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General Animal Protection

 

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.



A Descriptive Review of the Prevalence and Risk Factors of Hock Lesions in Dairy Cows

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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...

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law book with scales of justice and gavelThis 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.



Animal Reintroductions: An Innovative Assessment of Survival

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toad sitting on twigs and dirtThis 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 Relationship

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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.


Effect of the Change of Social Environment on the Behavior of a Captive Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

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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-Feeder

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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 Shelter

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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.


TAFA and AR 2014 - Animal Advocates Embrace Market Research

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This week, HRC co-founder and marketing specialist Anthony Bellotti reports on his participation in market research panels at the recent Taking Action for Animals conference in Washington, D.C. and Animal Rights 2014 conference in Los Angeles.




Varieties of Harm to Animals in Industrial Farming

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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.


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