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Animals, Volume 3, Issue 4 (December 2013), Pages 962-1228

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Frog Swarms: Earthquake Precursors or False Alarms?
Animals 2013, 3(4), 962-977; doi:10.3390/ani3040962
Received: 6 September 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 22 September 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In short-term earthquake risk forecasting, the avoidance of false alarms is of utmost importance to preclude the possibility of unnecessary panic among populations in seismic hazard areas. Unusual animal behaviour prior to earthquakes has been reported for millennia but has rarely been scientifically
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In short-term earthquake risk forecasting, the avoidance of false alarms is of utmost importance to preclude the possibility of unnecessary panic among populations in seismic hazard areas. Unusual animal behaviour prior to earthquakes has been reported for millennia but has rarely been scientifically documented. Recently large migrations or unusual behaviour of amphibians have been linked to large earthquakes, and media reports of large frog and toad migrations in areas of high seismic risk such as Greece and China have led to fears of a subsequent large earthquake. However, at certain times of year large migrations are part of the normal behavioural repertoire of amphibians. News reports of “frog swarms” from 1850 to the present day were examined for evidence that this behaviour is a precursor to large earthquakes. It was found that only two of 28 reported frog swarms preceded large earthquakes (Sichuan province, China in 2008 and 2010). All of the reported mass migrations of amphibians occurred in late spring, summer and autumn and appeared to relate to small juvenile anurans (frogs and toads). It was concluded that most reported “frog swarms” are actually normal behaviour, probably caused by juvenile animals migrating away from their breeding pond, after a fruitful reproductive season. As amphibian populations undergo large fluctuations in numbers from year to year, this phenomenon will not occur on a yearly basis but will depend on successful reproduction, which is related to numerous climatic and geophysical factors. Hence, most large swarms of amphibians, particularly those involving very small frogs and occurring in late spring or summer, are not unusual and should not be considered earthquake precursors. In addition, it is likely that reports of several mass migration of small toads prior to the Great Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 were not linked to the subsequent M = 7.9 event (some occurred at a great distance from the epicentre), and were probably co-incidence. Statistical analysis of the data indicated frog swarms are unlikely to be connected with earthquakes. Reports of unusual behaviour giving rise to earthquake fears should be interpreted with caution, and consultation with experts in the field of earthquake biology is advised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes)
Open AccessArticle A Framework to Evaluate Wildlife Feeding in Research, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Recreation
Animals 2013, 3(4), 978-994; doi:10.3390/ani3040978
Received: 13 August 2013 / Revised: 27 September 2013 / Accepted: 27 September 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Feeding of wildlife occurs in the context of research, wildlife management, tourism and in opportunistic ways. A review of examples shows that although feeding is often motivated by good intentions, it can lead to problems of public safety and conservation and be detrimental
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Feeding of wildlife occurs in the context of research, wildlife management, tourism and in opportunistic ways. A review of examples shows that although feeding is often motivated by good intentions, it can lead to problems of public safety and conservation and be detrimental to the welfare of the animals. Examples from British Columbia illustrate the problems (nuisance animal activity, public safety risk) and consequences (culling, translocation) that often arise from uncontrolled feeding. Three features of wildlife feeding can be distinguished: the feasibility of control, the effects on conservation and the effects on animal welfare. An evaluative framework incorporating these three features was applied to examples of feeding from the literature. The cases of feeding for research and management purposes were generally found to be acceptable, while cases of feeding for tourism or opportunistic feeding were generally unacceptable. The framework should allow managers and policy-makers to distinguish acceptable from unacceptable forms of wildlife feeding as a basis for policy, public education and enforcement. Many harmful forms of wildlife feeding seem unlikely to change until they come to be seen as socially unacceptable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Wildlife Management)
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Open AccessCommunication Should Dogs and Cats be Given as Gifts?
