and closed on three sides (shelter A) was preferred and can reduce insect pressure whereas a shelter with roof and open on three sides was not utilized. However, shelter A restricts the all-round view of a horse, which may be important for horses as flight animals. Therefore, we studied whether a shelter with roof, where only the upper half of the rear wall was closed (shelter B), would be utilized while maintaining insect protection properties and satisfying the horses' sense for security. A third shelter was offered with walls but no roof (shelter C) to evaluate whether the roof itself is an important feature from the horse's perspective. Eight Warmblood horses were tested each for 2?days, kept individually for 24?h in two paddocks with access to shelters A and B, or shelters A and C, respectively. Shelter use was recorded continuously during the night (1800-2400?h, 0200-0600?h) and the following day (0900-1600?h), and insect defensive behaviour (e.g., tail swish) in instantaneous scan samples at 5-min intervals during daytime.
Seven horses used both shelters A and B, but when given the choice between shelters A and C, shelter C was scarcely visited. There was no difference in duration of shelter use between night (105.8???53.6?min) and day (100.8???53.8, P?=?0.829). Daytime shelter use had a significant effect on insect defensive behaviours (P?=?0.027). The probability of performing these behaviours was lowest when horses used shelter A compared to being outside (P?=?0.038).
Horses only utilized shelters with a roof whilst a shelter with roof and closed on three sides had the best potential to lower insect disturbance during daytime in summer.
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Since January 1 2013, group housing of sows has been compulsory within the European Union (EU) in all pig holdings with more than ten sows. Sows and gilts need to be kept in groups from 4 weeks after service to 1 week before the expected time of farrowing (Article 3(4) of Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs). The legislation regarding group housing was adopted already in 2001 and a long transitional period was allowed to give member states and producers enough time for adaptation. Even so, group housing of sows still seems to be uncommon in the EU, and is also uncommon in commercial pig farming systems in the rest of the world. In this review we share our experience of the Swedish 25 years of animal welfare legislation stipulating that sows must be loose-housed which de facto means group housed. The two most important concerns related to reproductive function among group-housed sows are the occurrence of lactational oestrus when sows are group-housed during lactation, and the stress that is associated with group housing during mating and gestation. Field and clinical observations in non-lactating, group-housed sows in Sweden suggest that by making basic facts known about the pig reproductive physiology related to mating, we might achieve application of efficient batch-wise breeding without pharmacological interventions. Group housing of lactating sows has some production disadvantages and somewhat lower productivity would likely have to be expected. Recordings of behavioural indicators in different housing systems suggest a lower welfare level in stalled animals compared with group-housed ones. However, there are no consistent effects on the reproductive performance associated with different housing systems. Experimental studies suggest that the most sensitive period, regarding disturbance of reproductive functions by external stressors, is the time around oestrus. We conclude that by keeping sows according to the pig welfare-friendly Directive 2008/120/EC, it is possible to combine group-housing of sows with good reproductive performance and productivity. However, substantially increased research and development is needed to optimize these systems.
The cloning of Dolly the sheep gave rise to a widespread call for limits on interference with life. Until recently, the main limits were technical: what it is possible to do. Now scientists are faced with ethical limits as well: what it is acceptable to do. In this context, we take ethics to involve systematic and rational reflection on moral issues raised in the public sphere. The concerns of the general public are not necessarily valid, but they are the best point of departure if the discussion is to lead to a socially robust framework for setting limits to the use of animal biotechnology. To assess public understanding, we examine two sources of data: Eurobarometer surveys from 1991 to 2002 and a qualitative interview study carried out in Denmark in 2000. Based on these sources, we formulate, and then discuss closely, the following concerns: dangers to human health and the environment, animal welfare, animal integrity, and usefulness. In the final part of the article, it is proposed that a principle of proportionality should be the foundation for socially robust applications of animal biotechnology. Only in cases where the usefulness of the technology can be said to outweigh countervailing moral concerns, as in biomedical research, will applications of animal biotechnology stand up to scrutiny in the public sphere.
