ResearchPad - animal-slaughter 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[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[Prevalence and distribution of Taenia solium cysticercosis in naturally infected pigs in Punjab, India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf71f72d5eed0c484dcb62d

Background

Taenia solium (T. solium) cysticercosis remains a neglected zoonotic disease in India. The current study was planned to estimate the prevalence of T. solium porcine cysticercosis in the Punjab state of India, to compare this prevalence with the disease prevalence in pigs reared outside Punjab and to assess the distribution of the parasite in pig carcasses.

Methods

Two slaughter shops were selected in each of the 22 districts of Punjab. Pigs slaughtered on the day/s of inspection were post-mortem inspected to identify the presence of T. solium cysts. Estimated true prevalence was estimated by taking into account the diagnostic sensitivity (38%) and specificity (100%) of post-mortem inspection using the Rogan-Gladen estimator. Positive carcasses were purchased and brought to the laboratory to assess the tissue distribution of T. solium cysts and to conduct PCR targeting large subunit rRNA gene, internal transcribed spacer 1 gene, ITS1 gene and Cytochrome oxidase I gene. The selected PCR products were submitted for sequencing and phylogenetic analyses were performed.

Findings

We contacted 71 shop owners to achieve a sample of 44 shops for the study. We inspected 642 pigs reared in Punjab and 450 imported from other states at these slaughter shops. In addition, we sampled 40 pigs from an abattoir located in the state capital. Of the 642 pigs reared in Punjab, 9 had T. solium cysts with an apparent prevalence of 1·40% (95% CI: 0·74%, 2·64%) and the estimated true prevalence of 3.69% (95% CI: 1·95%, 6·95%). Pigs imported from outside the state had a significantly higher prevalence (odds ratio: 2·58; 95% CI: 1·12, 5·98; p-value: 0·026) as 15 of the 450 imported pigs were positive (apparent prevalence: 3.33%; 95% CI: 2.03%, 5.43%; estimated true prevalence: 8.77%; 95% CI: 5.34%, 14.28%). None of samples was positive from the pigs sampled at the abattoir in the state capital. The PCR confirmed T. solium cysts from all the 24 positive samples. We counted a median of 897 (range 526–1964) cysts per infected pig from the 19 infected pig carcasses inspected. The phylogenetic tree based on the alignment of partial cytochrome oxidase 1 sequences indicated all positive samples to be clustered with the T. solium Asian genotype. The analysis did not indicate the presence of T. asiatica in the slaughter pigs.

Conclusions

Despite the underestimation of the prevalence due to missing mildly-infected carcasses, low participation and lack of representative sampling, the presence of heavily infected carcasses containing viable cysts, particularly those imported from outside the state, indicates that T. solium cysticercosis is an important food safety concern for pork consumers in Punjab, India. Measures should be taken to reduce the disease prevalence in pigs to reduce the disease burden in the public.

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<![CDATA[A Novel Porcine Circovirus-Like Agent P1 Is Associated with Wasting Syndromes in Pigs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5dc3

A novel porcine pathogen tentatively named P1, which was obtained from the sera of the pigs exhibiting clinical signs of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) experimentally caused the classical clinic signs and pathologic lesions of the disease in pigs by direct in vivo injection with P1 DNA plasmids. Twenty colostrum-fed (CF) pigs that were free of PCV2 and P1 at 1 month of age were randomly designated equally to two groups. Group 1 pigs were each injected with 400 µg of the cloned P1 plasmid DNA into the superficial inguinal lymph nodes and Group 2 were injected with same amount of the empty pSK vector DNA and served as controls. Viremias were positively detected in 8 of 10 P1 infected pigs from 14–21 days post-inoculation (dpi). The 8 infected animals showed pallor of skin and diarrhea. Gross lesions in the pigs euthanized on 35 dpi were similarly characterized by encephalemia, haemorrhage of the bladder mucosa, haemorrhage of the superficial inguinal lymph nodes, lung atrophy and haemorrhage. Histopathological lesions were arteriectasis and telangiectasia of the cavitas subarachnoidealis, interstitial pneumonia, mild atrophy of the cardiac muscle cells, histiocytic hyperplasia of the follicles in the tonsils, and haemorrhage of the inguinal lymph nodes. P1 DNA and antigens were confirmed by PCR and immunohistochemistry in the tissues and organs of the infected pigs, including the pancreas, bladders, testicles/ovaries, brains, lungs and liver. There were no obvious clinical signs and pathological lesions in the control pigs. This study demonstrated that P1 infection is one of the important pathologic agents on pig farms.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of an enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol in Salmonella contaminated pig holdings in the United Kingdom]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be049f