Animals 2013, 3(4), 995-1001; doi:10.3390/ani3040995
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 2 October 2013 / Accepted: 3 October 2013 / Published: 16 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (63 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Policies that state dogs and cats should not be adopted as gifts are prevalent at animal welfare organizations, despite the fact that this belief is unfounded. Denying adopters who intend to give the animals as gifts may unnecessarily impede the overarching goal of
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Policies that state dogs and cats should not be adopted as gifts are prevalent at animal welfare organizations, despite the fact that this belief is unfounded. Denying adopters who intend to give the animals as gifts may unnecessarily impede the overarching goal of increasing the rate of live-releases of dogs and cats from our nations’ shelter system. The results of this brief survey show that receiving a dog or cat as a gift was neither significantly associated with impact on self-perceived love/attachment, nor was it associated with whether or not respondents still had the dog or cat in the home. The results from this survey add to a growing body of literature that suggests there is no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as a gift. Full article
Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Perceptions of Threatened Species and Their Management on Urban Beaches
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1002-1020; doi:10.3390/ani3041002
Received: 28 August 2013 / Revised: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 21 October 2013 / Published: 24 October 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (242 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We surveyed 579 recreationists regarding management of the threatened, beach-dwelling Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis. We postulated that: (1) lower awareness of the species and higher ‘inconvenience’ of management would engender less favourable perceptions of conservation and management; and (2) that frequency of
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We surveyed 579 recreationists regarding management of the threatened, beach-dwelling Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis. We postulated that: (1) lower awareness of the species and higher ‘inconvenience’ of management would engender less favourable perceptions of conservation and management; and (2) that frequency of beach use and dog ownership may mediate perceptions and levels of awareness and inconvenience. Overall, inconvenience was low while awareness and support for plover conservation were high. Education and awareness strategies were considered less effective than regulations; exclusion and regulations were considered less desirable than on-ground protective measures. Awareness, frequency of beach use and dog walking did not influence the perceived effectiveness of different managements. More frequent beach users had greater awareness of the species and their plight but reported greater inconvenience associated with management. Respondents with high awareness rated the severity of human-related threats higher; low awareness was associated with more inconvenience associated with on-ground protection, and exclusion and regulations. Dog walkers reported more inconvenience associated with exclusions and regulations than non-dog walkers. Dog walkers who used the beach infrequently rated threats significantly higher than frequent beach users. Conservation and education strategies could usefully be tailored to beach users’ level of use and pet ownership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Wildlife Management)
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Open AccessArticle Do Formal Inspections Ensure that British Zoos Meet and Improve on Minimum Animal Welfare Standards?
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1058-1072; doi:10.3390/ani3041058
Received: 26 August 2013 / Revised: 31 October 2013 / Accepted: 1 November 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
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Abstract
We analysed two consecutive inspection reports for each of 136 British zoos made by government-appointed inspectors between 2005 and 2011 to assess how well British zoos were complying with minimum animal welfare standards; median interval between inspections was 1,107 days. There was no
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We analysed two consecutive inspection reports for each of 136 British zoos made by government-appointed inspectors between 2005 and 2011 to assess how well British zoos were complying with minimum animal welfare standards; median interval between inspections was 1,107 days. There was no conclusive evidence for overall improvements in the levels of compliance by British zoos. Having the same zoo inspector at both inspections affected the outcome of an inspection; animal welfare criteria were more likely to be assessed as unchanged if the same inspector was present on both inspections. This, and erratic decisions as to whether a criterion applied to a particular zoo, suggest inconsistency in assessments between inspectors. Zoos that were members of a professional association (BIAZA) did not differ significantly from non-members in the overall number of criteria assessed as substandard at the second inspection but were more likely to meet the standards on both inspections and less likely to have criteria remaining substandard. Lack of consistency between inspectors, and the high proportion of zoos failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards nearly thirty years after the Zoo Licensing Act came into force, suggest that the current system of licensing and inspection is not meeting key objectives and requires revision. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Policing Farm Animal Welfare in Federated Nations: The Problem of Dual Federalism in Canada and the USA
