ResearchPad - animal-management https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Identification of potential vulnerable points and paths of contamination in the Dutch broiler meat trade network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14703 The poultry meat supply chain is complex and therefore vulnerable to many potential contaminations that may occur. To ensure a safe product for the consumer, an efficient traceability system is required that enables a quick and efficient identification of the potential sources of contamination and proper implementation of mitigation actions. In this study, we explored the use of graph theory to construct a food supply chain network for the broiler meat supply chain in the Netherlands and tested it as a traceability system. To build the graph, we first identified the main actors in the supply chain such as broiler breeder farms, broiler farms, slaughterhouses, processors, and retailers. The capacity data of each supply chain actor, represented by its production or trade volumes, were gathered from various sources. The trade relationships between the supply chain actors were collected and the missing relationships were estimated using the gravity model. Once the network was modeled, we computed degree centrality and betweenness centrality to identify critical nodes in the network. In addition, we computed trade density to get insight into the complexity of sub-networks. We identified the critical nodes at each stage of the Dutch broiler meat supply chain and verified our results with a domain expert of the Dutch poultry industry and literature. The results showed that processors with own slaughtering facility were the most critical points in the broiler meat supply chain.

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<![CDATA[Implementation of a practical and effective pilot intervention against transmission of Taenia solium by pigs in the Banke district of Nepal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95d7d5eed0c484734daa

Taenia solium is a zoonotic cestode parasite which causes human neurocysticercosis. Pigs transmit the parasite by acting as the intermediate host. An intervention was implemented to control transmission of T. solium by pigs in Dalit communities of Banke District, Nepal. Every 3 months, pigs were vaccinated with the TSOL18 recombinant vaccine (Cysvax, IIL, India)) and, at the same time, given an oral treatment with 30mg/kg oxfendazole (Paranthic 10% MCI, Morocco). The prevalence of porcine cysticercosis was determined in both an intervention area as well as a similar no intervention control area, among randomly selected, slaughter-age pigs. Post mortem assessments were undertaken both at the start and at the end of the intervention. Participants conducting the post mortem assessments were blinded as to the source of the animals being assessed. At the start of the intervention the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis was 23.6% and 34.5% in the control and intervention areas, respectively. Following the intervention, the prevalence of cysticercosis in pigs from the control area was 16.7% (no significant change), whereas no infection was detected after complete slicing of all muscle tissue and brain in animals from the intervention area (P = 0.004). These findings are discussed in relation to the feasibility and sustainability of T. solium control. The 3-monthly vaccination and drug treatment intervention in pigs used here is suggested as an effective and practical method for reducing T. solium transmission by pigs. The results suggest that applying the intervention over a period of years may ultimately reduce the number of tapeworm carriers and thereby the incidence of NCC.

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<![CDATA[AutonoMouse: High throughput operant conditioning reveals progressive impairment with graded olfactory bulb lesions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897775d5eed0c4847d2d5d

Operant conditioning is a crucial tool in neuroscience research for probing brain function. While molecular, anatomical and even physiological techniques have seen radical increases in throughput, efficiency, and reproducibility in recent years, behavioural tools have somewhat lagged behind. Here we present a fully automated, high-throughput system for self-initiated conditioning of up to 25 group-housed, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged mice over periods of several months and >106 trials. We validate this “AutonoMouse” system in a series of olfactory behavioural tasks and show that acquired data is comparable to previous semi-manual approaches. Furthermore, we use AutonoMouse to systematically probe the impact of graded olfactory bulb lesions on olfactory behaviour, demonstrating that while odour discrimination in general is robust to even most extensive disruptions, small olfactory bulb lesions already impair odour detection. Discrimination learning of similar mixtures as well as learning speed are in turn reliably impacted by medium lesion sizes. The modular nature and open-source design of AutonoMouse should allow for similar robust and systematic assessments across neuroscience research areas.