Salmonella is the second most commonly reported zoonotic gastrointestinal pathogen in the European Union, and a significant proportion of the cases are linked to the consumption of contaminated pork. Reduction of Salmonella at the farm level helps to mininimise the contamination pressure at the slaughterhouse, and therefore the number of Salmonella bacteria entering the food chain. Cleaning and disinfection (C&D) between batches of pigs is an intervention measure that has potential to reduce the transmission of Salmonella contamination within farms. In this study, two pig finisher buildings in each of 10 Salmonella positive farms were sampled pre-C&D, post-C&D, post-restocking with the following batch of pigs, and shortly before these pigs were sent to slaughter. The incoming batch of pigs was also sampled before it reached the study building (pre-restocking). At each visit, pooled and individual faecal samples were collected and Salmonella isolation was carried out according to an ISO 6579:2002 Annex D-based method. One building on each farm (intervention) was cleaned and disinfected according to a rigorous protocol consisting of several steps and a Defra-approved disinfectant used at the General Orders concentration, whilst the other building (control) was cleaned and disinfected as per normal farm routine. At the post-C&D visit, Enterobacteriaceae and total bacterial counts were determined to evaluate residual faecal contamination and general hygiene levels. Rodent specialists visited the farms before and after C&D and rodent carcasses were collected for Salmonella testing. The intervention buildings were significantly less likely (p = 0.004) to be positive for Salmonella after C&D. The pre-restocking pigs had the highest likelihood (p<0.001) of being Salmonella positive (often with multiple serovars) and there was no significant difference between intervention and control buildings in Salmonella prevalence at the post-restocking visit (p = 0.199). However, the pigs housed in the intervention buildings were significantly less likely (p = 0.004) to be positive for Salmonella at slaughter age. Multivariable analysis suggested that cleaning all fixtures of buildings, leaving the pens empty for 2–3 days and using an effective disinfectant are factors significantly improving the likelihood of removing Salmonella contamination during C&D. Signs of rodents were recorded in all farms, but rodent activity and harbourage availability decreased between visits. All the rats tested were Salmonella negative. S. Typhimurium or its monophasic variants were isolated from 6 mouse carcasses in 3 farms where the same serovars were isolated from pigs. This study demonstrates that an appropriate C&D programme significantly reduces the likelihood of residual contamination in Salmonella positive pig buildings, and suggests a significant reduction in the prevalence of Salmonella in the pigs in appropriately cleaned and disinfected buildings when sampled before slaughter. Due to a high prevalence of infection in replacement pigs, control of Salmonella in pig farms is challenging. Rodents may also contribute to the carry-over of infection between batches. C&D is a useful measure to help reduce the number of infected pigs going to the slaughterhouse, but should be supplemented by other control measures along the pig breeding and production chain.

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<![CDATA[Local Cattle and Badger Populations Affect the Risk of Confirmed Tuberculosis in British Cattle Herds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0fab0ee8fa60bcbbc9

Background

The control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a priority on the public health agenda in Great Britain, after launching in 1998 the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of badger (Meles meles) culling as a control strategy. Our study complements previous analyses of the RBCT data (focusing on treatment effects) by presenting analyses of herd-level risks factors associated with the probability of a confirmed bTB breakdown in herds within each treatment: repeated widespread proactive culling, localized reactive culling and no culling (survey-only).

Methodology/Principal Findings

New cases of bTB breakdowns were monitored inside the RBCT areas from the end of the first proactive badger cull to one year after the last proactive cull. The risk of a herd bTB breakdown was modeled using logistic regression and proportional hazard models adjusting for local farm-level risk factors. Inside survey-only and reactive areas, increased numbers of active badger setts and cattle herds within 1500 m of a farm were associated with an increased bTB risk. Inside proactive areas, the number of M. bovis positive badgers initially culled within 1500 m of a farm was the strongest predictor of the risk of a confirmed bTB breakdown.