An epidemiological study was undertaken to elucidate factors associated with pet ownership. The study utilized questionnaires that were mailed to a systematic random sample of 700 households in the city of Guelph and Eramosa township. Reasons for ownership were analyzed by factor analysis while differences between owning and nonowning households were investigated using logistic regression. Sixty-five percent of dogs and 71% of cats were neutered. Only 2% of urban and 3% of rural dogs had never been vaccinated, compared to 12% and 17% for urban and rural cats. Families that included preschoolers were less likely to own pets, as were those from an urban area. The highest scoring reason for ownership was "companionship," followed by "love and affection" and for the "benefit of the children". The highest ranked reason for nonownership was "pets are a problem when I go away," followed by "I don't have enough time to devote to a pet" and "poor housing".
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National veterinary services monitor endemic, emerging and exotic disease situations. They intervene when epidemic tendencies demand. They unravel complex disease situations. They do so as monopolies, in environments of political influence and budgetary restraint. When human, animal health and trade protection dictate, they design import or domestic disease control programs. As much as 80% of program expenditures are on surveillance. Their initiatives are scrutinized by treasuries from which they seek funding, industries from which they seek collaboration and trading partners from whom they seek recognition. In democracies, surveillance and control programs are often the products of a complicated consultative process. It involves individuals who have both a commitment to improving an existing animal health situation and access to the required resources. The generations that designed traditionally risk-averse national surveillance and control programs have given way to a new one which is more epidemiologically informed. Their successors design programs bearing epidemiologically based improvements. The transition, however, has not been overwhelmingly welcomed. Expenditures on surveillance are tolerated out of fear during outbreaks of foreign or re-emergence of indigenous disease. Between epidemics, they decline at the hands of producers' unwillingness and budgetary restraint. Human nature responds to the high cost of surveillance in forms ranging from naïveté through to conspiracy. While legislation cannot subdue such human frailty, several other opportunities exist. Education can remove the majority of problems caused by ignorance, leaving the minority that arise intentionally. Technology decreases the high cost of testing which tempts individuals to cut corners. International standards assist National Veterinary Services to overcome domestic resistance.
Skin lesions on pigs inflicted by humans compromise animal welfare and are the subject of increased public and political attention in Denmark. Systematic surveillance of such skin lesions was enforced in April 2010 at all Danish pig abattoirs, through the recording of meat inspection Code 904 for the presence of skin lesions suspected to be human inflicted. The objectives of the present study were to (a) estimate the apparent prevalence of Code 904s at the pig and herd owner level; (b) characterise the distribution of deliveries with pigs demonstrating a Code 904; (c) characterise the distribution of herd owners with repeated Code 904 recordings; and (d) determine the developments in Code 904 prevalence over time in Danish finishing pigs in the period from May 1, 2010 to September 30, 2013. Data from the 12 largest finishing pig abattoirs from Denmark were included and recordings were comprised from 65,504,021 pigs from 651,681 deliveries originating from 10,796 herd owners. Overall, 7200 (0.011%) of the pigs were recorded with a Code 904, and 21% of herd owners had a minimum of one Code 904 delivery with at least one pig with skin lesions inflicted by humans. On the pig-level, the apparent prevalence was 0.020% in 2010, which was reduced to 0.008% in 2013. In the first quarter of the study period, 17% of the herd owners had a Code 904 delivery, while 7% had one in the last quarter. Nine per cent of the herds had more than one Code 904 recording, with up to 16 Code 904 deliveries from one herd owner. Most deliveries included one single pig with a Code 904, but up to 102 Code 904 recordings were made in a single delivery. The apparent prevalence at the four smallest and four middle sized abattoirs decreased from the first to the second quarter, while the apparent prevalence decreased more substantially in the largest four abattoirs; with significant decreases from both the first to the second, and from the second to the third quarter. The study showed that recorded skin lesions suspected to be inflicted by humans are prevalent, but the apparent prevalence decreased from 2010 to 2012 and 2013. The development in Code 904 over time could be due to a real decrease or be due to other factors such as changes in the way the lesions were recorded, while both underestimation and overestimation appeared to be present.