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<![CDATA[Effects of increased space allowance on animal welfare, meat and ham quality of heavy pigs slaughtered at 160Kg]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706779d5eed0c4847c70a2

Sixty barrows (Body Weight–BW- range: 23.9–160 kg) were allotted to two experimental groups (6 pens of 5 pigs each): the control group was kept at a space allowance of 1m2/head; the second group was kept at 1.3m2/head. Behaviour, growth parameters, carcass and meat quality were assessed, as well as fat and cured ham quality. Results showed that pigs raised at 1.3m2/head spent more time laying (particularly in lateral recumbency, P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively) compared to pigs kept at lower space allowance. They also reduced the aimless exploration of the slatted pen floor (P<0.001) and increased overall expression of other, mainly active, behaviors (e.g., drinking, walking and standing, P<0.01). Pigs raised at 1.3m2/head showed higher final BW (P = 0.02), more favourable Average Daily Gain (ADG) and gain-to-Feed ratio (G:F) both during the last period of the trial (P<0.05 for both parameters) and over the entire trial (P = 0.01 for both parameters). No significant difference was observed between groups for carcass traits and the main meat quality attributes. Subcutaneous fat from green hams had higher α-linolenic acid content (P<0.01) in the group reared at greater space allowance. Green hams from this group lost less weight at trimming (P<0.01) and the resulting cured hams received better sensory evaluations (P<0.05). No difference was observed in fatty acid composition and unsaturation levels of the subcutaneous fat from cured hams. Our data suggest that heavy pigs intended for Parma ham would benefit from the adoption of higher individual floor space allowances, both in terms of animal welfare (increased possibility to rest) and of productive parameters, without having any detrimental effect on the suitability of the thighs for dry-curing or on the quality of the final product.

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<![CDATA[Small-scale and backyard livestock owners needs assessment in the western United States]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14bdd5eed0c48467a78c

The number of small-scale and backyard livestock and poultry owners in urban and peri-urban areas has increased greatly over the last 10 years in the U.S. However, these animal owners may live in areas without access to livestock and/or poultry veterinary care. The purpose of this study was to identify potential veterinary service needs of these animal owners in the western US, assess their use of management and husbandry practices with regards to disease prevention, and assess their attitudes about animal health and food safety. A semi-structured survey was made available to small-scale and backyard livestock and poultry owners in Washington State, California, Colorado and Oregon. The survey instrument included questions about types of animals reared, uses of the animals, veterinary services and information-seeking behaviors of owners, attitudes on animal health and food safety, and management practices. Four hundred thirty-five individuals completed at least some portion of the survey. Most described themselves as living in rural areas (76%). Most (86%) owned chickens, 53% owned small ruminants, and 31% owned cattle. Many individuals owned more than one species and most had fewer than 20 animals of a given species. About 74% of respondents utilized their animals’ products for their own consumption but 48% sold animal products (primarily through internet sales (35%) or farmers’ markets (25%)). Overwhelmingly, respondents gained information about animal health (82%) and animal treatment procedures (71%) from the internet. Respondents reported their veterinarian’s practice type as companion animal (26%) or a mixed animal or food animal predominant (66%). Overall, respondents were very satisfied with the level of care (82%), but 43% had not sought animal health care in last 12 months. However, the veterinarian’s primary practice type and owner’s satisfaction with veterinary care were associated with their location (state), species owned, and urban or peri-urban setting. Livestock species type (cattle, small ruminants and swine), and use (personal or commercial) were associated with implementation of different biosecurity practices. The results of this survey highlight some of the needs of these animal owners for veterinary care and information which are location- and species-specific. Veterinary care for these small-scale and backyard animals is vital to the health and welfare of the animals as well as for identification of zoonoses and assurance of the food safety of animal products.