Conclusions/Significance

The use of herd-based models provide insights into how local cattle and badger populations affect the bTB breakdown risks of individual cattle herds in the absence of and in the presence of badger culling. These measures of local bTB risks could be integrated into a risk-based herd testing programme to improve the targeting of interventions aimed at reducing the risks of bTB transmission.

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<![CDATA[Detection and Localisation of PrPSc in the Liver of Sheep Infected with Scrapie and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da59ab0ee8fa60b8f9a7

Prions are largely contained within the nervous and lymphoid tissue of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) infected animals. However, following advances in diagnostic sensitivity, PrPSc, a marker for prion disease, can now be located in a wide range of viscera and body fluids including muscle, saliva, blood, urine and milk, raising concerns that exposure to these materials could contribute to the spread of disease in humans and animals. Previously we demonstrated low levels of infectivity in the liver of sheep experimentally challenged with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. In this study we show that PrPSc accumulated in the liver of 89% of sheep naturally infected with scrapie and 100% of sheep challenged with BSE, at both clinical and preclinical stages of the disease. PrPSc was demonstrated in the absence of obvious inflammatory foci and was restricted to isolated resident cells, most likely Kupffer cells.

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<![CDATA[Bleeding Efficiency, Microbiological Quality and Oxidative Stability of Meat from Goats Subjected to Slaughter without Stunning in Comparison with Different Methods of Pre-Slaughter Electrical Stunning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa5ab0ee8fa60ba74b7

The influence of pre-slaughter electrical stunning techniques and slaughter without stunning on bleeding efficiency and shelf life of chevon during a 14 d postmortem aging were assessed. Thirty two Boer crossbred bucks were randomly assigned to four slaughtering techniques viz slaughter without stunning (SWS), low frequency head-only electrical stunning (LFHO; 1 A for 3 s at a frequency of 50 Hz), low frequency head-to-back electrical stunning (LFHB; 1 A for 3 s at a frequency of 50 Hz) and high frequency head-to-back electrical stunning (HFHB; 1 A for 3 s at a frequency of 850 Hz). The SWS, LFHO and HFHB goats had higher (p<0.05) blood loss and lower residual hemoglobin in muscle compared to LFHB. The LFHB meat had higher (p<0.05) TBARS value than other treatments on d 7 and 14 d postmortem. Slaughtering methods had no effect on protein oxidation. Higher bacterial counts were observed in LFHB meat compared to those from SWS, LFHO and HFHB after 3 d postmortem. Results indicate that the low bleed-out in LFHB lowered the lipid oxidative stability and microbiological quality of chevon during aging.

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<![CDATA[Phylogenetic Analysis Reveals Common Antimicrobial Resistant Campylobacter coli Population in Antimicrobial-Free (ABF) and Commercial Swine Systems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daccab0ee8fa60bb4a56

The objective of this study was to compare the population biology of antimicrobial resistant (AR) Campylobacter coli isolated from swine reared in the conventional and antimicrobial-free (ABF) swine production systems at farm, slaughter and environment. A total of 200 C. coli isolates selected from fecal, environmental, and carcass samples of ABF (n = 100) and conventional (n = 100) swine production systems were typed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Sequence data from seven housekeeping genes was analyzed for the identification of allelic profiles, sequence types (STs) and clonal complex determination. Phylogenetic trees were generated to establish the relationships between the genotyped isolates. A total of 51 STs were detected including two novel alleles (glnA 424 and glyA 464) and 14 novel STs reported for the first time. The majority of the C. coli isolates belonged to ST-854 (ABF: 31, conventional: 17), and were grouped in clonal complex ST-828 (ABF: 68%, conventional: 66%). The mean genetic diversity (H) for the ABF (0.3963+/−0.0806) and conventional (0.4655+/−0.0714) systems were similar. The index of association () for the ABF ( = 0.1513) and conventional ( = 0.0991) C. coli populations were close to linkage equilibrium, indicative of a freely recombining population. Identical STs were detected between the pigs and their environment both at farm and slaughter. A minimum spanning tree revealed the close clustering of C. coli STs that originated from swine and carcass with those from the environment. In conclusion, our study reveals a genotypic diverse C. coli population that shares a common ancestry in the conventional and ABF swine production systems. This could potentially explain the high prevalence of antimicrobial resistant C. coli in the ABF system in the absence of antimicrobial selection pressure.

