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Farming Practices

 

Best Practice Framework for Animal Welfare Certification Schemes

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This literature review proposes best practice principles for farmed animal welfare as a basis for future international agreements and the assessment of existing welfare certifications. The focus is on engaging farmers with education and other resources to change attitudes, not just provide basic standards, and to encourage innovative, continuous improvement in animal welfare. Improving transparency for consumers on the significance of certifications is also a priority. Assessment and monitoring approaches drawn from environmental sustainability and other contexts are applied as applicable.


Dietary Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Meat-Eaters, Fish-Eaters, Vegetarians and Vegans in the UK

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This UK study calculated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the production (not including cooking) of food consumed by meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. "High" meat diets (at least 100g or 3.5 oz/day) caused more than twice as much GHG as vegan diets, suggesting that reduced meat intake is consistent with an updated definition for a "healthy, sustainable diet." Questionnaires compiled during the 1990s for a large, ongoing health study (EPIC) were the source for the dietary data used for this study, so actual consumption patterns (of meat, for example) may have changed.


Major Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses in China: A Matter of Global Health and Socioeconomic Development for 1.3 Billion

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This review discusses several recent examples of human disease outbreaks in China that originated with animals, such as SARS, Japanese encephalitis, brucellosis, influenza strains and others. Contributing factors, including urbanization, risks associated with both small and large farms, antibiotic resistance, food safety issues and climate change are examined. The article closes with a description of regulation and reporting, education, targeted research, and other control strategies that are being implemented.


Consumer Preference, Behavior and Perception about Meat and Meat Products: An Overview

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This literature review considers consumer attitudes about meat from three perspectives: psychological, sensory and marketing. Psychological factors include lifestyle and values, socio-cultural effects, expectations, risk and attitude. Sensory factors are appearance, odor, flavor and texture. The marketing aspects are price, label, brand and availability. Although the goal of this article is to illuminate selling points for meat, the discussion of consumer associations with meat and the many studies cited may also be helpful to advocates for meat reduction.



Pig Farmers’ Perceptions, Attitudes, Influences and Management of Information in the Decision-Making Process for Disease Control

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This qualitative study conducted in-depth interviews with owners of small to medium sized pig farms across England to explore how they accessed information on pig diseases. The farmers relied more on their veterinarian, industry journals, and other farmers than on government information resources, suggesting that new findings in research may be most effectively communicated through veterinarians. Although economic factors were the top priority when deciding whether to treat disease, animal welfare was also a concern.



The Importance of Reduced Meat and Dairy Consumption for Meeting Stringent Climate Change Targets

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This paper compares three different strategies to reduce long-term greenhouse gases from the farming of animals: increased productivity, technological means to clean up farming-related emissions, and dietary changes away from meat and milk on a global scale. Considering the potential for each strategy to meet the UN goal of maintaining global temperature below the 2°C increase, alone and in combination with the others, the authors conclude that it is unlikely the goals can be met without including a dietary change strategy.


Assessing Multiregion Avian Benefits from Strategically Targeted Agricultural Buffers

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This study measured whether native grass buffers planted around fields of row crops were beneficial to at-risk bird species. Buffered fields were compared with non-buffered fields in 14 states over a 6-year period. The majority of species showed dramatically higher breeding populations near buffered fields, while a minority of species showed moderately higher populations near unbuffered fields, or varied from year to year. The authors recommend targeting buffers to areas where the species who are most helped by them most need support.


Animal Welfare and Food Safety Aspects of Confining Broiler Chickens to Cages

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This Humane Society-authored literature review targeted to farmers discusses the advantages of open floor housing over cage housing for chickens raised for slaughter. Foot-friendly flooring, litter for dustbaths, and optimal space allowances for best health and welfare are also discussed. Of particular interest is a cited study that showed more chickens would cross difficult barriers to get to less crowded space than to get to food when very hungry.




Natural Mink Fur And Faux Fur Products, An Environmental Comparison

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This Dutch study compared the impact on global climate change of a mink coat to a synthetic fur coat. All aspects of manufacturing and distributing both coats was considered: growing feed for the minks, raising them, and disposing of their waste, synthesizing the "fur" and backing material for the faux coat, transportation of both coats for sale, and incineration of the coats at the end of their usefulness. The study found that impact of the mink coat on climate change was 3-10 times higher than the impact of the faux fur coat.



The Multi-Dimensional Donkey in Landscapes of Donkey-Human Interaction

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donkeys loaded with bricks walking on a dirt roadThis article describes the mission and activities of The Donkey Sanctuary, a British charity with sanctuary/education centers internationally. The charity takes an integrated approach to donkey rescue, using all-local staff, and building trust in the community by assisting with other needs. The article describes the history of donkeys, where and how donkeys still perform work for humans, and welfare assessment, and calls for multidisciplinary attention to studying and improving the lives of donkeys.



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