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<![CDATA[Does picture background matter? Peopleʼs evaluation of pigs in different farm settings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75c8d5eed0c4843d0185

Pictures of farm animals and their husbandry systems are frequently presented in the media and are mostly connected to discussions surrounding farm animal welfare. How such pictures are perceived by the broader public is not fully understood thus far. It is presumable that the animalsʼ expressions and body languages as well as their depicted environment or husbandry systems affect public perception. Therefore, the aim of this study is to test how the evaluation of a picture showing a farmed pig is influenced by portrayed attributes, as well as participants’ perceptions of pigs’ abilities in general, and if connection to agriculture has an influence. In an online survey, 1,019 German residents were shown four modified pictures of a pig in a pen. The pictures varied with regards to facial expression and body language of the pig (ʽhappyʼ versus ʽunhappyʼ pig) and the barn setting (straw versus slatted floor pen). Respondents were asked to evaluate both the pen and the welfare of the pig. Two Linear Mixed Models were calculated to analyze effects on pig and pen evaluation. For the pictures, the pen had the largest influence on both pig and pen evaluation, followed by the pigʼs appearance and participants’ beliefs in pigs’ mental and emotional abilities, as well as their connection to agriculture. The welfare of both the ʽhappyʼ and the ʽunhappyʼ pig was assessed to be higher in the straw setting compared to the slatted floor setting in our study, and even the ʽunhappy pigʼ on straw was perceived more positively than the ʽhappy pigʼ on slatted floor. The straw pen was evaluated as being better than the slatted floor pen on the pictures we presented but the pens also differed in level of dirt on the walls (more dirt in the slatted floor pen), which might have influenced the results. Nevertheless, the results suggest that enduring aspects of pictures such as the husbandry system influence perceptions more than a momentary body expression of the pig, at least in the settings tested herein.

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<![CDATA[How many to sample? Statistical guidelines for monitoring animal welfare outcomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b524fd5eed0c4842bc630

There is increasing scrutiny of the animal welfare impacts of all animal use activities, including agriculture, the keeping of companion animals, racing and entertainment, research and laboratory use, and wildlife management programs. A common objective of animal welfare monitoring is to quantify the frequency of adverse animal events (e.g., injuries or mortalities). The frequency of such events can be used to provide pass/fail grades for animal use activities relative to a defined threshold and to identify areas for improvement through research. A critical question in these situations is how many animals should be sampled? There are, however, few guidelines available for data collection or analysis, and consequently sample sizes can be highly variable. To address this question, we first evaluated the effect of sample size on precision and statistical power in reporting the frequency of adverse animal welfare outcomes. We next used these findings to assess the precision of published animal welfare investigations for a range of contentious animal use activities, including livestock transport, horse racing, and wildlife harvesting and capture. Finally, we evaluated the sample sizes required for comparing observed outcomes with specified standards through hypothesis testing. Our simulations revealed that the sample sizes required for reasonable levels of precision (i.e., proportional distance to the upper confidence interval limit (δ) of ≤ 0.50) are greater than those that have been commonly used for animal welfare assessments (i.e., >300). Larger sample sizes are required for adverse events with low frequency (i.e., <5%). For comparison with a required threshold standard, even larger samples sizes are required. We present guidelines, and an online calculator, for minimum sample sizes for use in future animal welfare assessments of animal management and research programs.

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<![CDATA[Kami-shoyo-san improves ASD-like behaviors caused by decreasing allopregnanolone biosynthesis in an SKF mouse model of autism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2dcd5eed0c48441ebe8

Dysfunctions in the GABAergic system are associated with the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the mechanisms by which GABAergic system dysfunctions induce the pathophysiology of ASD remain unclear. We previously demonstrated that a selective type I 5α-reductase inhibitor SKF105111 (SKF) induced ASD-like behaviors, such as impaired sociability-related performance and repetitive grooming behaviors, in male mice. Moreover, the effects of SKF were caused by a decrease in the endogenous levels of allopregnanolone (ALLO), a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor. In this study, we used SKF-treated male mice as a putative animal model of ASD and examined the effects of Kami-shoyo-san (KSS) as an experimental therapeutic strategy for ASD. KSS is a traditional Kampo formula consisting of 10 different crude drugs and has been used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms. KSS dose-dependently attenuated sociability deficits and suppressed an increase in grooming behaviors in SKF-treated mice without affecting ALLO content in the prefrontal cortex. The systemic administration of the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 reversed the ameliorative effects of KSS. On the other hand, the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride and GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline only attenuated the ameliorative effect of KSS on repetitive self-grooming behaviors. The present results indicate that KSS improves SKF-induced ASD-like behaviors by facilitating dopamine receptor-mediated mechanisms and partly by neurosteroid-independent GABAA receptor-mediated neurotransmission. Therefore, KSS is a potential candidate for the treatment of ASD.