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<![CDATA[Escherichia coli O104 in Feedlot Cattle Feces: Prevalence, Isolation and Characterization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0bab0ee8fa60bca4d9

Escherichia coli O104:H4, an hybrid pathotype of Shiga toxigenic and enteroaggregative E. coli, involved in a major foodborne outbreak in Germany in 2011, has not been detected in cattle feces. Serogroup O104 with H type other than H4 has been reported to cause human illnesses, but their prevalence and characteristics in cattle have not been reported. Our objectives were to determine the prevalence of E. coli O104 in feces of feedlot cattle, by culture and PCR detection methods, and characterize the isolated strains. Rectal fecal samples from a total of 757 cattle originating from 29 feedlots were collected at a Midwest commercial slaughter plant. Fecal samples, enriched in E. coli broth, were subjected to culture and PCR methods of detection. The culture method involved immunomagnetic separation with O104-specific beads and plating on a selective chromogenic medium, followed by serogroup confirmation of pooled colonies by PCR. If pooled colonies were positive for the wzxO104 gene, then colonies were tested individually to identify wzxO104-positive serogroup and associated genes of the hybrid strains. Extracted DNA from feces were also tested by a multiplex PCR to detect wzxO104-positive serogroup and associated major genes of the O104 hybrid pathotype. Because wzxO104 has been shown to be present in E. coli O8/O9/O9a, wzxO104-positive isolates and extracted DNA from fecal samples were also tested by a PCR targeting wbdDO8/O9/O9a, a gene specific for E. coli O8/O9/O9a serogroups. Model-adjusted prevalence estimates of E. coli O104 (positive for wzxO104 and negative for wbdDO8/O9/O9a) at the feedlot level were 5.7% and 21.2%, and at the sample level were 0.5% and 25.9% by culture and PCR, respectively. The McNemar’s test indicated that there was a significant difference (P < 0.01) between the proportions of samples that tested positive for wzxO104 and samples that were positive for wzxO104, but negative for wbdDO8/O9/O9a by PCR and culture methods. A total of 143 isolates, positive for the wzxO104, were obtained in pure culture from 146 positive fecal samples. Ninety-two of the 143 isolates (64.3%) also tested positive for the wbdDO8/O9/O9a, indicating that only 51 (35.7%) isolates truly belonged to the O104 serogroup (positive for wzxO104 and negative for wbdDO8/O9/O9a). All 51 isolates tested negative for eae, and 16 tested positive for stx1 gene of the subtype 1c. Thirteen of the 16 stx1-positive O104 isolates were from one feedlot. The predominant serotype was O104:H7. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis indicated that stx1-positive O104:H7 isolates had 62.4% homology to the German outbreak strain and 67.9% to 77.5% homology to human diarrheagenic O104:H7 strains. The 13 isolates obtained from the same feedlot were of the same PFGE subtype with 100% Dice similarity. Although cattle do not harbor the O104:H4 pathotype, they do harbor and shed Shiga toxigenic O104 in the feces and the predominant serotype was O104:H7.

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<![CDATA[Development of a Humane Slaughter Device for Green Turtles for Use by Traditional Owners in the Torres Strait Islands, Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da10ab0ee8fa60b793ca

Marine turtles are caught and slaughtered for consumption as part of traditional indigenous community harvest in Australia as well as in many countries in which marine turtles can be found. However, changes to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 in 2012 resulted in Australian indigenous hunters becoming potentially liable to prosecution for using traditional practices to slaughter marine turtles. To provide indigenous hunters with an alternative scientifically tested method to hunt, we developed and tested a humane method as an option to use in indigenous communities. Between 2012 and 2015, a device was developed, tested on 11 carcasses to determine effectiveness and repeatability, used on 5 anaesthetised animals independently diagnosed as candidates for euthanasia, and ultimately used on 2 healthy, conscious animals as part of normal indigenous community subsistence harvesting under observation before being left with the communities for use. Feedback was sought from the communities on the suitability and potential adoption of the device. The device effectively ablated the hind brain and severed the spinal cord when deployed in 81% (9/11) of the tested carcasses, with death in 100% (5/5) of turtles, on average, within 78 seconds of deployment on anaesthetised turtles and death in 100% (2/2) of turtles, on average, within 144 seconds when deployed on healthy turtles within community. Failure to ablate the hindbrain and sever the spinal cord in the cadaver cases was due to incorrect deployment of the device. This device showed promise as an alternative euthanasia method available to indigenous communities of the Torres Straits. Further work is required to encourage acceptance by hunters.

