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Animals, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Relationship between Deck Level, Body Surface Temperature and Carcass Damages in Italian Heavy Pigs after Short Journeys at Different Unloading Environmental Conditions
Animals 2017, 7(2), 10; doi:10.3390/ani7020010
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
In order to evaluate the relationships between deck level, body surface temperature and carcass damages after a short journey (30 min), 10 deliveries of Italian heavy pigs, including a total of 1400 animals from one farm, were examined. Within 5 min after the
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In order to evaluate the relationships between deck level, body surface temperature and carcass damages after a short journey (30 min), 10 deliveries of Italian heavy pigs, including a total of 1400 animals from one farm, were examined. Within 5 min after the arrival at the abattoir, the vehicles were unloaded. Environmental temperature and relative humidity were recorded and a Temperature Humidity Index (THI) was calculated. After unloading, maximum temperatures of dorsal and ocular regions were measured by a thermal camera on groups of pigs from each of the unloaded decks. After dehairing, quarters and whole carcasses were evaluated subjectively by a trained operator for skin damage using a four-point scale. On the basis of THI at unloading, deliveries were grouped into three classes. Data of body surface temperature and skin damage score were analysed in a model including THI class, deck level and their interaction. Regardless of pig location in the truck, the maximum temperature of the dorsal and ocular regions increased with increasing THI class. Within each THI class, the highest and lowest body surface temperatures were found in pigs located on the middle and upper decks, respectively. Only THI class was found to affect the skin damage score (p < 0.05), which increased on quarters and whole carcasses with increasing THI class. The results of this study on short-distance transport of Italian heavy pigs highlighted the need to control and ameliorate the environmental conditions in the trucks, even at relatively low temperature and THI, in order to improve welfare and reduce loss of carcass value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Transport 2016)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Stakeholders’ Roles within the Livestock Industry on Their Attitudes to Livestock Welfare in Southeast and East Asia
Animals 2017, 7(2), 6; doi:10.3390/ani7020006
Received: 4 October 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
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Abstract
Stakeholders in the livestock industry are in a position to make critical choices that directly impact on animal welfare during slaughter and transport. Understanding the attitudes of stakeholders in livestock-importing countries, including factors that motivate the stakeholders to improve animal welfare, can lead
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Stakeholders in the livestock industry are in a position to make critical choices that directly impact on animal welfare during slaughter and transport. Understanding the attitudes of stakeholders in livestock-importing countries, including factors that motivate the stakeholders to improve animal welfare, can lead to improved trade relations with exporting developed countries and improved animal welfare initiatives in the importing countries. Improving stakeholder attitudes to livestock welfare may help to facilitate the better welfare that is increasingly demanded by the public for livestock. Knowledge of the existing attitudes towards the welfare of livestock during transport and slaughter provides a starting point that may help to target efforts. This study aimed to investigate the animal welfare attitudes of livestock stakeholders (farmers, team leaders, veterinarians, business owners, business managers, and those working directly with animals) in selected countries in E and SE Asia (China, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Malaysia). The factors that motivated them to improve animal welfare (in particular their religion, knowledge levels, monetary gain, the availability of tools and resources, more pressing community issues, and the approval of their supervisor and peers) were assessed for their relationships to stakeholder role and ranked according to their importance. Stakeholder roles influenced attitudes to animal welfare during livestock transport and slaughter. Farmers were more motivated by their peers compared to other stakeholders. Business owners reported higher levels of motivation from monetary gain, while business managers were mainly motivated by what was prescribed by the company for which they worked. Veterinarians reported the highest levels of perceived approval for improving animal welfare, and all stakeholder groups were least likely to be encouraged to change by a ‘western’ international organization. This study demonstrates the differences in attitudes of the major livestock stakeholders towards their animals’ welfare during transport and slaughter, which advocacy organisations can use to tailor strategies more effectively to improve animal welfare. The results suggest that animal welfare initiatives are more likely to engage their target audience when tailored to specific stakeholder groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare 2016)
Open AccessArticle Season, Transport Duration and Trailer Compartment Effects on Blood Stress Indicators in Pigs: Relationship to Environmental, Behavioral and Other Physiological Factors, and Pork Quality Traits
Animals 2017, 7(2), 8; doi:10.3390/ani7020008
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 1 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the season, travel duration and trailer compartment location on blood creatine-kinase (CK), lactate and cortisol concentrations in 384 pigs and assess their relationships with trailer temperature, heart rate and gastrointestinal tract temperature
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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the season, travel duration and trailer compartment location on blood creatine-kinase (CK), lactate and cortisol concentrations in 384 pigs and assess their relationships with trailer temperature, heart rate and gastrointestinal tract temperature (GTT), behavior, carcass damage scores and meat quality. Blood CK was greater in pigs transported in summer (p = 0.02), after 18 h transportation (p < 0.001) and in pigs located in C4, C5 and C10 (p = 0.002). In winter, the concentration of blood lactate was higher (p = 0.04) in pigs transported for 6 h in C5. Pigs located in C10 showed higher (p = 0.01) concentration of cortisol than those transported for 18h in C4 in summer. The highest correlations were between blood cortisol and GTT (r = 0.53; p < 0.001), and between blood CK and GTT (r = 0.41; p < 0.001), truck temperature (r = 0.42; p < 0.001), and pHu in the longissimus muscle (r = 0.41; p < 0.001). In conclusion, although increased blood cortisol and CK levels appear to indicate a physical stress condition in transported pigs, the weak to moderate correlations with environmental and other animal welfare indicators suggest that blood stress parameters can only be used as a complementary measurement in the assessment of the pigs’ response to transport stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Transport 2016)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Congenital Malformations in River Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Animals 2017, 7(2), 9; doi:10.3390/ani7020009
Received: 18 October 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