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<![CDATA[A genome-wide scan for diversifying selection signatures in selected horse breeds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5289d5eed0c4842bcb02

The genetic differentiation of the current horse population was evolutionarily created by natural or artificial selection which shaped the genomes of individual breeds in several unique ways. The availability of high throughput genotyping methods created the opportunity to study this genetic variation on a genome-wide level allowing detection of genome regions divergently selected between separate breeds as well as among different horse types sharing similar phenotypic features. In this study, we used the population differentiation index (FST) that is generally used for measuring locus-specific allele frequencies variation between populations, to detect selection signatures among six horse breeds maintained in Poland. These breeds can be classified into three major categories, including light, draft and primitive horses, selected mainly in terms of type (utility), exterior, performance, size, coat color and appearance. The analysis of the most pronounced selection signals found in this study allowed us to detect several genomic regions and genes connected with processes potentially important for breed phenotypic differentiation and associated with energy homeostasis during physical effort, heart functioning, fertility, disease resistance and motor coordination. Our results also confirmed previously described association of loci on ECA3 (spanning LCORL and NCAPG genes) and ECA11 (spanning LASP1 gene) with the regulation of body size in our draft and primitive (small size) horses. The efficiency of the applied FST-based approach was also confirmed by the identification of a robust selection signal in the blue dun colored Polish Konik horses at the locus of TBX3 gene, which was previously shown to be responsible for dun coat color dilution in other horse breeds. FST-based method showed to be efficient in detection of diversifying selection signatures in the analyzed horse breeds. Especially pronounced signals were observed at the loci responsible for fixed breed-specific features. Several candidate genes under selection were proposed in this study for traits selected in separate breeds and horse types, however, further functional and comparative studies are needed to confirm and explain their effect on the observed genetic diversity of the horse breeds.

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<![CDATA[Health administrative data enrichment using cohort information: Comparative evaluation of methods by simulation and application to real data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2efd5eed0c48441edf1

Background

Studies using health administrative databases (HAD) may lead to biased results since information on potential confounders is often missing. Methods that integrate confounder data from cohort studies, such as multivariate imputation by chained equations (MICE) and two-stage calibration (TSC), aim to reduce confounding bias. We provide new insights into their behavior under different deviations from representativeness of the cohort.

Methods

We conducted an extensive simulation study to assess the performance of these two methods under different deviations from representativeness of the cohort. We illustrate these approaches by studying the association between benzodiazepine use and fractures in the elderly using the general sample of French health insurance beneficiaries (EGB) as main database and two French cohorts (Paquid and 3C) as validation samples.

Results

When the cohort was representative from the same population as the HAD, the two methods are unbiased. TSC was more efficient and faster but its variance could be slightly underestimated when confounders were non-Gaussian. If the cohort was a subsample of the HAD (internal validation) with the probability of the subject being included in the cohort depending on both exposure and outcome, MICE was unbiased while TSC was biased. The two methods appeared biased when the inclusion probability in the cohort depended on unobserved confounders.

Conclusion

When choosing the most appropriate method, epidemiologists should consider the origin of the cohort (internal or external validation) as well as the (anticipated or observed) selection biases of the validation sample.

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<![CDATA[Towards large scale automated cage monitoring – Diurnal rhythm and impact of interventions on in-cage activity of C57BL/6J mice recorded 24/7 with a non-disrupting capacitive-based technique]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e922d5eed0c48496f84a

Background and aims

Automated recording of laboratory animal’s home cage behavior is receiving increasing attention since such non-intruding surveillance will aid in the unbiased understanding of animal cage behavior potentially improving animal experimental reproducibility.

