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This website shows the results of an online survey of 5,000 people who work with dogs. Respondents viewed photos of 100 dogs, and recorded what breed or breeds they thought the dog was. The dogs had been DNA-tested, and each had 25% of at least one breed in their genetic profile. Responses were counted as accurate if the survey participant identified any breed that was part of the dog's heritage, no matter how small the percentage. Respondents varied widely in their guesses, and accuracy was low for most dogs. Visitors to the website can view the photos, the top survey responses, and the actual DNA profile for each dog.
Gallup conducts an annual survey of 1,000 Americans which includes a question regarding the morality of animal testing. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) looked at the survey results from 2001 through 2013, and found that the number of respondents who feel that animal testing is morally wrong has increased significantly since 2001. The change was most pronounced among women, and people under 30.
Wildlife Warning Signs: Public Assessment of Components, Placement and Designs to Optimise Driver ResponseSubmitted on Mar 04, 2014 (Original item from 2013) General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods | Wildlife and Exotics
Road signs are the most common and affordable method of reducing wildlife-auto collisions, but input from drivers is often not sought during the design process, and studies on their effectiveness produce widely variable results between countries. This Australian study conducted an online survey of 134 drivers. They were shown a set of wildlife warning signs and asked to rate how likely they were to respond to each. They were also asked what they perceived the primary message of the sign to be.
The authors tested for the most effective design elements, message content, and sign placement. Design elements included flashing lights, activation by car or animal, positive vs. negative images (springing kangaroo vs. damaged car), and feedback devices such as "your speed." Message elements included focus on animal injury, focus on car damage, focus on especially high risk locations or times, and positive reinforcement (e.g., speed-activated sign flashes "thank you" when speed is reduced). Sign placement included the roadside or the road median. Participants indicated they would be most likely to respond to animal-activated and speed-activated signs.
Due to limitations of funding and schedule, the diversity of study respondents was limited, especially by gender (70% of respondents were female) and by region. All respondents had full color vision. With one exception, only kangaroo (large animal) images were used. Actual response to installed signs was not tested. The authors call for additional research to address these and other limitations so that road signs may be used more intelligently to reduce the adverse effects to wildlife and to humans of vehicle-wildlife collisions.
Guest blogger Ivy Collier discusses the lack of standardization in dog bite reporting in the U.S. The absence of accurate data results in questionable solutions, such as breed-specific legislation (BSL), which receive disproportionate media attention, often at the expense of more effective dog-bite prevention techniques.
In response to consumer concern about treatment of animals in the food industry, an increasing range of ‘humanely produced’ animal products have become available, often with ‘humane certified’ labels approved by animal advocacy groups. This paper looks at the issue from an abolitionist viewpoint and proposes that it commodifies ‘humaneness’ and does not benefit animals as the narrative implies. The author argues that not only do welfare problems persist even within humane certified operations, but also that ‘higher welfare’ labels make people feel more comfortable about consuming animal products, and thus may incentivize their consumption and help entrench morally problematic systems.
The involvement of the professionalized animal welfare movement in advocating these reforms and collaborating with industry on values-based labeling is criticized for legitimizing the continued exploitation of animals, while failing to address the underlying oppressive structures that allow animals to be viewed as commodities in the first place. The author suggests that the professionalization of animal advocacy groups often entails a compromise of movement goals and leads to them working to reform the structure rather than dismantle it. As a result, the fundamental moral issue of exploiting and killing other animals remains largely unexamined. As an alternative to this, abolitionism calls for a rejection of the property-status of animals, a rejection of speciesism and equal consideration for animals, with veganism as a necessary baseline. The abolitionist framework opposes the promotion of more ‘humane’ systems of animal production, arguing that it is inconsistent to strive for an end to animal suffering while continuing to consume them, and advocates change through a radical grassroots vegan movement.
This paper critiques the conflicting conceptualizations of animal welfare that are expressed by zoos and aquaria when they serve animal products at onsite restaurants. The authors begin by surveying the goals and values of in the U.S. and E.U., and find that animal welfare is an important value of most zoos and aquaria, even when it is not made explicit. When they examined the online menus of 55 zoos, all were based on meat, with few vegetarian or vegan options, and most meat came from conventionally (factory) farmed sources. Meat provided to zoo animals was also from conventionally farmed sources, and animals purchased as live food for zoo animals were handled with little concern for their welfare. The authors conclude that these practices are inconsistent with the animal welfare mission of zoos and aquaria, and call upon them to apply animal welfare values to all animals that come within the sphere of their operations.
The Interrelations of Good Welfare Indicators Assessed in Working Horses and their Relationships with the Type of WorkSubmitted on Feb 27, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection
This study assessed the well-being of 697 working horses in Romania. The horses ranged in age from 2 years old to more than 15 years old, and included mares, stallions and geldings. The assessments were conducted while the horses were working, and welfare indicators were recorded only in positive terms (i.e., as the presence of positive indicators for welfare, or the absence of negative indicators) to reduce defensiveness and encourage better care behaviors among guardians. Most horses responded with more friendliness to the unfamiliar assessor than to their guardian. The horses were generally well fed (the study was conducted at a time of year with high food availability and decreased work). Most horses did not receive adequate water or unfettered exercise, and their guardians seemed unaware of their needs in these and other respects. Performing the heaviest work correlated with lower welfare assessment scores.
This PowerPoint presentation from The Shelter Pet Project illustrates the step-by-step process of analyzing the problem of pet overpopulation, setting a goal (more adoption from shelters instead of breeders), identifying a target audience, and determining the best way to reach them with the message. Research is applied at each step, and provides many valuable insights (such as differences between dog and cat guardians, regional differences, and the qualities potential adopters associate with shelter animals vs. animals from breeders), as well as guiding goals and strategies.
Mortality rates among "bycatch" marine animals, who are caught by commercial fishers with other targets and released back into the ocean, have been heavily studied. However, there has been little research into the effect the injury and stress of capture has upon the behavior, growth and reproduction of bycatch survivors. The authors reviewed 133 studies with the goal of examining the impact of capture stress on lifetime reproductive success, and to identify gaps to be addressed by future research. Exhaustion from trying to escape capture, injury during captivity, and increased vulnerability while recovering from physiological stress after release can impede foraging ability, reduce mating behavior, interrupt lactation, and result in reduced and damaged offspring. The authors call for increased research into the after effects of catch and release fishing to improve understanding of appropriate management and conservation.
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