The world buffalo population is about 168 million, and it is still growing, in India, China, Brazil, and Italy. In these countries, buffalo genetic breeding programs have been performed for many decades. The occurrence of congenital malformations has caused a slowing of the
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The world buffalo population is about 168 million, and it is still growing, in India, China, Brazil, and Italy. In these countries, buffalo genetic breeding programs have been performed for many decades. The occurrence of congenital malformations has caused a slowing of the genetic progress and economic loss for the breeders, due to the death of animals, or damage to their reproductive ability or failing of milk production. Moreover, they cause animal welfare reduction because they can imply foetal dystocia and because the affected animals have a reduced fitness with little chances of survival. This review depicts, in the river buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) world population, the present status of the congenital malformations, due to genetic causes, to identify their frequency and distribution in order to develop genetic breeding plans able to improve the productive and reproductive performance, and avoid the spreading of detrimental gene variants. Congenital malformations most frequently reported in literature or signaled by breeders to the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production of the University Federico II (Naples, Italy) in river buffalo are: musculoskeletal defects (transverse hemimelia, arthrogryposis, umbilical hernia) and disorders of sexual development. In conclusion this review put in evidence that river buffalo have a great variety of malformations due to genetic causes, and TH and omphalocele are the most frequent and that several cases are still not reported, leading to an underestimation of the real weight of genetic diseases in this species. Full article
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Open AccessReview Current Perspectives on Therapy Dog Welfare in Animal-Assisted Interventions
Animals 2017, 7(2), 7; doi:10.3390/ani7020007
Received: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
Research into the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) has primarily addressed human health outcomes. In contrast, only few publications deal with the therapy dog experience of AAIs. This paper provides an overview on potential welfare threats that therapy dogs may encounter and presents
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Research into the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) has primarily addressed human health outcomes. In contrast, only few publications deal with the therapy dog experience of AAIs. This paper provides an overview on potential welfare threats that therapy dogs may encounter and presents the results of a review of available studies on welfare indicators for therapy dogs during AAIs. Previous investigations used physiological and behavioral welfare indicators and dog handler surveys to identify work-related stress. Research outcomes are discussed in the light of strengths and weaknesses of the methods used. Study results suggest that frequency and duration of AAI sessions, novelty of the environment, controllability, age and familiarity of recipients modulate animal welfare indicators. However, this review reveals that currently, clear conclusions on how the well-being of dogs is influenced by the performance in AAIs are lacking due to the heterogeneity of programs, recipient and session characteristics, small dog sample sizes and methodological limitations. This paper further aimed to identify unresolved difficulties in previous research to pave the way for future investigations supporting the applicability of scientific findings in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Therapy)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Religion and Animal Welfare—An Islamic Perspective
Animals 2017, 7(2), 11; doi:10.3390/ani7020011
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 14 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding the lives of its followers through sets of rules governing the personal, social, and public aspects through the verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths, the compilation of the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), the two main
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Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding the lives of its followers through sets of rules governing the personal, social, and public aspects through the verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths, the compilation of the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), the two main documents that serve as guidelines. Islam is explicit with regard to using animals for human purposes and there is a rich tradition of the Prophet Mohammad’s (pbuh) concern for animals to be found in the Hadith and Sunna. Islam has also laid down rules for humane slaughter. In many countries animals are killed without pre-stunning. Regardless of pre-stunning, such meat should not be treated as halāl or at least be considered as Makrooh (detestable or abominable), because the animals have been beaten or treated without compassion during production, handling, transport, and slaughter. Many Muslims and Islamic religious leaders are not aware of the cruelty that is routinely inflicted on animals during transport, pre-slaughter, and slaughter in many Islamic countries. There is an urgent need to sensitize all Muslims to the teachings of animal welfare in the Qur’an and the Hadiths. A campaign is needed to apprise religious leaders of the current cruelty that occurs during transport and slaughter. Full article

Other

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Open AccessOpinion Mutilating Procedures, Management Practices, and Housing Conditions That May Affect the Welfare of Farm Animals: Implications for Welfare Research
Animals 2017, 7(2), 12; doi:10.3390/ani7020012
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as injuries from horns or feather pecking. These procedures
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A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as injuries from horns or feather pecking. These procedures and other practices, such as early maternal separation, overcrowding, and barren housing conditions, raise concerns about animal welfare. Efforts to ensure or improve animal welfare involve adapting the animal to its environment, i.e., by selective breeding (e.g., by selecting “robust” animals) adapting the environment to the animal (e.g., by developing social housing systems in which aggressive encounters are reduced to a minimum), or both. We propose adapting the environment to the animals by improving management practices and housing conditions, and by abandoning mutilating procedures. This approach requires the active involvement of all stakeholders: veterinarians and animal scientists, the industrial farming sector, the food processing and supply chain, and consumers of animal-derived products. Although scientific evidence about the welfare effects of current practices in farming such as mutilating procedures, management practices, and housing conditions is steadily growing, the gain in knowledge needs a boost through more scientific research. Considering the huge number of animals whose welfare is affected, all possible effort must be made to improve their welfare as quickly as possible in order to ban welfare-compromising procedures and practices as soon as possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Farm Animal Welfare 2016)
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