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Animals, Volume 7, Issue 9 (September 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Understanding Adolescents’ Categorisation of Animal Species
Animals 2017, 7(9), 65; doi:10.3390/ani7090065
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
Categorisations are a means of investigating cognitive maps. The present study, for the first time, investigates adolescents’ spontaneous categorisation of 34 animal species. Furthermore, explicit evaluations of 16 selected animals in terms of their perceived utility and likeability were analysed. 105 British adolescents,
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Categorisations are a means of investigating cognitive maps. The present study, for the first time, investigates adolescents’ spontaneous categorisation of 34 animal species. Furthermore, explicit evaluations of 16 selected animals in terms of their perceived utility and likeability were analysed. 105 British adolescents, 54% female, mean age 14.5 (SD = 1.6) participated in the study. Results of multidimensional scaling (MDS) techniques indicate 3-dimensional data representation regardless of gender or age. Property fittings show that affect and perceived utility of animals explain two of the MDS dimensions, and hence partly explain adolescents’ categorisation. Additionally, hierarchical cluster analyses show a differentiation between farm animals, birds, pet animals, and wild animals possibly explaining MDS dimension 3. The results suggest that utility perceptions predominantly underlie adolescents’ categorisations and become even more dominant in older adolescents, which potentially has an influence on attitudes to animals with implications for animal welfare, conservation, and education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Animal Detection of Precursor Earthquake Sounds
Animals 2017, 7(9), 66; doi:10.3390/ani7090066
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
We use recent research to provide an explanation of how animals might detect earthquakes before they occur. While the intrinsic value of such warnings is immense, we show that the complexity of the process may result in inconsistent responses of animals to the
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We use recent research to provide an explanation of how animals might detect earthquakes before they occur. While the intrinsic value of such warnings is immense, we show that the complexity of the process may result in inconsistent responses of animals to the possible precursor signal. Using the results of our research, we describe a logical but complex sequence of geophysical events triggered by precursor earthquake crustal movements that ultimately result in a sound signal detectable by animals. The sound heard by animals occurs only when metal or other surfaces (glass) respond to vibrations produced by electric currents induced by distortions of the earth’s electric fields caused by the crustal movements. A combination of existing measurement systems combined with more careful monitoring of animal response could nevertheless be of value, particularly in remote locations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Behavior and Natural Disasters)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics and Outcomes of Dogs Admitted into Queensland RSPCA Shelters
Animals 2017, 7(9), 67; doi:10.3390/ani7090067
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
Over 200,000 stray and surrendered dogs are admitted to shelters and municipal facilities in Australia each year, and approximately 20% are euthanized. Contemporary, comprehensive data on the characteristics and outcomes of dogs entering shelters are required to reduce shelter admissions and euthanasia. However,
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Over 200,000 stray and surrendered dogs are admitted to shelters and municipal facilities in Australia each year, and approximately 20% are euthanized. Contemporary, comprehensive data on the characteristics and outcomes of dogs entering shelters are required to reduce shelter admissions and euthanasia. However, there are currently limited up-to-date data published on dog admission into shelters. A retrospective single cohort study was conducted to describe the characteristics and outcomes of the dog population entering Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Queensland (RSPCA-QLD) shelters in 2014 (n = 11,967). The majority of dog admissions were strays from the public (24%) or from municipal councils (34%). Just over a quarter of admissions were puppies, 18% of adults (>6 months) were desexed, and the majority of admissions were crossbred dogs (92%). The majority of owner surrenders (86%) were due to human-related reasons. Most dogs were reclaimed (32%) or adopted (43%) and aggression was the most common reason for euthanasia of adult dogs (45%). Low-cost or free desexing and identification programs targeted to areas and breeds contributing to high intake, and increased support services for owners at risk of surrendering their dog, should be trialed to determine their cost effectiveness in reducing shelter admissions and euthanasia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Open AccessArticle The Use of a Virtual Online Debating Platform to Facilitate Student Discussion of Potentially Polarising Topics