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1086-1122; doi:10.3390/ani3041086
Received: 30 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 26 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
PDF Full-text (168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent European animal welfare statutes, human actions injurious to animals are new “offences” articulated as an injury to societal norms in addition to property damage. A crime is foremost a violation of a community moral standard. Violating a societal norm puts society
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In recent European animal welfare statutes, human actions injurious to animals are new “offences” articulated as an injury to societal norms in addition to property damage. A crime is foremost a violation of a community moral standard. Violating a societal norm puts society out of balance and justice is served when that balance is returned. Criminal law normally requires the presence of mens rea, or evil intent, a particular state of mind; however, dereliction of duties towards animals (or children) is usually described as being of varying levels of negligence but, rarely can be so egregious that it constitutes criminal societal injury. In instrumental justice, the “public goods” delivered by criminal law are commonly classified as retribution, incapacitation and general deterrence. Prevention is a small, if present, outcome of criminal justice. Quazi-criminal law intends to establish certain expected (moral) standards of human behavior where by statute, the obligations of one party to another are clearly articulated as strict liability. Although largely moral in nature, this class of laws focuses on achieving compliance, thereby resulting in prevention. For example, protecting the environment from degradation is a benefit to society; punishing non-compliance, as is the application of criminal law, will not prevent the injury. This paper will provide evidence that the integrated meat complex of Canada and the USA is not in a good position to make changes to implement a credible farm animal protection system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1123-1141; doi:10.3390/ani3041123
Received: 29 October 2013 / Revised: 26 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe
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In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe consequences for the animal’s health, performance, and welfare. This study assessed measures of blood celluar immunity with special emphasis on T cells in pregnant German Landrace sows either housed in individual crates or in a social group. Blood samples were taken at four samplings pre partum to evaluate numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine-producing T cells. Plasma cortisol concentrations were evaluated as an indicator of stress. We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8+ gd-T cells. Individually housed sows showed higher cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01), whereas lymphocyte functionality did not differ between sows of both housing systems. Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed. We favor the hypothesis that differences in the stressfulness of the environment contributed to the effects, with crate-housing being a more stressful environment—at least under conditions of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Wildlife Warning Signs: Public Assessment of Components, Placement and Designs to Optimise Driver Response
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1142-1161; doi:10.3390/ani3041142
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 17 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Wildlife warning signs are the most commonly used and widespread form of road impact mitigation, aimed at reducing the incidence of wildlife–vehicle collisions. Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour. Improving the