Material and methods

Here we investigate activity of group held female C57BL/6J mice (mus musculus) housed in standard Individually Ventilated Cages across three test-sites: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, Rome, Italy), The Jackson Laboratory (JAX, Bar Harbor, USA) and Karolinska Insititutet (KI, Stockholm, Sweden). Additionally, comparison of female and male C57BL/6J mice was done at KI. Activity was recorded using a capacitive-based sensor placed non-intrusively on the cage rack under the home cage collecting activity data every 250 msec, 24/7. The data collection was analyzed using non-parametric analysis of variance for longitudinal data comparing sites, weekdays and sex.

Results

The system detected an increase in activity preceding and peaking around lights-on followed by a decrease to a rest pattern. At lights off, activity increased substantially displaying a distinct temporal variation across this period. We also documented impact on mouse activity that standard animal handling procedures have, e.g. cage-changes, and show that such procedures are stressors impacting in-cage activity.

These key observations replicated across the three test-sites, however, it is also clear that, apparently minor local environmental differences generate significant behavioral variances between the sites and within sites across weeks. Comparison of gender revealed differences in activity in the response to cage-change lasting for days in male but not female mice; and apparently also impacting the response to other events such as lights-on in males. Females but not males showed a larger tendency for week-to-week variance in activity possibly reflecting estrous cycling.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate that home cage monitoring is scalable and run in real time, providing complementary information for animal welfare measures, experimental design and phenotype characterization.

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<![CDATA[An economic analysis of a contingency model utilising vaccination for the control of equine influenza in a non-endemic country]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536abad5eed0c484a47866

Background

Equine influenza (EI) is an infectious respiratory disease of horses that has never been reported in New Zealand (NZ). However, the 2007 EI outbreak in Australia, previously EI free, spurred the NZ government and stakeholders into evaluating alternative EI control strategies in order to economically justify any future decision to eradicate or manage EI. To build on the policy debate, this paper presents an epinomic (epidemiologic and economic) modelling approach to evaluate alternative control strategies. An epidemiologic model to determine how alternative EI control strategies influence the distribution of EI. Model results were then input into a cost-benefit analysis framework, to identify the return and feasibility of alternative EI eradication strategies in NZ.

Methods

The article explores nine alternative eradication scenarios and two baseline strategies. The alternative scenarios consisted of three vaccination strategies (suppressive, protective or targeted) starting at three time points to reflect the commercial breeding-cycle. These alternatives were compared to two breeding-cycle adjusted baselines: movement restriction in the breeding season (August to January) or non-breeding season (February to July). The economic loss parameters were incursion response, impact to the commercial racing industry (breeding, sales and racing), horse morbidity and mortality, and compensation to industry participants.

Results and conclusions

Results suggest that the economic viability of the EI eradication programme is dependent on when within the breeding-cycle the EI outbreak occurs. If an outbreak were to occur, the return on each dollar invested for protective or suppressive vaccination strategies would be between NZD$3.67 to NZD$4.89 and between NZD$3.08 to NZD$3.50 in the breeding and non-breeding seasons, respectively. Therefore, protective or suppressive vaccination strategies could be prioritised, regardless of season. As multiple industry stakeholders benefit from these strategies, the study will enable policy development and to better formulate a user-pays eradication programme.

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<![CDATA[Inappropriate usage of selected antimicrobials: Comparative residue proportions in rural and urban beef in Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7dcd5eed0c484386b13

Introduction

In most developing countries like Uganda, antimicrobials including β-lactams and tetracyclines are used indiscriminately in livestock. When livestock get sick and treatment is necessary, some producers and veterinarians use these drugs with minimal controls to prevent residues from occurring in the beef sent to markets. This study was done to determine the presence of drug residues above acceptable limits of two commonly used antimicrobials in Uganda’s rural and urban beef.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted of 134 cattle carcasses from eight different slaughter slabs over twelve weeks. This study entailed 81 samples of rural and 53 samples of urban origin. To enable detailed analysis these samples were categorized according to age (maturity), breed, and sex. For each of the 134 carcasses, three samples of liver, kidney and muscle were taken and homogeneously mixed into one sample, which was tested for β-lactam and tetracycline drug residues.