Animals 2017, 7(9), 68; doi:10.3390/ani7090068
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 2 September 2017
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Abstract
The merits of students exchanging views through the so-called human continuum exercise (HCE) are well established. The current article describes the creation of the virtual human continuum (VHC), an online platform that facilitates the same teaching exercise. It also reports feedback on the
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The merits of students exchanging views through the so-called human continuum exercise (HCE) are well established. The current article describes the creation of the virtual human continuum (VHC), an online platform that facilitates the same teaching exercise. It also reports feedback on the VHC from veterinary science students (n = 38). First-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students at the University of Sydney, Australia, trialed the platform and provided feedback. Most students agreed or strongly agreed that the VHC offered: a non-threatening environment for discussing emotive and challenging issues; and an opportunity to see how other people form ideas. It also made them think about how to express their ideas and make arguments; and left them feeling more comfortable about expressing their views using it than they would discussing ideas face-to-face (98%, 84%, 79% and 76%, respectively). All respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the VHC encouraged them to consider other opinions. These data suggest that the transition of the HCE to an online platform facilitates dialogue on difficult ethical issues in a supportive environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Survey of Veterinarians Using a Novel Physical Compression Squeeze Procedure in the Management of Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome in Foals
Animals 2017, 7(9), 69; doi:10.3390/ani7090069
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 27 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 September 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
Horses are a precocious species that must accomplish several milestones that are critical to survival in the immediate post-birth period for their survival. One essential milestone is the successful transition from the intrauterine unconsciousness to an extrauterine state of consciousness or awareness. This
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Horses are a precocious species that must accomplish several milestones that are critical to survival in the immediate post-birth period for their survival. One essential milestone is the successful transition from the intrauterine unconsciousness to an extrauterine state of consciousness or awareness. This transition involves a complex withdrawal of consciousness inhibitors and an increase in neuroactivating factors that support awareness. This process involves neuroactive hormones as well as inputs related to factors such as cold, visual, olfactory, and auditory stimuli. One factor not previously considered in this birth transition is a yet unreported direct neural reflex response to labor-induced physical compression of the fetus in the birth canal (squeezing). Neonatal maladjustment syndrome (NMS) is a disorder of the newborn foal characterized by altered behavior, low affinity for the mare, poor awareness of the environment, failure to bond to the mother, abnormal sucking, and other neurologically-based abnormalities. This syndrome has been associated with altered events during birth, and was believed to be caused exclusively by hypoxia and ischemia. However, recent findings revealed an association of the NMS syndrome with the persistence of high concentrations of in utero neuromodulating hormones (neurosteroids) in the postnatal period. Anecdotal evidence demonstrated that a novel physical compression (squeeze) method that applies 20 min of sustained pressure to the thorax of some neonatal foals with this syndrome might rapidly hasten recovery. This survey provides information about outcomes and time frames to recovery comparing neonatal foals that were given this squeeze treatment to foals treated with routine medical therapy alone. Results revealed that the squeeze procedure, when applied for 20 min, resulted in a faster full recovery of some foals diagnosed with NMS. The adjunctive use of a non-invasive squeeze method may improve animal welfare by hastening recovery and foal–mare interactions that minimize health problems. This would also avoid or reduce costs arising from hospitalization associated with veterinary and nursing care that sometimes leads owners to elect for euthanasia. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Penile Injuries in Immunocastrated and Entire Male Pigs of One Fattening Farm
Animals 2017, 7(9), 71; doi:10.3390/ani7090071
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Penile injuries in boars have been discussed as a relevant welfare problem in pork production with entire males (EM). The incidence of penile injuries with immunocastrated boars has not been described so far. Thus, it was the aim of this study to systematically