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<![CDATA[Transmission dynamics and elimination potential of zoonotic tuberculosis in morocco]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcfd3

Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is an endemic zoonosis in Morocco caused by Mycobacterium bovis, which infects many domestic animals and is transmitted to humans through consumption of raw milk or from contact with infected animals. The prevalence of BTB in Moroccan cattle is estimated at 18%, and 33% at the individual and the herd level respectively, but the human M. bovis burden needs further clarification. The current control strategy based on test and slaughter should be improved through local context adaptation taking into account a suitable compensation in order to reduce BTB prevalence in Morocco and decrease the disease burden in humans and animals. We established a simple compartmental deterministic mathematical model for BTB transmission in cattle and humans to provide a general understanding of BTB, in particular regarding transmission to humans. Differential equations were used to model the different pathways between the compartments for cattle and humans. Scenarios of test and slaughter were simulated to determine the effects of varying the proportion of tested animals (p) on the time to elimination of BTB (individual animal prevalence of less than one in a thousand) in cattle and humans. The time to freedom from disease ranged from 75 years for p = 20% to 12 years for p = 100%. For p > 60% the time to elimination was less than 20 years. The cumulated cost was largely stable: for p values higher than 40%, cost ranged from 1.47 to 1.60 billion euros with a time frame of 12 to 32 years to reach freedom from disease. The model simulations also suggest that using a 2mm cut off instead of a 4mm cut off in the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin skin test (SICCT) would result in cheaper and quicker elimination programs. This analysis informs Moroccan bovine tuberculosis control policy regarding time frame, range of cost and levels of intervention. However, further research is needed to clarify the national human-bovine tuberculosis ratio in Morocco.

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<![CDATA[Finishing pigs that are divergent in feed efficiency show small differences in intestinal functionality and structure]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc311

Controversial information is available regarding the feed efficiency-related variation in intestinal size, structure and functionality in pigs. The present objective was therefore to investigate the differences in visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, mucosal enzyme activity, intestinal integrity and related gene expression in low and high RFI pigs which were reared at three different geographical locations (Austria, AT; Northern Ireland, NI; Republic of Ireland, ROI) using similar protocols. Pigs (n = 369) were ranked for their RFI between days 42 and 91 postweaning and low and high RFI pigs (n = 16 from AT, n = 24 from NI, and n = 60 from ROI) were selected. Pigs were sacrificed and sampled on ~day 110 of life. In general, RFI-related variation in intestinal size, structure and function was small. Some energy saving mechanisms and enhanced digestive and absorptive capacity were indicated in low versus high RFI pigs by shorter crypts, higher duodenal lactase and maltase activity and greater mucosal permeability (P < 0.05), but differences were mainly seen in pigs from AT and to a lesser degree in pigs from ROI. Additionally, low RFI pigs from AT had more goblet cells in duodenum but fewer in jejunum compared to high RFI pigs (P < 0.05). Together with the lower expression of TLR4 and TNFA in low versus high RFI pigs from AT and ROI (P < 0.05), these results might indicate differences in the innate immune response between low and high RFI pigs. Results demonstrated that the variation in the size of visceral organs and intestinal structure and functionality was greater between geographic location (local environmental factors) than between RFI ranks of pigs. In conclusion, present results support previous findings that the intestinal size, structure and functionality do not significantly contribute to variation in RFI of pigs.

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<![CDATA[Demographic Model of the Swiss Cattle Population for the Years 2009-2011 Stratified by Gender, Age and Production Type]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9cea6

Demographic composition and dynamics of animal and human populations are important determinants for the transmission dynamics of infectious disease and for the effect of infectious disease or environmental disasters on productivity. In many circumstances, demographic data are not available or of poor quality. Since 1999 Switzerland has been recording cattle movements, births, deaths and slaughter in an animal movement database (AMD). The data present in the AMD offers the opportunity for analysing and understanding the dynamic of the Swiss cattle population. A dynamic population model can serve as a building block for future disease transmission models and help policy makers in developing strategies regarding animal health, animal welfare, livestock management and productivity. The Swiss cattle population was therefore modelled using a system of ordinary differential equations. The model was stratified by production type (dairy or beef), age and gender (male and female calves: 0–1 year, heifers and young bulls: 1–2 years, cows and bulls: older than 2 years). The simulation of the Swiss cattle population reflects the observed pattern accurately. Parameters were optimized on the basis of the goodness-of-fit (using the Powell algorithm). The fitted rates were compared with calculated rates from the AMD and differed only marginally. This gives confidence in the fitted rates of parameters that are not directly deductible from the AMD (e.g. the proportion of calves that are moved from the dairy system to fattening plants).