Results

The results were statistically significant for β-lactam levels (χ2 = 22.10, df = 10, p = 0.0146) with average concentration (μg/kg) of 2.93:29.3 (rural: urban), though not for tetracycline levels (χ2 = 3.594, df = 10, P = 0.9638) with average concentration (μg/kg) of 5.028:12.83 (rural: urban). Age (maturity) had significant effect at all values of antibiotic level (F(1, 68) = 5.06, p = 0.0278). Age effect was extremely significant (F(1, 68) = 15.51, p = 0.0002).

Conclusion

A significant difference existed in drug residue proportions of β-lactam and tetracycline antimicrobials among Uganda’s rural and urban beef. A significant difference also occured in drug residue proportions of these two commonly used antimicrobials related to age (maturity), but neither breed, nor sex, of Uganda’s rural and urban beef.

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<![CDATA[Consumer attitudes towards production diseases in intensive production systems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f816d5eed0c484387037

Many members of the public and important stakeholders operating at the upper end of the food chain, may be unfamiliar with how food is produced, including within modern animal production systems. The intensification of production is becoming increasingly common in modern farming. However, intensive systems are particularly susceptible to production diseases, with potentially negative consequences for farm animal welfare (FAW). Previous research has demonstrated that the public are concerned about FAW, yet there has been little research into attitudes towards production diseases, and their approval of interventions to reduce these. This research explores the public’s attitudes towards, and preferences for, FAW interventions in five European countries (Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK). An online survey was conducted for broilers (n = 789), layers (n = 790) and pigs (n = 751). Data were analysed by means of Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA, exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The results suggest that the public have concerns regarding intensive production systems, in relation to FAW, naturalness and the use of antibiotics. The most preferred interventions were the most “proactive” interventions, namely improved housing and hygiene measures. The least preferred interventions were medicine-based, which raised humane animal care and food safety concerns amongst respondents. The results highlighted the influence of the identified concerns, perceived risks and benefits on attitudes and subsequent behavioural intention, and the importance of supply chain stakeholders addressing these concerns in the subsequent communications with the public.

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<![CDATA[How effective are trained dogs at alerting their owners to changes in blood glycaemic levels?: Variations in performance of glycaemia alert dogs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c4fd5eed0c484bd17a7

Aims

Domestic dogs are trained to a wide variety of roles including an increasing number of medical assistance tasks. Glycaemia alert dogs are reported to greatly improve the quality of life of owners living with Type 1 diabetes. Research into their value is currently sparse, on small numbers of dogs and provides conflicting results. In this study we assess the reliability of a large number of trained glycaemic alert dogs at responding to hypo- and hyper-glycaemic (referred to as out-of-range, OOR) episodes, and explore factors associated with variations in their performance.

Methods

Routine owner records were used to assess the sensitivity and specificity of each of 27 dogs, trained by a single UK charity during almost 4000 out-of-range episodes. Sensitivity and positive predictive values are compared to demographic factors and instructors’ ratings of the dog, owner and partnership.

Results

Dogs varied in their performance, with median sensitivity to out-of-range episodes at 70% (25th percentile = 50, 75th percentile = 95). To hypoglycaemic episodes the median sensitivity was 83% (66–94%) while to hyperglyaemic episodes it was 67% (17–91%). The median positive predictive value (PPV) was 81% (68–94%), i.e. on average 81% of alerts occurred when glucose levels were out of target range. For four dogs, PPV was 100%. Individual characteristics of the dog, the partnership and the household were significantly associated with performance (e.g., whether the dog was previously a pet, when it was trained, whether its partner was an adult or child).

