General Animal Protection
Drawing upon recent research and other sources, this article examines cow and management-related risk factors for hock lesions, an injury experienced by the majority of cows on dairy farms worldwide, which can lead to serious health consequences. Herd size, pasture access, age at first calving, cubicle housing and design, flooring and bedding material are discussed, along with vulnerabilities affecting individual cows. Hock lesion risk is reduced on organic farms. The authors note that inconsistent definitions and scoring systems impede data collection on this important subject.
Constitutional Inclusion of Animal Rights in Germany and Switzerland: How Did Animal Protection Become an Issue of National...Submitted on Aug 01, 2014 (Original item from 2010) Advocacy Strategies | Animal Experimentation | Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection
This article discusses how animal activists in Sweden and Germany successfully added animal protection to their constitutions. In both countries, "frame-bridging," or association of animal protection with other political issues and attitudes in mainstream culture, was instrumental in the success or failure of the campaigns. Form of government also played a role. An upcoming second part of this project will exam the practical effects of the constitutional changes.
This study introduced Boreal Toad tadpoles to a site in Rocky Mountain National Park to bolster declining populations. The authors argue that assessments at various stages of such studies allow adjustment for unexpected effects. For example, when tadpole survival was low after the first releases, tadpoles were grown to a larger stage in the lab before subsequent releases. The reintroduced toads have demonstrated some disease resistance, but have not yet reproduced.
Effects of 2 Training Methods on Stress-Related Behaviors of the Dog (Canis familiaris) and on the Dog–Owner RelationshipSubmitted on Jul 30, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
This exploratory study observed dogs and their guardians at dog-training schools in France. One school used "negative stimulus" techniques, such as pushing down the dog's back while giving a "sit" command. The other used "positive reinforcment," such as treat rewards. Dogs in the negative stimulus class showed more stress when receiving a command, and less visual interaction with their guardians than dogs in the "positive stimulus" class. The authors acknowledge the study was too small and the observations too brief for their findings to apply to all dogs.
In this study, the behavior of a brown bear in an Italian zoo was recorded both before and after the death of his sister, with whom he had lived since birth. Many behaviors remained unchanged. However, the ratio of time spent sleeping to time spent awake but inactive was roughly 3:1 before his sister's death, and 1:3 afterwards. The authors suggest that the bear's vigilance increased due to the unfamiliar solitude. They also note that reduced REM sleep can have health implications.
Innovative Behaviour in Fish: Atlantic Cod Can Learn to Use an External Tag to Manipulate a Self-FeederSubmitted on Jul 24, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection
This report describes an unexpected innovation by three Atlantic cod during a Swedish experiment to determine which members of a group of fishes would bite a release lever to produce food. The three fish (from two different experimental groups) got an identifying bead that was attached to their top fin caught on the release line for the food. Over time, they stopped reacting as if threatened and refined their technique. By the end of the experiment, they were able to access the food much more quickly using the bead method, and preferred it to the biting technique.
Effect of High-Impact Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return and Adoption of Community Cats on Cat Intake to a ShelterSubmitted on Jul 23, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
This study targeted one low-income urban area within a large Florida county for a program to reduce the number of cats brought to the county shelter. Over a two-year period, residents were provided with education on the need for sterilization, free trapping and spay-neuter services, and counseling on cat-related problems. Social cats (mostly kittens) were offered for adoption, while others were returned to the community. Shelter cat intake was tracked by zip code, and dropped by 66% in the target area during the study period, compared to little change in the rest of the county.
This philosophical essay draws a distinction between harm to animals inflicted by abusive individuals on factory farms, and harm inherent in the industrial farming system. The author observes that animal advocates often find themselves on the defensive when debates over factory farming are reframed by skeptics as debates over the good character of farmers. He defines and provides examples of other systemic categories of harm that animal advocates can use to shift the burden of justifying factory farming to those who are skeptical about its harmfulness.
Regulatory acceptance and use of 3R models for pharmaceuticals and chemicals: Expert opinions on the state of affairsSubmitted on Jul 18, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Advocacy Strategies | General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods
Panels of experts were assembled to identify barriers to acceptance of 3R pharmaceutical and chemical testing models in the EU, and how to address the barriers, within the affected industries and in broader regulatory and cultural contexts. Chemical experts were more divided than pharmaceutical experts on the most significant barriers. The experts felt that better training and data on the new methods was needed, and called for subsidies. Regulatory changes are also needed to encompass the new procedures. The general public needs to feel sure that the new methods are safe, but less harmful to animals.
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