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Reix C.E.,University of Bristol | Dikshit A.K.,Help in Suffering | Hockenhull J.,University of Bristol | Parker R.M.A.,University of Bristol | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Background: Participatory methods are increasingly used in international human development, but scientific evaluation of their efficacy versus a control group is rare. Working horses support families in impoverished communities. Lameness and limb abnormalities are highly prevalent in these animals and a cause for welfare concern. We aimed to stimulate and evaluate improvements in lameness and limb abnormalities in horses whose owners took part in a 2-year participatory intervention project to reduce lameness (PI) versus a control group (C) in Jaipur, India. Methodology/Principal Findings: In total, 439 owners of 862 horses participated in the study. PI group owners from 21 communities were encouraged to meet regularly to discuss management and work practices influencing lameness and poor welfare and to track their own progress in improving these. Lameness examinations (41 parameters) were conducted at the start of the study (Baseline), and after 1 year and 2 years. Results were compared with control horses from a further 21 communities outside the intervention. Of the 149 horses assessed on all three occasions, PI horses showed significantly (P<0.05) greater improvement than C horses in 20 parameters, most notably overall lameness score, measures of sole pain and range of movement on limb flexion. Control horses showed slight but significantly greater improvements in four parameters, including frog quality in fore and hindlimbs. Conclusions/Significance: This participatory intervention succeeded in improving lameness and some limb abnormalities in working horses, by encouraging changes in management and work practices which were feasible within owners' socioeconomic and environmental constraints. Demonstration of the potentially sustainable improvements achieved here should encourage further development of participatory intervention approaches to benefit humans and animals in other contexts. © 2015 Reix et al.

Rutherford L.,Royal Veterinary College | Wessmann A.,University of Glasgow | Rusbridge C.,Goddard Veterinary Group | McGonnell I.M.,Royal Veterinary College | And 3 more authors.
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2012

Chiari-like malformation (CM)/syringomyelia (SM) is a disease complex recognised in Cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCSs) that can lead to neuropathic pain (NeP). In humans, NeP is associated with anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life (QoL). In this study, databases of three specialist veterinary centres were searched and CKCS breed societies and health forums were contacted to identify CKCS with an imaging diagnosis of CM/SM. Owners completed questionnaires on behaviour, signalment, general health status, NeP and QoL. Data were analysed from 122 dogs out of 564 questionnaires completed, after incomplete questionnaires and data from dogs that had other potentially debilitating disease processes were excluded. NeP severity score was significantly and positively correlated with 'stranger-directed' fear (rS=0.28), non-social fear (rS=0.34), 'separation-related' behaviour (rS=0.38), attachment behaviour (rS=0.24), excitability (rS=0.21) and proxy for pain sensation (rS=0.29). Increased NeP was also significantly associated with decreased QoL (rS=0.47), ability to settle (rS=0.26) and willingness to exercise (rS=0.50). Severity of NeP was positively associated with certain fear-associated behaviour and with decreased owner-perceived QoL. Thus, neurobehavioural changes should be considered in the management of NeP in CKCS with CM/SM. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

O'Connor E.A.,Center for Animal Welfare | Parker M.O.,Center for Animal Welfare | Davey E.L.,Center for Animal Welfare | Grist H.,Center for Animal Welfare | And 5 more authors.
British Poultry Science | Year: 2011

1. Commercial laying hens are commonly housed in noisy and dim environments, yet relatively little is known about whether these conditions, particularly in combination, have any effect on welfare or egg production.2. The study was designed to investigate whether chronic exposure to continuous noise (60 dB(A) vs. 80 dB(A)) and/or light intensity (150 lux vs. 5 lux) during the critical period of coming into lay (16-24 weeks of age) influenced behaviour (activity, resting and feather maintenance), physiological stress (plasma corticosterone and heterophil to lymphocyte ratio) and production (number and weight of eggs laid) in laying hens.3. Hens in the low light pens were less active and preened and dust-bathed more than those housed in 150 lux; hens in the high noise pens rested more frequently than those in quieter pens.4. There was no evidence that chronic exposure to low light or high noise caused appreciable physiological stress but egg production was affected by these conditions. Hens kept in pens with low light or high noise laid fewer eggs per day than those kept in high light or low noise pens. These effects were additive, so that the fewest eggs were laid by hens subject to both low light and high noise.5. These results show that low light intensity and continual high background noise have a detrimental effect on egg production in the early laying phase as well as influencing the time allocated to different behaviours. However there was no strong evidence for a physiological stress response to either of these conditions or their combination. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Jamieson J.,Center for Animal Welfare | Reiss M.J.,University of London | Allen D.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | Asher L.,University of Nottingham | And 3 more authors.
Society and Animals | Year: 2015

Adolescents are the next generation of consumers with the potential to raise standards of farm animal welfare-to their satisfaction-if their preferences and concerns are translated into accurate market drivers and signals. There are no published data about adolescent views of farm animal welfare to allow meaningful design, implementation, and evaluation of educational strategies to improve consideration of-and behavior toward-farm animals. Knowledge of farm animal welfare, as well as beliefs and attitudes about farm animal welfare and behavioral intention relevant to it were determined in a sample of UK adolescents, using a survey incorporating an extended version of the theory of planned behavior and novel assessment tools. Our results indicate that adolescents have only a limited knowledge of welfare problems for farm animals and welfare-relevant product labels. Intentions to identify welfare standards for the animals from whom their food was derived were weak. Although they cared about farm animal welfare and agreed with fundamental principles-for example, the provision of space and the absence of pain and suffering-like adults they held limited belief in the power and responsibility that they possess through their choices as consumers; responsibility was often shifted to others, such as the government and farmers. © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

Clark F.E.,Center for Animal Welfare | Clark F.E.,UK Institute of Zoology | Smith L.J.,Center for Animal Welfare
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013

Exploration and problem-solving are highly motivated behaviors in non-human primates, but little research has focused on whether cognitively challenging tasks can enhance primates' psychological well-being, particularly in the absence of food rewards. We evaluated whether a novel cognitive challenge device (CCD) consisting of a maze of opaque tubes enhanced the well-being of a group of six adult chimpanzees housed at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, UK, over a two-month period. Chimpanzees had the opportunity to interact with two versions of the CCD: the first contained tokens which fell into a transparent chamber when extracted from the CCD and could not be eaten. The second contained unshelled Brazil nuts, which could be extracted and eaten. CCD-use was low over the study, occupying on average 2.5% of observation time. However, compared to baseline levels, chimpanzees exhibited more problem-solving behaviors (directed toward the CCD) and spent significantly more time engaged in social play when the CCD was present. Cage exploration was rare whether the CCD was present or not. Chimpanzees used the CCD (including tool-use) significantly more when it contained tokens. The relationship between the presence of the CCD and self-directed behavior (rough-scratching) was difficult to interpret. Although rough-scratching was significantly higher in the cage when the CCD was present and 18% of these scratching events occurred within one arm's length from the CCD, rough-scratching decreased when device use increased. This study provides a preliminary investigation of the CCD and two reward types, and suggests how the design could be modified to enhance its effects. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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