General Animal Protection
Trends in Intake and Outcome Data for Animal Shelters in a Large U.S. Metropolitan Area, 1989 to 2010Submitted on Mar 26, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
The authors of this article compiled statistics from 4 large animal shelters in the greater Denver, CO metropolitan area over a 22 year period (1989-2010). Overall, intake and euthanasia of dogs and cats dropped substantially over the study period. However, intake and euthanasia of cats increased slightly over the past decade, for reasons that are unclear. More detailed record-keeping, particularly for cats, could help identify additional interventions to increase adoptions and continue to reduce overpopulation and euthanasia.
This study was conducted to lay groundwork for constructive collaboration on animal welfare between farm animal producers and non-producers. Participants were intensively interviewed about their ideals, conceptions and values about farm animal living conditions. Most preferred an environment that allowed animals to move freely and behave normally, and for animals to be handled with respect and without pain. Many also were sympathetic to economic pressures on farmers, felt that awareness of current farming practices was inadequate, and believed consumers undervalue the sacrifice of animal lives because animal food products are under-priced.
This article discusses the evolution of cultural images of rodents from bearers of disease, to companion animals, to "equipment" for the eradication of human disease. The author focuses in particular on the language and imagery used to market specially bred rats and mice to researchers. She also explores ways in which rodents used in experiments lose their status as "animals," and as representatives of a species, as well as their status as individuals, exempting them from empathies and protections that are extended to other species.
This article proposes a framework to analyze the benefits and risks of feeding wild animals in several different contexts (wildlife management, research, tourism, backyard feeding, and unintentional feeding). It applies this framework to contrast widely believed benefits to the actual negative impacts of the most common types of animal feeding, and calls for better regulation, more consistent enforcement of existing regulations, and increased public education to promote peer-pressure enforcement at a community level.
National Survey Shows Majority of Americans Polled Support Freedom to Choose Dogs, Regardless of BreedSubmitted on Mar 19, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection
In response to public or media pressure following high-profile dog attack incidents, many countries have banned or restricted ownership of certain dog breeds. However, research indicates that dog attacks are influenced by many factors aside from breed, and that breed-specific legislation is ineffective at reducing dog bites or improving public safety. 17 U.S. states have passed bills to prohibit breed discrimination and enact behavior-based, breed-neutral dangerous dog laws. This article cites a recent survey that shows widespread support for this trend. The authors call for ordinances that protect communities from any dangerous dog, regardless of breed, and also protect dogs from abusive or neglectful owners.
In 2009 the Belgian city of Ghent became the first in the world to officially encourage citizens to have one meat-free day per week; the result of a successful partnership between the NGO Ethical Vegetarian Alternative and local government. This paper outlines the main principles behind the campaign, which has resulted in around 25% of the population participating at least several times per month. A strong case is made for the role of government in encouraging citizens to benefit the environment, human health and animal welfare by consuming fewer animal products. Regulation, subsidization, taxation and choice architecture are mentioned as some of the methods governments could use to achieve this.
The authors of this study proposed to identify key factors in captive elephant welfare, in order to formulate more appropriate standards and regulations for humane care. People who interact directly with elephants, researchers, veterinarians, zoo administrators, and animal welfare advocates were asked to rate the importance of each care scenario. Respondents agreed on some points and diverged on others, tending to value most highly the components of care with which they were personally most involved. Nevertheless, the authors maintain that integrating diverse viewpoints into the formulation of elephant welfare standards is important.
This paper proposes a method for defining goals and objectives, selecting and implementing mitigation actions, and monitoring feedback within a mathematical model that adjusts for uncertainties created by limited data. Managing wild amphibians on National Park Service lands near Washington, D.C. in the face of difficult to predict impacts from climate change, urbanization, and other human-instigated habitat challenges is presented as a case study of the technique. The authors advocate this proactive approach as preferable to waiting to take action until a significant population decline in a species is noted.
Physical and Behavioral Measures that Predict Cats’ Socialization in an Animal Shelter Environment During a Three Day PeriodSubmitted on Mar 12, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Companion Animals | General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods
This article describes the third phase of a three-part study. The research was designed to develop simple and reliable tools to assess the socialization levels of cats within their first 3 days at a shelter. 297 cats with a wide range of socialization levels were held in a shelter-like bank of steel cages. At established intervals, an assessor interacted with the cats in various ways and monitored them for specific indicators. Some key measures were identified to distinguish socialized cats, most effectively over the full three-day period. Further testing is planned to finalize the assessment tool.
Despite the fact that the majority of East Asians are lactose intolerant, and that cows and feed-grains developed elsewhere do poorly in the tropics of south and southeastern Asia, Western corporate investors are doing their best to promote "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations" (CAFOs) to Asian governments as cleaner, faster and cheaper than traditional methods of farming. This policy paper examines the displacement of local economies, environmental impacts, health hazards, and animal welfare concerns raised by the rapid rise of dairy factory farming in Asia, and proposes a number of policy points through which governments may address these issues.
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