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Wildlife warning signs are the most commonly used and widespread form of road impact mitigation, aimed at reducing the incidence of wildlife–vehicle collisions. Evidence of the effectiveness of currently used signs is rare and often indicates minimal change in driver behaviour. Improving the design of these signs to increase the likelihood of appropriate driver response has the potential to reduce the incidence of wildlife–vehicle collisions. This study aimed to examine and assess the opinions of drivers on wildlife warning sign designs through a public opinion survey. Three currently used sign designs and five alternative sign designs were compared in the survey. A total of 134 drivers were surveyed. The presence of temporal specifications and an updated count of road-killed animals on wildlife warning signs were assessed, as well as the position of the sign. Drivers’ responses to the eight signs were scaled separately at three speed limits and participants indicated the sign to which they were most likely to respond. Three signs consistently ranked high. The messages conveyed by these signs and their prominent features were explored. Animal-activated and vehicle speed-activated signs were ranked very highly by participants. Extensive field trials of various sign designs are needed to further this research into optimizing wildlife warning sign designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Wildlife Management)
Open AccessArticle Practical Physical and Behavioral Measures to Assess the Socialization Spectrum of Cats in a Shelter-Like Setting during a Three Day Period
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1162-1193; doi:10.3390/ani3041162
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Animal welfare organizations routinely accept large numbers of cats with unknown histories, and whose backgrounds vary from well-socialized pets to cats that have had little or no contact with humans. Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly
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Animal welfare organizations routinely accept large numbers of cats with unknown histories, and whose backgrounds vary from well-socialized pets to cats that have had little or no contact with humans. Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly stressful environment where cats are often too frightened to show typical behaviors. A variety of structured behavioral assessments were conducted in a shelter-like environment, from intake through a three day holding period, on cats from the full range of socialization as reported by their caregivers. Our results show that certain behaviors such as rubbing, playing, chirping, having the tail up or being at the front of the cage were found to be unique to More Socialized cats. While not all more socialized cats showed these behaviors, cats that did were socialized. Assessing the cats throughout the three day period was beneficial in eliciting key behaviors from shyer and more frightened cats. These results will be used in future work to develop an assessment tool to identify the socialization status of cats as a standardized guide for transparent and reliable disposition decisions and higher live release rates for cats in animal shelters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Reliability and Validity of a Survey of Cat Caregivers on Their Cats’ Socialization Level in the Cat’s Normal Environment
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1194-1214; doi:10.3390/ani3041194
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stray cats routinely enter animal welfare organizations each year and shelters are challenged with determining the level of human socialization these cats may possess as quickly as possible. However, there is currently no standard process to guide this determination. This study describes the
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Stray cats routinely enter animal welfare organizations each year and shelters are challenged with determining the level of human socialization these cats may possess as quickly as possible. However, there is currently no standard process to guide this determination. This study describes the development and validation of a caregiver survey designed to be filled out by a cat’s caregiver so it accurately describes a cat’s personality, background, and full range of behavior with people when in its normal environment. The results from this survey provided the basis for a socialization score that ranged from unsocialized to well socialized with people. The quality of the survey was evaluated based on inter-rater and test-retest reliability and internal consistency and estimates of construct and criterion validity. In general, our results showed moderate to high levels of inter-rater (median of 0.803, range 0.211–0.957) and test-retest agreement (median 0.92, range 0.211–0.999). Cronbach’s alpha showed high internal consistency (0.962). Estimates of validity did not highlight any major shortcomings. This survey will be used to develop and validate an effective assessment process that accurately differentiates cats by their socialization levels towards humans based on direct observation of cats’ behavior in an animal shelter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Physical and Behavioral Measures that Predict Cats’ Socialization in an Animal Shelter Environment during a Three Day Period
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1215-1228; doi:10.3390/ani3041215
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Animal welfare organizations typically take in cats with unknown levels of socialization towards humans, ranging from unsocialized cats well-socialized but lost pets. Agencies typically determine the socialization status and disposition options of cats within three days, when even a well-socialized pet may be
[...] Read more.