Conclusions

The large sample shows that the individual performance of dogs is variable, but overall their sensitivity and specificity to OOR episodes are better than previous studies suggest. Results show that optimal performance of glycaemic alert dogs depends not only on good initial and ongoing training, but also careful selection of dogs for the conditions in which they will be working.

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<![CDATA[Correlations between growth and wool quality traits of genetically divergent Australian lambs in response to canola or flaxseed oil supplementation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c37b7c4d5eed0c484490c47

The correlations between growth and wool traits in response to canola and flaxseed oil supplementation were evaluated in Australian prime lambs. Sixty dual-purpose prime lambs including purebred Merino and crossbred lambs were allocated to one of five treatments of lucerne hay basal diet supplemented with isocaloric and isonitrogenous wheat-based pellets. Treatments were: no oil inclusion (Control); 2.5% canola oil; 5% canola oil; 2.5% flaxseed oil and 5% flaxseed oil, with lamb groups balanced by breed and gender. Each lamb was daily supplemented with 1kg of pellets and had free access to lucerne hay and water throughout the 7-week feeding trial, after a 3-week adaptation. Individual animal basal and supplementary pellet feed intakes were recorded daily, while body conformation traits, body condition scores and liveweights were measured on days 0, 21, 35 and 49. The lambs were dye-banded on the mid-side and shorn before commencing the feeding trial and mid-side wool samples were collected from the same dye-banded area of each lamb at the end of the experiment. Correlations between wool quality traits and lamb performance were non-significant (P>0.05). Oil supplementation had no detrimental effect on lamb growth and wool quality traits (P > 0.05). Gender significantly affected wither height gain and fibre diameter. There were significant interactions between oil supplementation and lamb breed on chest girth. The correlations between clean fleece yield (CFY) and other wool quality traits were moderate ranging from 0.29 to 0.55. Moderate to high correlations between fibre diameter (FD) and other wool quality traits were detected (0.46–0.99) with the strongest relationship between FD and wool spinning fineness (SF). The relationship between CFY and wool comfort factor (CF) were positive, while negative relationships between CFY and the others were observed. A combination of 5% oil supplementation and genetics is an effective and strategic management tool for enhancing feed efficiency and growth performance without negative effects on wool quality in dual-purpose lamb production. This is a good outcome for dual-purpose sheep farmers. It essentially means the absorbed nutrients in supplemented lambs yielded good growth performance without any detrimental impact on wool quality; a win-win case of nutrient partitioning into the synthesis of muscle and wool without compromising either traits.

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<![CDATA[Distinguishing protest responses in contingent valuation: A conceptualization of motivations and attitudes behind them]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e4f65d5eed0c484d74dbe

The percentage of protesters in contingent valuation surveys is substantial–about 20% across many studies. This paper seeks to clarify the motivations behind protest responses. In addition, the question whether the estimation of willingness to pay (WTP) is more biased by the exclusion or inclusion of protest bids is yet undecided. Methodological improvements are difficult for three reasons: motivations behind protest responses are largely unclear, definitions of protest differ between studies and often only participants who state a zero WTP are asked for their reasons. Our survey on farm animal welfare (n = 1335) provides detailed motivations, two definitions and includes debriefing of all participants for their WTP. We find that protest bids are not a refusal to answer, they are neither irrational nor driven by lack of understanding. Quite the contrary, a large part of participants is directly motivated by moral reasons. Furthermore, protest responses are not coupled to a zero WTP. In our sample, only 8% out of 32% protesting participants had a zero WTP. Only a small fraction of zero bids (0.4%) are true WTP-statements, i.e. respondents were satisfied with the status quo. This finding has important implications for existing WTP-estimates which might be biased. Finally, we provide detailed estimates of the WTP for animal welfare issues by including and excluding different types of protesters and outliers.