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Penile injuries in boars have been discussed as a relevant welfare problem in pork production with entire males (EM). The incidence of penile injuries with immunocastrated boars has not been described so far. Thus, it was the aim of this study to systematically compare frequency and severity of penile injuries in EM and IC. Incidence and size of penile injuries (wounds, scars, hematomas) were evaluated in 192 IC and 215 EM from one farm after slaughter (120 kg live weight; four batches (BA) in at least weekly intervals over five weeks). 75.8% EM and 48.4% IC showed injuries at the pars libra of the penis. Scars were observed in 71.2% EM and 44.8% IC. Scars/animal were significantly influenced by treatment (IC vs. EM), B and treatment x B and increased with age in EM (BA1: 2.61 ± 3.05; BA4: 3.59 ± 3.47), but not in IC (BA1: 2.00 ± 3.02; BA4: 1.22 ± 1.91). Wounds were obvious in 17.2% EM and 8.3% IC. Wounds/animal were only influenced significantly by treatment and were lower in IC than in EM. Thus, it is concluded that immunocastration reduces the frequency and severity of penile injuries in IC when compared to EM of same age and weight. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Tech-Savvy Beef Cattle? How Heifers Respond to Moving Virtual Fence Lines
Animals 2017, 7(9), 72; doi:10.3390/ani7090072
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Global Positioning System (GPS)-based virtual fences offer the potential to improve the management of grazing animals. Prototype collar devices utilising patented virtual fencing algorithms were placed on six Angus heifers in a 6.15 hectare paddock. After a “no fence” period, sequential, shifting virtual
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Global Positioning System (GPS)-based virtual fences offer the potential to improve the management of grazing animals. Prototype collar devices utilising patented virtual fencing algorithms were placed on six Angus heifers in a 6.15 hectare paddock. After a “no fence” period, sequential, shifting virtual fences restricted the animals to 40%, 60%, and 80% of the paddock area widthways and 50% lengthways across 22 days. Audio cues signaled the virtual boundary, and were paired with electrical stimuli if the animals continued forward into the boundary. Within approximately 48 h, the cattle learned the 40% fence and were henceforth restricted to the subsequent inclusion zones a minimum of 96.70% (±standard error 0.01%) of the time. Over time, the animals increasingly stayed within the inclusion zones using audio cues alone, and on average, approached the new fence within 4.25 h. The animals were thus attentive to the audio cue, not the fence location. The time spent standing and lying and the number of steps were similar between inclusion zones (all p ≥ 0.42). More lying bouts occurred at the 80% and lengthways inclusion zones relative to “no fence” (p = 0.04). Further research should test different cattle groups in variable paddock settings and measure physiological welfare responses to the virtual fencing stimuli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: Why Harm–Benefit Analysis and Its Emphasis on Practical Benefit Jeopardizes the Credibility of Research
Animals 2017, 7(9), 70; doi:10.3390/ani7090070
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract
It is our concern that European Union Directive 2010/63/EU with its current project evaluation of animal research in the form of a harm–benefit analysis may lead to an erosion of the credibility of research. The HBA assesses whether the inflicted harm on animals
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It is our concern that European Union Directive 2010/63/EU with its current project evaluation of animal research in the form of a harm–benefit analysis may lead to an erosion of the credibility of research. The HBA assesses whether the inflicted harm on animals is outweighed by potential prospective benefits. Recent literature on prospective benefit analysis prioritizes “societal benefits” that have a foreseeable, positive impact on humans, animals, or the environment over benefit in the form of knowledge. In this study, we will argue that whether practical benefits are realized is (a) impossible to predict and (b) exceeds the scope and responsibility of researchers. Furthermore, we believe that the emphasis on practical benefits has the drawback of driving researchers into speculation on the societal benefit of their research and, therefore, into promising too much, thereby leading to a loss of trust and credibility. Thus, the concepts of benefit and benefit assessment in the HBA require a re-evaluation in a spirit that embraces the value of knowledge in our society. The generation of scientific knowledge has been utilised to great benefit for humans, animals, and the environment. The HBA, as it currently stands, tends to turn this idea upside down and implies that research is of value only if the resulting findings bring about immediate societal benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Ethics)
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