Animal welfare organizations typically take in cats with unknown levels of socialization towards humans, ranging from unsocialized cats well-socialized but lost pets. Agencies typically determine the socialization status and disposition options of cats within three days, when even a well-socialized pet may be too frightened of the unfamiliar surroundings to display its typical behavior. This is the third part of a three-phase project to develop and evaluate a reliable and valid tool to predict cats’ socialization levels. We recruited cats from the full spectrum of socialization and, using information from the cats’ caregivers regarding typical behavior toward familiar and unfamiliar people, assigned each cat to a Socialization Category. This information was compared to the cats’ behavior during three days of structured assessments conducted in a shelter-like setting. The results of logistic regression modeling generated two models using assessments from the mornings of the second and third day, focusing on predicting shyer or more aloof but socialized cats. Using the coefficients from each of these models, two sets of points were calculated which were useful in differentiating More and Less Socialized cats. In combination with key socialized behaviors, these points were able to fairly accurately identify More and Less Socialized cats. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Animal Health and Welfare Issues Facing Organic Production Systems
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1021-1035; doi:10.3390/ani3041021
Received: 28 August 2013 / Revised: 24 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 October 2013 / Published: 31 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (92 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The demand for organically-grown produce is increasing worldwide, with one of the drivers being an expectation among consumers that animals have been farmed to a high standard of animal welfare. This review evaluates whether this expectation is in fact being met, by describing
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The demand for organically-grown produce is increasing worldwide, with one of the drivers being an expectation among consumers that animals have been farmed to a high standard of animal welfare. This review evaluates whether this expectation is in fact being met, by describing the current level of science-based knowledge of animal health and welfare in organic systems. The primary welfare risk in organic production systems appears to be related to animal health. Organic farms use a combination of management practices, alternative and complementary remedies and convenional medicines to manage the health of their animals and in many cases these are at least as effective as management practices employed by non-organic producers. However, in contrast to non-organic systems, there is still a lack of scientifically evaluated, organically acceptable therapeutic treatments that organic animal producers can use when current management practices are not sufficient to maintain the health of their animals. The development of such treatments are necessary to assure consumers that organic animal-based food and fibre has not only been produced with minimal or no chemical input, but under high standards of animal welfare. Full article
Open AccessReview Why Do So Many Calves Die on Modern Dairy Farms and What Can We Do about Calf Welfare in the Future?
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1036-1057; doi:10.3390/ani3041036
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 28 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Poor bovine neonatal survival rates are an international animal welfare issue. The key modifiable risk factors associated with such loss are age at first calving in primiparae, calf breed, gender and gestation length and calving management. The primary causes of mortality in the
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Poor bovine neonatal survival rates are an international animal welfare issue. The key modifiable risk factors associated with such loss are age at first calving in primiparae, calf breed, gender and gestation length and calving management. The primary causes of mortality in the perinatal period are calving problems, in particular dystocia, defined as both difficult and abnormal calvings. Calf loss rates are rising on modern dairy farms in many countries internationally. High calf loss rates are often not recognised at national or at farm-level; recording needs to be improved. Improving bovine neonatal survival requires re-prioritization of this issue. Stakeholders need to be made cognisant of this prioritization. Actions to effect change need to occur at both national and farm-levels. National-level actions need firstly to address raising awareness of the issue. Farm-level actions need to focus on identifiable problem farms through targeted surveillance. Application of existing knowledge to alter modifiable risk factors is the key to improving calf welfare in the future. Research also has a role to play in filling knowledge gaps in particular about the ‘unexplained stillbirth’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessCase Report Challenges Encountered During the Veterinary Disaster Response: An Example from Chile
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1073-1085; doi:10.3390/ani3041073
Received: 25 September 2013 / Revised: 11 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 21 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (839 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Large-scale disasters have immeasurable effects on human and animal communities. Evaluating and reporting on the response successes and difficulties encountered serves to improve existing preparedness documents and provide support to those in the process of developing plans. Although the majority of disasters occur
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Large-scale disasters have immeasurable effects on human and animal communities. Evaluating and reporting on the response successes and difficulties encountered serves to improve existing preparedness documents and provide support to those in the process of developing plans. Although the majority of disasters occur in low and middle income nations, less than 1% of the disaster literature originates from these countries. This report describes a response to a disease outbreak in domestic dogs in Dichato, Chile following the 2010 earthquake/tsunami. With no national plan coordinating the companion animal response, there was a chaotic approach among animal welfare organizations towards rescue, diagnosis, treatment and record-keeping. Similar to the medical response following the 1985 earthquake near Santiago, we experienced problems within our own teams in maintenance of data integrity and protocol compliance. Loss of infrastructure added complications with transportation, communications and acquisition of supplies. Similar challenges likely occur in most disasters, but can be reduced through pro-active planning at national and local levels. There is sufficient information to support the human and animal welfare benefits of including companion animals in national planning, and lessons learned through this and other experiences can assist planners in the development of comprehensive and locally relevant contingency plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management Following Natural Disasters)

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