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<![CDATA[How do Brazilian citizens perceive animal welfare conditions in poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23f272d5eed0c484046b5a

The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions of Brazilian citizens about the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains. To reach this aim, an online survey was conducted. The analysis was based on descriptive statistics and three logistic regression models. Results of descriptive statistics showed that citizens in Brazil had mostly negative perceptions about the conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains. Results of the logistic regression models showed that citizens with a background in agricultural/veterinary sciences, and citizens who reported a higher level of knowledge about poultry and dairy supply chains were more likely to perceive the general conditions of animal welfare in these two supply chains as being bad. Citizens who reported previous contact with poultry farms were also more likely to perceive the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry supply chain as being bad. In addition, the perception that farmers are mainly focused on the economic aspect of farming and less on animal welfare, the perception that animals do not have a good quality of life while housed on farms, and the perception that animals are not adequately transported and slaughtered, negatively impact on perceptions about the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains.

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<![CDATA[Traces of history conserved over 600 years in the geographic distribution of genetic variants of an RNA virus: Bovine viral diarrhea virus in Switzerland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b6dd5eed0c484699288

The first records of smallpox and rabies date back thousands of years and foot-and-mouth disease in cattle was described in the 16th century. These diseases stood out by their distinct signs, dramatic way of transmission from rabid dogs to humans, and sudden appearance in cattle herds. By contrast, infectious diseases that show variable signs and affect few individuals were identified only much later. Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), endemic in cattle worldwide, was first described in 1946, together with the eponymous RNA virus as its cause. There is general agreement that BVD was not newly emerging at that time, but its history remains unknown. A search for associations between the nucleotide sequences of over 7,000 BVD viral strains obtained during a national campaign to eradicate BVD and features common to the hosts of these strains enabled us to trace back in time the presence of BVD in the Swiss cattle population. We found that animals of the two major traditional cattle breeds, Fleckvieh and Swiss Brown, were infected with strains of only four different subgenotypes of BVDV-1. The history of these cattle breeds and the events that determined the current distribution of the two populations are well documented. Specifically, Fleckvieh originates from the Bernese and Swiss Brown from the central Alps. The spread to their current geographic distribution was determined by historic events during a major expansion of the Swiss Confederation during the 15th and 16th centuries. The association of the two cattle populations with different BVD viral subgenotypes may have been preserved by a lack of cattle imports, trade barriers within the country, and unique virus-host interactions. The congruent traces of history in the distribution of the two cattle breeds and distinct viral subgenotypes suggests that BVD may have been endemic in Switzerland for at least 600 years.

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<![CDATA[A randomized controlled trial to evaluate performance of pigs raised in antibiotic-free or conventional production systems following challenge with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf73d5eed0c48491463c

The trial objective was to compare the performance and animal health parameters of pigs raised according to one of 3 antibiotic (AB) protocols: standard AB medication consisting of mass treatment on days 4 and 21 and judicious AB therapy given therapeutically thereafter as group medication in water and feed or by individual injection (group T1, N = 702); modified AB medication identical to group T1 but with mass treatment only on day 4 and without subsequent therapeutic feed medication (group T2, N = 675); or an antibiotic-free (ABF) regimen (group T3, N = 702). All pigs were vaccinated with a modified-live porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) vaccine 3 days after weaning. Using a seeder pig model to mimic endemic field infection dynamics, pigs were contact-challenged with virulent PRRSV lineage 1 strain 174 four weeks after vaccination. At finishing, average daily gain (ADG) and mean feed conversion ratio (FCR) were significantly better (p ≤ 0.05) for the T1 and T2 groups compared to the T3 group. There were no significant differences in post-weaning ADG and FCR between the T1 and T2 groups. Mortality and removals significantly favored (p ≤0.05) the T1 and T2 groups (20.94% and 24.89%, respectively) versus the T3 group (57.98%). Net revenue per pig was $105.43, $98.79, and $33.81 for the T1, T2 and T3 groups, respectively. Under the conditions of this study, these results indicate that in a PRRSV-endemic setting involving bacterial co-infections, an ABF production strategy may leave pigs at considerable risk of exposure to severe clinical disease and that judicious use of antibiotics can significantly improve animal health.

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