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<![CDATA[Genetic and Phenotypic Correlations between Performance Traits with Meat Quality and Carcass Characteristics in Commercial Crossbred Pigs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db06ab0ee8fa60bc882d

Genetic correlations between performance traits with meat quality and carcass traits were estimated on 6,408 commercial crossbred pigs with performance traits recorded in production systems with 2,100 of them having meat quality and carcass measurements. Significant fixed effects (company, sex and batch), covariates (birth weight, cold carcass weight, and age), random effects (additive, litter and maternal) were fitted in the statistical models. A series of pairwise bivariate analyses were implemented in ASREML to estimate heritability, phenotypic, and genetic correlations between performance traits (n = 9) with meat quality (n = 25) and carcass (n = 19) traits. The animals had a pedigree compromised of 9,439 animals over 15 generations. Performance traits had low-to-moderate heritabilities (±SE), ranged from 0.07±0.13 to 0.45±0.07 for weaning weight, and ultrasound backfat depth, respectively. Genetic correlations between performance and carcass traits were moderate to high. The results indicate that: (a) selection for birth weight may increase drip loss, lightness of longissimus dorsi, and gluteus medius muscles but may reduce fat depth; (b) selection for nursery weight can be valuable for increasing both quantity and quality traits; (c) selection for increased daily gain may increase the carcass weight and most of the primal cuts. These findings suggest that deterioration of pork quality may have occurred over many generations through the selection for less backfat thickness, and feed efficiency, but selection for growth had no adverse effects on pork quality. Low-to-moderate heritabilities for performance traits indicate that they could be improved using traditional selection or genomic selection. The estimated genetic parameters for performance, carcass and meat quality traits may be incorporated into the breeding programs that emphasize product quality in these Canadian swine populations.

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<![CDATA[Perception of Fish Sentience, Welfare and Humane Slaughter by Highly Educated Citizens of Bogotá, Colombia and Curitiba, Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da80ab0ee8fa60b9a3aa

Discussions on farm animal welfare have become frequent, especially in developed countries. The aim of this research was to study the perception of fish sentience, welfare and slaughter by highly educated citizens from Bogotá, Colombia, and Curitiba, Brazil. An online survey with 12 questions presented as open-ended, multiple choice and 5-point Likert-type scale formats was available to respondents. Answers from 395 participants in Bogotá and 387 in Curitiba were analyzed, and results are presented in the order Bogotá followed by Curitiba. The percentage of participants who perceived fish as sentient animals was 79.7% and 71.8%. The classification of sentience perception among taxonomic groups seems in accordance with the phylogenetic proximity to humans, suggesting participants were more likely to perceive sentience in mammals than in other animals. The descending order related to the highest perception of fish suffering in different scenarios was fishing with hook and line (75.6%, 70.6%); municipal live fish fair (68.7%—only in Curitiba); fish-and-pay ponds (59.7%, 54.4%); fish kept as laboratory animals (58.0, 48.1%); fish farming (35.7, 36.8%); fish in pet stores (35.5%, 26.1%); production of ornamental fish (19.3%, 21.8%); fish in aquarium exhibits (18.8%,16.9%); and fish kept as pets (12.4%,12.3%). Lack of knowledge about the conditions of capture, handling, transport and sale of ornamental fish may justify the perception of low level of suffering in the last scenarios. Regarding humane slaughter, 57.0% and 55.0% of respondents were unaware of the issue. After reflection induced by the questionnaire, 76.0% and 72% of participants believed that fish should be included in humane slaughter regulations. This study presents original data suggesting that respondents from Bogotá and Curitiba consider fish as sentient beings. The perception of suffering in specific scenarios challenges common activities. Recognition of suffering also endorses humane slaughter regulations to reduce pain in a large number of individuals of fish slaughtered annually for human consumption in Colombia and Brazil.

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